Who could possibly be interested in Scotland?

This short clip from last night's Question Time perfectly demonstrates the BBC's complete inability to grasp the realities of devolution:


Leaving David Dimbleby's patronizing arrogance to one side, we need only ask ourselves one simple question to demonstrate the sheer hypocrisy of the situation: Are questions and comments about Westminster's policies on things like the health service or education to be banned from all editions of Question Time on the basis that viewers in Wales, Scotland and the north of Ireland would not be interested in what was happening only in England?

Of course not.

It's another example of the usual double standards, so deeply ingrained that most people in the British establishment are blind to it. For them the UK and England are one and the same thing. The BBC expect people in Wales and Scotland to be interested in England (and of course we are) but they can't imagine that anyone in England will be interested in Wales or Scotland.

And listen to the clip again to hear Chris Bryant's contemptuous ridicule of the idea that anybody outside Scotland could be interested in the Scottish economy ... for if he says that about Scotland, we can be damn sure that he thinks exactly the same about Wales.

Much as Labour want us to believe otherwise, the contempt agenda is not limited to the Tories and LibDems.

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Ryan said...

David Attenborough?

I'm think you mean David Dimbleby.

But your right, David had been overzealous in the past when regional politicians have tried to discuss devolution. However, she did make it clear that she wanted to address Scotland when she could have framed the argument in more general terms to better address the entire audience.

The BBC do need to take care of their audience after all, and most QT viewers are not Scottish.

glynbeddau said...

What does Dimbeleby think a SNP politician will want to talk about "Surry?"
The whole argument thatf Dimbleby made would make some sense. If when Question Time came from parts England they make it clear that when discussing Education Health ect the panalists are only talking about England.
But its worse, all too often when comining from Wales, they discuss policies only relevant to England and never discuss any issue on a Welsh Topic.
And is this the first time they have a Question Time from Scotland where the Labour repersentative is a Non- Scot. Doesn't say much for the Quality of thelr MPs and MSPs

Anonymous said...

This sort of thing is why we have to defend S4C from the BBC takeover of course.

Anonymous said...

David Dimbleby is of course corect...Its a UK wide programme and England must be careful that Scotland is pulling a little too hard on it's leash.

Owen said...

I don't have an issue with it being a UK-wide discussion personally.

When it came to the Al-Megrahi issue, an issue exclusive to Scotland, it would've made sense to allow the only member of the Scottish Government present the due courtesey to answer the question properly and defend her government's position.

Instead we had Westminster politicians and non-political guests taking priority over Nicola Sturgeon to give an opinion on a subject which had sweet FA to do with them.

MH said...

Quite right, Ryan. They all morph into one. I thought the same of the books I was meant to read at school ... and promised myself I would one day condense every English novel into to one definitive volume to be called Tess of the Baskervilles.

But on your specific point, look at the clip again. David Dimbleborough does not slap her down at the point where she says she wants to address the Scottish audience. That part is OK, in just the same way as it was not just OK for the recent programme from Middlesborough to address local issues that affected Middlesborough (like steelworks) but positively encouraged. The politicians fell over themselves to address that local audience, and the value of it as television was to give us a glimpse of what was happening there.

Dimbleborough lets her make her point to the Scottish audience. A whole sentence. He only steps in at the point where she talks of the need for Scotland to have its hands on the levers of fiscal power. Draw your own conclusions.


There's a longer article on the programme last night from Joan McAlpline. And of course Madoc Batcup's previous posts on the same subject here and here. The BBC are stuck in their rut.

But I would note that it is not just a BBC thing. Otherwise why would Chris Bryant have made the intervention he did? People like him will use every opportunity to suppress any voice that questions their version of Britishness

Anonymous said...

But it's not just the BBC. I read aletter to The Times the other week about the proposed plans for education - against them I believe. It was written by a man in Denbighshire who seemed to be ignorant to the fact that the plans won't apply to him.

I have noticed that the BBC has started to say the Education Minister for England (or words to that effect).

It's not just the BBC either in another way. There is an element that some Welsh and Scottish MPs have a kind of cringe when issues which are specific to those countries are discussed. An almost embarrasement that such trivial issues should be wasted on 'nationa' grown-up television. It's not simple - issues which are genuinely local - say the closure of a factory in the constiuency which is hosting the QT that week is OK. That's local and 'acceptable'. What isn't acceptable is when a speak wither draws in a national i.e. Wales/Scotland dimension or/and which in some way questions the legitimacy or banal nationalism of the BBC or the British state - this, I believe, explains Bryant's reaction.

It's a "stop now Johnny, don't waste Rev Smith's time with your trivial questions. He's a very important person whose chosen us, yes, little poor us, to come for Sunday lunch and not the people down the street. Don't make him feel unwelcome or awkward here with your questions about does God exist. Be quiet Johnny and go and play with your toys or talk about things Rev Smith likes to talk about'.


Hendre said...

It's time Dimbleby was put out to grass.

During the general election coverage on the Friday he turned to political correspondent Iain Watson at one point and asked why Labour on 258 seats and the Lib Dems on 57 seats couldn't form a government. He'd completely forgotten about the 'others'. Watson smiled rather wanly and waffled.

Un o Eryri said...

Dimbleby had done exactly the same when Plaid Representatives have appeared on this programme He has stopped them talking about specific Welsh issues. Plaid and SNP have to be ready for him when they next appear and have their statisticians with ready answers for them about how many times the programme has dealt with specific English issues

Unknown said...

The Guardian, The Independent and the Telegraph (I don't look at the Times because I don't want to put penny in Murdoch's pocket) all regularly make the mistake of referring to, let us say , Michael Gove as THE minister for education.

Whenever I see this I write to their respective readers' editors to point out the solecism that they are committing - that he is A minister, not THE minister. So far, I have seen no correction in print, nor indeed received a reply, but I have noticed that the Guardian, at least, does, most of the time, point out that 'these measures apply to England only'.

I shall be complaining , as I'm sure most of you will be, directly to the BBC about this disgraceful incident.

I will also be writing to my local labour MP about Chris Bryant's attitude, and asking him to assure me that Bryant's is not an attitude that pervades Welsh Labour.

It is odd to presume that a UK audience would have not interest in the financial arrangements relating to its components parts, as any change would in fact affect the whole of the UK. But there you are - Dimbledore lives is a different plane of existence to the rest of us!

I thought Nicola Sturgeon handled the slight well!

Welsh Sion in Exile said...

The partisanship of the state broadcaster as demonstrated by the latest QT, is infuriating, pandering as it is to a Union long past its sell by-date. (You will recall that we in Wales did not even have a union - but an Anschluss...)

I have signed the petition on 38 Degrees with pride, and I draw the parallels with how neglected and biassed reports of Scotland and Wales are on the so-called 'B'BC (when our nations ARE ACTUALLY reported at all). The Anglicisation creep - something in our case which undermines our very existence as independently minded Welsh language speakers - is a constant threat, and many are the brave compatriots who have revoked paying their licences and gone to prison (and continue to do so) over this.

As for the Dimblebore - consider these two points of mutual solidarity between Scot and Cymro. There is a clip on You Tube - I forget where - where Dr Adam Price MP of Plaid Cymru is making an impassioned plea for ENGLISH independence as part of the Question Time panel. Although he is warmly applauded by the audience, Dimblebore is seen to shake his head ruefully in the background.

Again, he has produced a tome on British archtitecture. No disrespect to Scots from me, but he clearly states therein that there is nowhere in Britain (definition please) where he feels more like a foreigner than Scotland. As I said, I'm not denigrating your "right" to be "foreign" to such an ill-informed Sassenach, but wouldn't you agree that a nation having a different language completely to his would be truly foreign to our author? ('Wealas' are foreigners in Anglo-Saxon anyway...)

But there lies the rub my friends. Wales is just West Anglia, innit - and part of England; suitably colonised almost out of existence.


Sion yr Alltudyn

Unknown said...

I notice that the first 15 minutes of the program were devoted to dis cussing the utterances of the mayor of London on and issue that primarily affects London (the capping of Housing Benefit to £400 per week). Why was that considered to be of general interest to the UK?

OK - Nicola and others did extend the subject to point out that the 10% cut after a year on JS allowance did affect all parts of the UK, but that was not within the scope of the original question. Why was the question chosen in the form that was presented?

Also - both the Condem minister and the Hedge fund manager were given the opportunity to attack the SNP policies towards the end of the discussion we are addressing, without sanction from Dimbledore. Was that impartial? I have asked the BBC.

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