Question Time audience ‘against’ SNP claim independence supporters

Picture: BBC

Picture: BBC

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The staging of Question Time in Dundee has seen independence supporters ask whether it was actually held in the city after John Swinney was given a rough ride by the audience.

The BBC’s flagship political discussion programme broadcast on Thursday night saw audience members speak out against the SNP and burst out laughing when the Deputy First Minister claimed to respect the referendum result.

Yes campaigners watching the programme appeared surprised that the SNP was criticised by studio audience members, a handful of whom had English accents.

Claims that the audience was slanted against the SNP were made and one SNP MSP claimed the audience was full of “Tories” and people who wanted to leave the EU.

Given that Dundee recorded a high Yes vote in the referendum, they also questioned the Dundonian credentials of the SNP’s critics who appeared on the programme.

Pete Wishart, the MP for Perth and North Perthshire,tweeted: “Hi #bbcqt are you sure you’re in Dundee? You’ve managed to find an incredible number of Tories and Brexiteers (sic) for your audience.”

In another tweet, Mr Wishart sarcastically remarked: “Great that ordinary Yes city Dundonians are getting the bulk of the contributions in this.” The Yes supporting crime writer Val McDermind asked on twitter: “Has the #bbcqt audience been bussed in from Perth and Broughty Ferry?”

While the former Scotland footballer and prominent independence supporter Michael Stewart tweeted: “Literally had to give up on #bbcqt after 2 mins, thought it was meant to be in Dundee but clearly it isn’t.”

The discussion programme chaired by David Dimbleby on Thursday night saw Mr Swinney tackled on the SNP’s plans for a second referendum.

He was attacked by his political opponents and members of the audience who accused the SNP of breaking their promise that it would be a once in a lifetime event.

When Mr Swinney insisted that he respected the referendum result, some members of the audience burst out laughing.

The audience was also asked by Mr Dimbleby to indicate by show of hands where they stood on the June EU referendum. When those wanting to leave raised their hands, Mr Dimbleby remarked: “Oh, lots of people”.

When some people without a local accent made contributions, the Yes supporting twitter user “Kev R” tweeted a link to the Chewing the Fat sketch Taysiders in Space to remind fellow users what Dundonians sound like.

“Here are examples of Dundonian accents. Just so you know there are very few on #bbcqt #stackedaudience,” Kev R said.

The account “Meanwhile in Scotia” tweeted: “Dundee is YES city. Some amazing audience selection has happened here.”

A note of sarcasm was evident in a tweet posted by the Glaswegian SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter, who said: “Very representative audience from the Unionist stronghold of Dundee. #bbcqt.”

She also added: “All Dundee’s parliamentarians are SNP, Council is SNP, Dundee voted Yes. Yet audience was predominantly hostile to the SNP & independence.”

When the programme was over, she signed off: “Well there you are. it would be quite good fun to see a #bbcqt with actual dundonians.”

Meanwhile the satirical twitter account BBC Scotlandshire tweeted: “BREAKING: In honour of the new tradition set tonight, next week’s #bbcqt from Cheltenham will be broadcast in Gaelic.”

BBC Scotlandshire added: “Time to close now. Most of the audience have a long bus ride home. #bbcqt.”

A spokewoman for BBC Question Time confirmed that the programme was made in Dundee’s Caird Hall in the city centre.

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