Davidson wide of mark on claim of bias

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MICHAEL Kelly is entitled to his opinions about BBC ­journalists (Perspective, ­9 August), however ill-informed and unfair those opinions may be, but we completely ­reject suggestions of bias on the part of our journalists working on Newsnight Scotland or, indeed, on any other of our programmes.

When Mr Kelly says Isabel Fraser “has form” it is as one of the BBC’s most highly respected and valued journalists. Ms Fraser did what BBC journalists do week in, week out when she robustly, but fairly, challenged the views of Ian Davidson MP on Tuesday evening’s show.

It may be uncomfortable for some when we ask the questions that our audiences want asked – but that is what we will continue to do and will do so as professionally as Isabel Fraser did on Tuesday. To suggest that by asking these questions she holds or promotes a particular opinion is, quite fundamentally, to misunderstand political interviewing.

Audiences expect fair and impartial journalism from the BBC and they expect those who hold power to have their arguments robustly challenged.

That is what we will continue to do on their behalf.

Ian Small

Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs

BBC Scotland

Pacific Quay


I don’t know which dragon Brian Wilson (Slaying Dragons, Perspective, 8 August) thinks Labour has slain, as ­despite prolonged co-ordinated Unionist attacks on Alex Salmond the latest opinion polls put SNP support higher than their 2011 Scottish 
Election success.

Labour for Independence has been formed as many in the grass-roots of the party believe in its founding principles, which included home rule for ­Scotland within the Commonwealth, and will not be persuaded by a Tory funded No campaign, particularly if the attitudes displayed by Ian Davidson on Newsnight Scotland are representative of Westminster MPs.

Labour’s success in Scotland at Westminster elections in 2010 was based solely on anti-Tory sentiment.

But playing the St George card to shore up Labour support in England will cut no ice north of the Border when it means getting into bed with the
Tories to oppose self-determination for Scotland’s people.

Mary Thomas

Watson Crescent


THE recent encounter between Newsnight Scotland presenter Isabel Fraser and Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Ian Davidson was interesting viewing for the political class. It was a more even clash than Michael Kelly, clearly a supporter of the latter’s approach, suggested (Perspective, 9 August).

Mr Davidson’s strident approach on the programme – typical of Labour’s arrogant attitude to debate in Scotland – might well be a cover for the limited impact his committee has on Scottish public life. People in Scotland are hardly aware of its existence; even if they were, they would be hard put to find any semblance of objectivity there, given that it includes no members of the ruling party in Scotland.

Yet there still remains the important question of the terms under which the 2014 independence referendum will be held.

The case for compromise still remains strong. It will only come about if there is an acceptance by Holy­rood that it needs to be given powers to hold a vote.

There needs to be an acceptance by Westminster that it is right to give 16 to 17-year-olds the franchise, and that the terms of independence should be laid out and tested by an impartial referendum question.

Mr Davidson’s lack of diplomacy means it might take longer to reach agreement, but sooner or later agreement there must be.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court


I THOUGHT it was some sort of prank when I read Michael Kelly’s defence of the boorish rant by Ian Davidson against the “pro Nat” BBC (your article, 9 August).

As stated by a former governor general “the BBC is the glue that binds Britain together”, therefore it is inherently hostile to independence and is staffed by a plethora of Labour “luvvies” who are not shy in attacking any SNP representatives.

The SNP, like all indigenous Scottish political parties, is of course grossly under represented on the BBC political output being screened into Scottish homes.

Mr Davidson’s rant was however a calculated attempt by the Labour Party not only to sideline interviewers, such as Iain MacWhirter was in the past, who probe their intellectually challenged MPs and MSPs, but to cow the BBC into giving the Tories Together No campaign an easy ride over the next two years.

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road