In his piece, “This is not history but propaganda” (Perspective, 26 June), Brian Wilson’s states that I should persist in finding out who was responsible for a heavily partisan, 20th-century timeline on VisitScotland’s website. I intend to do just that. So far, the reaction from SNP ministers and VisitScotland to this issue has been nothing short of baffling.
There was swift action to amend the offending timeline (although the original material, which is largely irrelevant to visitors, is still in place as well) to include key dates that had been omitted in favour of a potted history of the SNP, yet neither VisitScotland nor the SNP has provided any credible explanation for the timeline or had the humility to apologise.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, responded to my concerns by rebuking me for turning it into a media issue.
Yet the timeline was already being talked about – nay, ridiculed – on social media, and I felt I had a duty to address the concerns being raised.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing flippantly dismissed the issue as not being important enough to have even crossed his radar.
Neither response is good enough. We are talking about a public body, which is the face of Scotland to visitors, potentially being politically influenced.
We need to know that this is not the case, and that all governmental agencies will maintain their operational independence throughout the course of the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future. Tourists come here for a variety of reasons: our rich cultural heritage, to research family history, to enjoy our green spaces and to marvel at the wonders of our eclectic festivals. This is the image we should be promoting, not a political agenda that has the potential to alienate visitors and damage our international reputation.
I will be writing to VisitScotland’s chairman to take this matter further and seek reassurance that this body, whom I have worked with extensively and positively in the past, is not being unduly influenced by the government of the day.
Culture and tourism spokeswoman