The moment Scotland was silenced

There’s a lot of genuine news these days.  Trump and Brexit have ensured that.  The latter, thanks to the UK Supreme Court decision, has been a godsend in Scotland.

Scotland has been treated like dog dirt in the House of Commons for as long as I can remember.  The disrespect has been largely hidden from the public eye.  Not any more.

It’s been refreshing observing BBC Scotland as it is forced to adapt to this new, albeit temporary, reality.  Even Reporting Scotland has had to look beyond its evening diet of fitba, murder and NHS waiting times to cover the proceedings at Westminster.

But the resistance to this ‘news where we aren’t’ which shows the London establishment in its true colonial light is still evident.  On Monday evening this attitude burst from the belly of the beast à la John Hurt in Alien when SNP MP Joanna Cherry was blocked from giving a speech by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.

The situation had been brewing for days.  SNP MPs had been repeatedly overlooked as they sought permission from both the Speaker and his Deputy to deliver their speeches on their own party amendments.

The SNP group sat for hours at a stretch listening to MPs from other smaller parties drone on.  The third largest party in the House of Commons was ignored as speakers from other parties were allowed to dominate proceedings.

When Joanna Cherry was silenced by the Deputy Speaker after having waited hours to deliver her speech, the frustration that had built up boiled over.  So enraged were the SNP group that former First Minister Alex Salmond felt compelled to challenge the Deputy Speaker.

Remember that the SNP are representing Scotland.  With fifty six of the Scotland’s fifty nine MPs going to the SNP, they are our voice.  We speak through them.  If they are silenced, which they very clearly were, then Scotland is silenced.

This was a major news story.  It should have dominated the following day’s news.  It didn’t.

Good Morning Scotland

This brings me to Good Morning Scotland.  The flagship morning radio programme begins broadcasting at 06:00.  If a story breaks late the previous evening then it’s here you’ll hear about it first.

The show did indeed cover the episode as the image alongside shows.  GMS presenter Gary Robertson and Radio Scotland journalist Chris Wands addressed criticisms from listeners unhappy at what they perceived was a lack of coverage of the silencing of SNP MPs.

The tweet from Chris Wands is respectful and informative, giving the times the issue was covered. Gary Robertson on the other hand is sarcastic.  I decided to have a look at the coverage.

The story was covered in a brief item that aired at 06:10.  A full recording can be heard below.


The exchange is presented pretty much in full but with very little context and no analysis.  That it is broadcast so early means that few people will hear it anyway.  The item lasts just over two minutes.

The story was covered again at 06:35 during a discussion between GMS presenter Gary Robertson and the BBC’s Westminster Correspondent David Porter.  I’ve extracted the segment that deals with the silencing of Joanna Cherry and reproduced it below.


The extracted segment lasts 1 minute and 48 seconds during which time Porter effectively dismisses the silencing of Joanna Cherry, and the wider issue of the silencing of her party colleagues, as routine and insignificant.  The Joanna Cherry row wasn’t even the main thrust of the whole item which lasted 5 minutes 45 seconds.

It’s worth noting how this second item was introduced.  Listen to the clip below.


Yep.  An item billed as coverage of the silencing of Joanna Cherry [it was actually a minor and very weak part of the discussion] was introduced using a well-worn piece of ‘Better Together’ rhetoric.

Now we come to the third time the story was ‘covered’ by Good Morning Scotland.  Below is a discussion with political commentator Nick Jones that took place at 08:35.


Gary Robertson does indeed invite the pundit to comment on the very specific issue of SNP MPs being ignored.  However Nick Jones doesn’t address the row specifically but simply provides his own analysis of the more general issues around the amount of time the UK Government has allotted the issue of Article 50.  Jones appears to have been prepared for a more generic discussion on wider criticisms of the UK Government.

To claim, as GMS presenter Gary Robertson did, that the Joanna Cherry story had been ‘covered three times’ may have been technically correct given it was mentioned three times throughout the programme.  However the claim is more than a tad disingenuous when one actually listens to the coverage.  Indeed it was noticeable that not one SNP MP was invited onto the programme to fully explain the reasons for their anger.

Good Morning Scotland provided minimal analysis and almost no contextual information that would have enlightened the listening public to just what the SNP MPs had been complaining about for days.

The issue never received the coverage it deserved.  The story that was pushed on every single news bulletin that morning was a bog-standard report into NHS midwifery.  It’s apparently ‘buckling’ in Scotland.

The silencing of Joanna Cherry was missing from that evening’s Reporting Scotland save for a passing reference by Nick Eardley.

Brexit is a sideshow BBC Scotland could have done without.  It’s clearly uncomfortable with it.  It’s meant ‘SNPBad’ stories have been thin on the ground.

Never fear though, the station will revert to type as sure as night follows day.  The council elections are looming.  Normal service will soon be resumed.

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19 thoughts on “The moment Scotland was silenced

  1. michael boyd

    We have got to stop bitching and just accept the English play by their rules.

    If the SNP don’t have, and aren’t allowed, a voice in the Chamber then it’s high time we stop legitimising it by attending. Sinn Fein recognised this along time ago.

    This game isn’t fair and it won’t be fair so we have to play by our rules…

  2. ScotsCanuck

    correct …… I’ll say it again, the 56 Independence minded MP’s should return to Scotland and represent their constituents in the Scottish Parliament which upholds Democracy & free speech in the COUNTRY they reside.

    We, the electorate of Scotland, have overwhelming elected SNP MP’s to protect our collective interests in the UK Parliamentary system ….. if that system refuses to respect that mandate, then we have every right to withdraw from it and cast it out as illegitimate.

  3. Geejay

    If that’s to declare Independence then fine, otherwise an own goal, I fear. Need to find ways of getting the contempt of WM for Scots MP’s into the greater public domain.

    1. Clydebuilt

      Gee jay…..agree with that…..we need to get Westmonster’s contempt for Scottish MP’s in to the greater / wider public domain.

  4. Sandy

    I have every sympathy with the view that our MPs should withdraw from Westminster. However, the timing needs to be right and I don’t think that time is now. Better timing might be after Article 50 is triggered with no account taken of the Scottish Government’s proposals.

    In addition, I think the reasons for any withdrawal must be made clear to everyone in Scotland (which is exactly why BBC Scotland are not reporting on these events). Without that, the Unionists will simply argue that Scotland cannot complain about lack of representation at Westminster when its elected representatives are refusing to represent their constituents. More work needed, as said above, on getting this contempt out to the public domain.

  5. David Mccann

    If you listened to the BBC Breakfast show early this morning, there was an item on the crisis in the English NHS with various reports from front line hospitals etc.
    It ended with a comment that this was Englis NHS and that things were better in Scotland.
    The item was repeated at 8.30, but the comment about Scotland had been deleted.
    One has to wonder on whose instructions.

  6. Alex Beveridge

    While I understand the anger, and resentment, about the way in which our 56 M.Ps are being treated at Westminster, and indeed the wishes of the majority of the people of Scotland, this is not the time to be considering leaving the House of Commons.
    As has been reported above, even the B.B.C are being forced, O.K, in very small and insignificant segments, to publicise the efforts of the S.N.P members to amend this shambles of a Bill, while most of the Labour Party go along like sheep, kowtowing to their abject leadership who are leading them into an irrelevance few of us thought possible.
    The contempt being shown to our S.N.P, M.Ps is now becoming more and more obvious with every passing day, but they must stand firm in their resolve not to buckle under what will become a crescendo when Nicola announces the date of Indyref2. Not only from the benches at Westminster, but from an odious M.S.M, who will turn their ire on all of us who want an independent Scotland.
    They should stay there until the bitter end, and I have no doubt it will be from the unionist side, Scottish Independence Day, and then, and only then, return to Scotland in triumph, to the heroes welcome that they will fully deserve.

  7. bringiton

    This time,we really have to get the message across that it is not normal for people to want someone else to manage their affairs unless they have an incapacity or are not yet sufficiently developed to do so,such as being a Tory.
    We Scots should be managing our own affairs and decide what we share and with whom,not having that decided by a government in another country.
    Why should English MPs show respect and consideration to people in their parliament who they regard as “foreigners” and although I doubt we Scots (in the main) would behave in such a manner,we resent English elected governments dictating to us what we can and cannot do.
    Scottish MPs are not accountable to the electorate in England so can be safely ignored by the Westminster establishment.
    Would this happen if the union parliament was in Edinburgh and a small number of MPs from England were “allowed” to represent England’s interests in the same way?

  8. David Mooney

    It’s way past time our MPs started disrupting proceedings in the House of Commons. They aren’t getting anywhere and Alex Salmond has done it in the past so why not now.

    The SNP has the bodies and if co-ordinated properly, sustained disruption could bring the parliament chamber’s activities to a halt on a regular basis.

    It’s a better option than not attending. It would also have the benefit of being difficult for the media to ignore.

  9. David McDowell

    The Colonial Governor has spoken and you peasants “should know better”! Disgusting to watch. What is the point of Scotland having a “voice” in Westminster if we are not to be heard? Participating in this charade is the same as giving our consent to be abused and ignored. When are our MPs going to grow a collective pair and permanently remove themselves from it?

  10. Geejay

    While I have a great deal of sympathy with the ideas of “withdrawal/disrupt” my fear is that the enormous negative publicity this would generate – all over the oligarchic press and BBC – and the lies, distortions, slanders, bogey-person scare-stories that would ensue endlessly would do nothing to convert No’s into Yes’s.

    Something more sophisticated is needed – though what that is I don’t know.

    1. David Mooney

      Sorry Geejay I don’t think the SNP should do nothing just because of what the media will do to them. Lets face it we are expecting a shitstorm of smears and negativity anyway.

      Better to do something than nothing. The corporate media will demonize the SNP MP’s no matter what they do. They’ve been mounting smear campaigns since may 2015 and will continue to do so every chance they get.

  11. Scott

    On your twitter feed I noted the story from the times about SinoFortune as I don’t know how to links and screen grabs I thought you might like this and get to read the whole story.

    Ex-director of Chinese investment firm SinoFortone … – Kent Online

    Ex-director of Chinese investment firm SinoFortone … – Kent Online…news/doubts-paramount-chinese-investor-kent-120228/

    3 days ago – A former director of a Chinese investment company has thrown into doubt its plans to invest in a Paramount resort in Kent saying it … “We’ll be sharing more news soon and look forward to updating everyone on the project.”.

    3 days ago – A former director of a Chinese investment company has thrown into doubt its plans to invest in a Paramount resort in Kent saying it … “We’ll be sharing more news soon and look forward to updating everyone on the project.”.

  12. Blair Paterson

    There are always reasons for doing nothing but do you honestly believe that playing by their rules you are going to win independence never like in the song nice guys get washed away like the snow in the rain for gods sake do something

  13. Edward Freeman

    My notion is that the next time there’s an egregious example of this kind of contempt for us and our representatives, our MP should insist on staying on her feet and going on talking whatever the Speaker or Deputy Speaker says, no matter who gets up and tries to interrupt her, and should be prepared to go on as long as it takes – our MPs should each carry a long statement prepared about how unacceptable it is for our MPs not to be allotted time to speak and for our amendments to be automatically voted down, particularly in relation to the Scotland Act.

    This would eventually result in the Serjeant at Arms being ordered to eject the member, at which point all our MPs should down tools and follow her in dignified silence.

    Cost: One instance of justifiable disruption, one walkout that calls into question the legitimacy of Westminster’s rule.

    How dare that man say that he was being very generous in allowing any SNP MP to speak at all?

  14. Lochside

    I agree with the above comments. This should have been the last straw. A demonstration of some kind should have been made. The subsequent ‘Ode to Joy’ sing song was just an embarassing wet fart. I’m am disenchanted with how comfortable our MPs appear to be. They seem prepared to be humilated daily by this circus masquerading as a Parliament.

    They seem to forget that nearly half of our population want shot of the whole bloody lot of English pomp and circumstance….all the bogus ceremonial crap and the class ridden and Anglophile institutions. They know now that we are impotent as a nation in the context of this imperial farce…so they have a duty to use the sovereignty invested in them to pull the plug on the whole rotten show. BTW the media have diverted the focus on to the pompous wee pipsqueak Bercow and Trump….. I hope Bercow gets booted and Trump is invited…he’ll fit in brilliantly….a proven lying member of the Neo Con elite running both the US and UK economies…he’l feel right at home.

  15. PSL

    Scots will continue to take it in the arse from the English until they learn to defend themselves.

    A once proud nation being shunned and told to shut up in Westminster. How pathetic is that?!

    The SNP should from now on use the phrase “English government” when referring to U.K. government. They should also publically declare Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives as pro-English parties in Holyrood.

    Take charge!

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