By a Newsnet reporter
BBC Scotland, not known for passing up an opportunity to undermine the cause of Scottish independence, has been at it again after the death of the iron lady – AKA Margaret Thatcher.
In a sneaky move reminiscent of a down-market tabloid, BBC Scotland’s news department has decided that First Minister Alex Salmond is to be afforded the honour of being the only political leader headlined as paying tribute to arguably the most despised UK politician Scotland has ever known.
In a rather blatant move, the BBC Scotland online headline that accompanied news of Mrs Thatcher’s death read: ‘Salmond pays tribute to Thatcher’.
The First Minister was of course offering his condolences to the family and also doing what any statesman does in situations such as these, being diplomatic and polite at the news of the death of a political adversary.
Mr Salmond wasn’t the only Scottish political leader to praise aspects of Mrs Thatcher’s character, yet BBC Scotland felt it appropriate to single the First Minister out as having paid tribute.
Across the rest of the UK no political leader, not even Prime Minister David Cameron, hogged the headlines. In the UK/England sections the headline stuck firmly to the news that Mrs Thatcher had died.
In Wales, Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones responded in the same diplomatic fashion as Mr Salmond in his official statement. Another was former Labour leader Neil Kinnock who had more reason than most to express vitriol at his nemesis.
Indeed, the leaders of every political party in Wales paid tribute and the headline was in keeping with the non-specific cross party response.
In Northern Ireland, response was mixed but with the exception of Sinn Fein, all offered praise and tributes to a degree, yet the headline from BBC Northern Ireland was again quite generic.
So we have four headlines from the BBC but only one naming a political leader as having praised Margaret Thatcher.
In Scotland it’s no secret that praising Thatcher is hardly likely to attract support from the typical Scottish voter, many of whom have long memories. Indeed the opposite is usually the case, especially if you appear to be the only one.
BBC Scotland has all but ignored the First Minister’s visit to the USA to promote Scotland, but here we have Salmond hogging the headlines with a tribute to Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps I’m paranoid, or perhaps the corporation is trying to evoke the old ‘Tartan Tories’ myth.
Don’t be at all surprised if this was deliberate and all the more reason to get to Glasgow on Saturday, May 18th.