The SNP have described the BBC Trust’s decision to reject the appeal against the exclusion from the leaders debate of both Plaid Cymru and themselves as a ‘democratic disgrace’….
The SNP have described the BBC Trust’s decision to reject the appeal against the exclusion from the leaders debate of both Plaid Cymru and themselves as a ‘democratic disgrace’.
They also accused the London based corporation of “discrimination” against Scotland and Wales.
Responding to the BBC Trust’s decision, party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The exclusion of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, parties of Government in Scotland and Wales, from the election leaders’ debates, is a democratic disgrace.
“Today’s decision shows that the BBC has given up all pretence of being a national broadcaster for Scotland. Fairness and impartiality have been thrown out of the window in what amounts to blatant discrimination against both parties and both countries.
“The Corporation has jettisoned more than 80 years of impartiality for the electoral convenience of the London-based parties.
Mr Salmond highlighted the recent coverage afforded Nick Clegg and the others following the first of the three debates broadcast on ITV last week. The TV exposure and resultant publicity allowed the LibDems to make significant advances both North and South of the border.
Mr Salmond added:
“There can no longer be any question that the leaders’ debates are dominating the election campaign, but licence fee payers in Scotland and Wales are being short-changed as the result of an undemocratic carve-up which cuts both nations out of the picture.
“With today’s decision, the BBC has proved it is part of the same discredited establishment machine as the Westminster parties which the electorate are raging against.”
The SNP have reluctantly declined to take legal action explaining that the costs of such litigation were unaffordable.
There have been indications that the party may well drop its historic support for the BBC licence fee.
Such a move may well resonate amongst many people in Scotland who are becoming increasingly concerned at what they believe to be the politicisation of a weak BBC in Scotland as well as concerns over the behaviour of a number of prominent BBC Scotland reporters.