The SNP today failed in their bid to be included in the BBC leaders debate scheduled to be broadcast tomorrow….
The SNP today failed in their bid to be included in the BBC leaders debate scheduled to be broadcast tomorrow.
The party had claimed that the corporation had breached its own rules on impartiality by excluding the SNP from a broadcast that was to be shown in Scotland. They pointed out that there are four major parties in Scotland and argued that this ought to be reflected in any Scottish broadcast.
However, Lady Smith decided to let the debate go ahead, saying it would be wrong to deprive the public of the United Kingdom the third round of a three-round boxing match or the third act of a three-act play.
Speaking outside the court a defiant Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are disappointed that the debate on Thursday night will go ahead without any substantial participation from the SNP.
“We believe it is wrong and unfair and all the points we have made until now still stand.
“We were simply asking for a fair hearing.
“We will now take our case to the court of public opinion.”
The SNP deputy leader added that while the party’s application for an interdict to stop the broadcast had been rejected, its request for a “judicial review” of the BBC’s decision to exclude the SNP had progressed and explained that it will be heard by the court at a later date.
The SNP also announced plans to distribute a million leaflets with a picture of the old BBC test card and a caption, “except for viewers in Scotland”.
Nationalists will be saddened by the decision but even sadder was the emergence of Ken MacQuarrie, the BBC Scotland controller, who gave a statement supporting the exclusion of the party of government in Scotland.
Meanwhile in an ironic twist Gordon Brown all but lost the general election within moments of the SNP court case announcement, after an incredible outburst was picked up by a microphone.
The Labour leader must have hoped that he too had been silenced after he was questioned by a Labour supporter who had expressed concerns over immigration levels. After returning to his car a bad tempered Mr Brown was clearly heard complaining about having met the woman and then unbelievably called her a ‘bigot’.
Unfortunately for Mr Brown, the microphone he had been wearing was still switched on and his remarks could clearly be heard.
On realising the seriousness of his outrageous outburst Labour quickly organised a return visit to the ladies home in Rochdale in order to try to diffuse the situation. However the Labour leader’s bad tempered comments had by then done their damage and had been broadcast to an incredulous nation.
There will be anger amongst many in Scotland that such a rapid apology is deemed necessary when a Labour voter in England is labelled a bigot but that there was no such apology from Labour when Scottish Labour MP and then Scotland Office minister David Cairns called Scots who do not support the Union ‘swivel-eyed, bigoted, anti-English lunatics’.