BBC worked hard for indyref balance

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Rather than reflect on the weak argument the SNP put forward for Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon appears happier to blame the BBC for her failure to win the referendum (your report, 28 August). From my perspective, the BBC’s desire to offer balanced content was often what caused problems.

All too often the opinion of world-leading experts who questioned the SNP’s assertions were balanced with opinion from Nationalists who lacked credibility, but had an abundance of partial statistics.

However, the BBC presented these people as equivalents, viewers and listeners were left to decide who was right.

For example, the SNP’s Business for Scotland was presented as representing 200 Scottish businesses and was routinely used to counter the judgment of multinational employers and economic experts who dared to question the SNP’s independence proposals.

No mention was made of the fact that Business for Scotland largely comprised sole traders with no cross-Border business.

So yes, the BBC did get individual reports wrong. However, if Ms Sturgeon has any credible evidence that such errors predominantly favoured Better Together she should share it.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh

The First Minister’s speech on the future of the BBC and subsequent answers to questions included a liberal use of double-speak.

Knowing her proposals for new dedicated channels and a bigger slice of funding were both insular and parochial, she said they were not, despite the plans themselves revealing this to be disingenuous.

On the subject of “serious BBC imbalance” during the referendum, she appeared initially to be taking a softer line than her predecessor Alex Salmond’s recent mock outrage at the BBC, as she briefly conceded the BBC was not “institutionally biased” in its referendum coverage.

Yet she nevertheless went on to describe at length how she and others considered that the BBC were in practice not impartial, and that the complaints of bias were “well-founded”.

The First Minister’s explanation of how this respected broadcaster could have got it so badly wrong was that BBC journalists were not “fully informed” about the issues and so came over as “not entirely impartial”.

What the First Minister does not explain is that for this purpose a journalist to be “fully informed” would need to accept the SNP equates to Scotland as a whole, which as we all know is an inference this government likes to deploy at every turn. What hope is there for public broadcasting in Scotland if this divisive Nationalist take on the “truth” gets its way?

Keith Howell

West Linton

Peeblesshire