Did you see Reporting Scotland last night? One of the items on the programme was about Ruth Davidson.
Had the Scottish Tory leader been answering questions about the DUP deal, the party’s suspended councillors or the looming Brexit catastrophe and the damage it’s expected to do to Scotland?
Sadly none of the above. The item was based on an opinion piece Ruth had written for the Telegraph newspaper.
So important was this ‘news’ that it was plastered over the BBC Scotland online news page.
According to the article:
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has questioned the government’s goal of reducing net migration below 100,000. In the Daily Telegraph, Ruth Davidson said “we have to ask whether the target continues to be the right one”.
“The time for easy slogans is over,” she added.
[…] But Ms Davidson said most Britons did not think international students should be treated as migrants, adding: “So let’s start there.
“If people don’t think that students should be included in the net migration numbers, let’s take them out.”
Here is how it was presented on Reporting Scotland.
We’re told that Ruth Davidson is “trying to spark a debate” on immigration. That she is questioning the Tory Govt’s 100,000 immigration target. That she is questioning whether international students should be included in net migration figures.
A Tory MSP appears and attacks what he describes as “those who want to divide us” which is a clear reference to pro-independence parties, the SNP and Greens. No SNP or Green MSPs are invited to respond to the thinly veiled attack.
The best bit is at the end though when Andrew Kerr adopts a toadying, sycophantic tone in an over the top praise of Davidson. Here it is in isolation.
The item was essentially a puff piece for Davidson who is seeking to distance herself from the calamitous and badly weakened Theresa May. But that wasn’t my main gripe with the report.
Few viewers will recall what Ruth Davidson said about immigration during the general election debate. Below are a couple of reminders.
During the general election Ruth Davidson was repeatedly asked about the immigration target set by her party. She repeatedly defended those targets. Indeed she went as far as to suggest that the target was sound but that Scotland was not attracting enough migrants into the UK because we were unattractive.
And who can forget the absolute car crash interview Ruth gave to Radio 5 Live when she was confronted, not by the velvet glove of BBC Scotland, but a rather more stubborn interviewer.
If BBC Scotland wanted to report the newsworthy aspect of Ruth Davidson’s Telegraph column it would have described it as a U-turn. Because it was a U-turn. One of the many Ruth Davidson is noted for [Free prescriptions, Single Market, APD etc].
BBC Scotland bosses should have had someone confront the Scottish Tory leader in the same way Nicola Sturgeon was confronted on Monday and quizzed on the Michelle Thomson issue.
Failing that they should have confronted David Mundell when he was in Dumfriesshire with the Conservative Foreign Secretary Priti Patel on the same day as Ruth’s article appeared [see image].
Reporting Scotland covered Patel’s visit in a lengthy item.
Ruth wasn’t confronted because there’s no appetite to confront her. The Scottish Tory leader’s image needed a bit of burnishing and that was what BBC Scotland provided.
We witnessed the same promotional drivel last month when Ruth decided to write an opinion piece on an unknown website. That too merited coverage on Reporting Scotland and the website received a bit of free promotion.
BBC Scotland has turned into a fan club for Ruth Davidson. Andrew Kerr is her biggest fan.
Kerr’s sycophancy isn’t the first time the BBC Scotland reporter has adopted a gushing tone when it comes to the Scottish Conservatives. Listen to this short clip as he describes the the Scottish Tory local manifesto back in April this year on the day it was launched.
Kerr does though have some stiff competition in the ‘biggest fan’ stakes.
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