by Colin Campbell
“NATIONALIST backlash over BBC decision to stop screening Sturgeon daily briefings” was the headline in one of the papers a couple of days ago.
Surprise, surprise. They might as well have had another headline on the facing page, “Snow expected to fall in winter”.
Of course they were going to go into full backlash mode (are they ever out of it?) when the BBC rightly decided enough was enough.
The BBC should have made that decision a lot sooner. We’ve already had six months of Sturgeon hogging the limelight on her daily TV platform. Did her supporters expect it to continue indefinitely? Apparently so. But if there was ever a justified reason for incurring and ignoring their wrath, this was it.
The BBC will continue to give her a live showing when it’s flagged up in advance that she has something significant to say. That’s fair enough. But on how many days up till now has she said something “significant” as opposed to routine updates and subtle or not to subtle jibes at the Tories and Boris Johnson?
Sturgeon is an accomplished television performer, there’s no doubt about it. But she’s not so accomplished that she can leave a meeting and walk straight on to the TV stage. Who can?
I’d like to know how much time her TV appearances took in terms of preparation, make-up, decisions on what she should wear, and the general rigmarole that goes with any TV appearance.
There’s a level of special focus needed to appearing on television. And that’s all to do with image and presentational style.
It’s quite reasonable to assume that at some point in the day her attention would have switched from the business of her highly demanding day job and moved on to focusing on her daily TV appearance, from the coronavirus to the camera show.
This wasn’t necessary and shouldn’t have happened day after day. She’s got more than enough on her plate with the virus, education, health and so much else without having to host The Nicola Sturgeon show as well.
Nationalists see it as another example of anti-SNP BBC bias, which even by their standards is an incredible growl of grievance-mongering given the level of exposure she’s already had.
And this has gone on for days now. For them it’s not about the virus anymore, it’s about the “snub” from the “colonialist” BBC to the Great Leader. If the virus was wreaking 10 times more havoc than it is already, they’d still be looking for ways to utilise and manipulate it to further their obsession with independence.
Anyone who studies the media can see they’ve cowed and intimidated much of the press into near silence. The Herald group is virtually in their back pocket, and the Scotsman and the Record are getting closer to being the same. They do this by the highly effective tactic of making it clear they will boycott papers, already struggling desperately to survive, if they adopt a critical, far less a hostile, stance towards nationalism and independence. And these once great and powerful papers literally can’t afford to lose any more readers or they’ll go bust.
They’ve been targeting the BBC ever since a face-painted mob of thousands descended in a rage on the HQ of BBC Scotland during the 2014 referendum, in protest against non-existent BBC “bias”.
When Scottish political editor Sarah Smith made a minor slip of the tongue in a recent live report referring to Nicola Sturgeon outraged complaints poured in by the thousand. When a clip of a Question Time answer from an SNP politician was broadcast on the lunchtime news and the subsequent applause was cut out, for obvious time limitation reasons, it was front page news in the vile National, and proclaimed as another example of colonialist BBC “bias”. And there have been countless other examples of trivia being blown out of all proportion in a sustained effort to intimidate the BBC.
It makes you wonder what kind of society we’d be living in under The Great Leader, Finance and Economic Commissar Ian Blackford, Education and Child Indoctrination Commissar Mhairi Black, and Broadcasting and Media Commissar Hate Crimes Humza, with the editor of the vile National running the Scottish Broadcasting Service.
Criticism of The Party would still be tolerated, but with them holding every lever of power, it would be so pointless that most people would probably just give up, and take up Party membership because of the privileges it would bring, like access to strictly rationed healthcare.
But we’re not in that nightmare scenario yet, and, thank heaven, are nowhere even close to it. But it is a deeply disturbing thought.
The “backlash” will still go on and on, we can be prepared for that, but thank goodness the BBC felt confident enough to stand firm against this kind of pressure. The nationalists are desperate to intimidate the BBC and slant coverage in their favour in advance of their phantom indyref2. The decision to end The Daily Sturgeon show is a welcome indication that, in this instance at least, their bullying tactics aren’t working.