The BBC’s Scotland Editor has been criticised on social media after repeatedly asking members of the SNP whether they’d be supporting England at the World Cup.
Sarah Smith badgered delegates, including senior SNP figures, with the same question, asking if they’d be supporting England. Those who said no were then asked for reasons why.
Following the stunt, users of social media rounded on the controversial reporter, whose family have links to the Labour Party, calling her motives into question.
SNP MSP James Dornan tweeted: “Argentina, Brazil, France and whoever takes my eye during the tournament. But seriously Sarah, why does it matter? I’m a proud Glaswegian but I wouldn’t support Rangers as I support Celtic and I’d expect the same from proud weegies on the other side. It’s just football rivalry”
One poster said: “What has this got to do with anything? I see the BBC is still trying to push the myth that the SNP are anti-English. We deserve better journalists in this country.”
Another read: “Very disappointing patter from you Sarah. But since you asked, SNP members come from all over the world so I imagine there will be a range of teams being supported. For example, I am an SNP member from England and I will be supporting England.”
The questions from Smith are the latest manifestation of a fixation the BBC has with SNP backing for the England football team.
In 2014 the then First Minister Alex Salmond’s football loyalties resulted in headlines on the BBC.
However suspicions have been raised that the BBC is seeking ways in which to push the myth of anti-English sentiment at the heart of the SNP. During the 2014 Indyref campaign, BBC presenter Andrew Marr caused anger after claiming anti-English sentiment was “entrenched” in the SNP, warning it may become toxic.
During the 2006 World Cup the BBC caused outrage when it emerged it had been behind a stunt which saw a car bedecked in English flags vandalised in Glasgow’s Gallowgate.
The car had been driven around Glasgow in the run-up to the England versus Portugal match. The broadcaster denied it had tried to portray Scotland as a nation of English-hating thugs.
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