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17 May 2007

BBC political bias revisited

I have blogged in the past about a strange political bias in BBC reporting. Yesterday, the BBC reported that political history was made when they covered Alex Salmond's victory speech to MSPs.

Why was this history?

1. The outcome of the Scottish General Election was finalised. Yet, this final outcome plays as a sideshow to the Labour party electing a new leader, even though there is no real news to report on that story most of the time.

2. For the first time in the Scottish Parliament's 8 year history, there is a change of government.

3. For the first time in 50 years, Labour is no longer the dominant party in Scotland

4. For the first time in the SNP's 73 year history, it is in power in government.

5. For the first time in over 300 years, Scotland has a government that is advocating independence.

Pretty momentous events, and ones that have wide ranging effects not only across Scotland's 5 million population but the future of the UK including devolution in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Yet, what was the BBC's lead story on the evening news? Prince Harry (the 'spare' in the 'heir and the spare') is disappointed that he is no longer going to be sent to fight in the illegal Iraq war. A war that the SNP has consistently argued against. In what way does Prince Harry's next assignment merit top billing over the constitutional future of the UK? Does "celebrity news" somehow qualify as more important now?

What Scotland needs is a Scottish News service that covers Scottish and International news and brings in stories from the rest of the UK as appropriate. To reciprocate, the rest of the UK deserves heavyweight news and not celebrity dumbing down.
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