The BBC has come under fire after viewers in Scotland who tuned in for Sunday’s edition of The Politics Show Scotland (14 March) were instead faced with the London based edition.
The Scottish programme was scheduled to follow a live question and answer session that had featured Gordon Brown answering the concerns of undecided English voters from the Midlands. However instead of cutting as expected to BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay studios in Glasgow, the programme inexplicably cut to the BBC London studios featuring a discussion between Labour and Tory spokesmen.
For fully twelve minutes Scottish viewers watched as the London tube network and English education system were covered and discussed. Indeed it was some time before any acknowledgement of a problem appeared on the screen, by which time many Scottish viewers would have simply changed channels.
The botch up merely compounded what had come before with Brown’s Q/A session featuring areas of little or no concern to Scots. The Prime Minister spoke at length about the English health service and the economy of the Midlands.
There had been speculation over what issues would feature in that weeks Scottish edition given the very serious and damaging developments contained in The Times and The Scotsman newspapers relating to Steven Purcell and Glasgow Labour. The allegations involved commercial decisions taken by GCC’s Labour group and a well known Glasgow businessman who is also a Labour donor.
However, BBC Scotland incredulously managed to avoid mention of the scandal when the programme eventually appeared. We can only wonder what items had to be dropped from the shortened version of the show when we consider that of the two items that were covered; one was about the Swedish education system !!
The reason given for the delay in broadcasting the Scottish version of the programme was ‘technical difficulties’. BBC Scotland has been prone to such difficulties on political programmes – one hopes that they will be ironed out when the general election campaign gets into full swing.