Sunday, 27 April 2014

Not in the paper review - April

Welcome to the fourth of our monthly series looking back at the stories which the main stream media in Scotland didn't offer much attention to, and comparing them to those that hit the front pages.

Letter from America
There were two speeches made in the United States of America in early April: one was by a democratically elected politician who was acting in his capacity as head of a national parliament, the other by an unelected lord who has as much significance and relevance to Scotland as a turnip. Which do you believe received the most coverage from STV, the BBC and the papers?

Passing Wind
Claims from Westminster that energy prices in an independent Scotland would skyrocket were quickly and decisively rubbished this month. In the words of Professor Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy at Robert Gordon's University:
"...under no scenario can I see in an independent Scotland electricity bills increasing. In an independent Scotland, even with an integrated electricity market, Scotland would be able to sell its electricity at commercial rates. What would also be very helpful for Scotland's renewable energy industry as well is that an independent Scotland would also be able to offer discretionary spend, so that you could see a great expansion, for example, of offshore wind.

At the moment, what we are seeing with the coalition government is the offshore renewable industry effectively being strangled at birth..." BBC Radio Scotland interview - 9th April 2014
Penny wise, pound daft
Attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond from the Telegraph aren't unusual, but this month saw a story which was stranger than most. It's 'reveal' was to say that the First Minister and his wife stayed in a nice hotel in Chicago at a cost of £750 per night for 4 nights whilst arranging multi-million pound trade deals for Scotland.
As a comparison, the same newspaper back in June last year attempted to justify a £100,000 refurbishment of the toilets within the House of Lords. Could they be experiencing the Goldilocks Axiom!

Two faces on every politician, three eyes on every fish
Scotland's energy minister, Fergus Ewing, was on the receiving end of intimidation in April over the controversial nuclear power station in Hinkly Point, Somerset. If the Scottish Government were to get involved in the EU investigation into the nuclear power station, it would be viewed as a 'hostile act' by Westminster.
It is great to know that the union is a partnership of equals and that the UK Government have absolutely nothing to hide!

Oh yeah, there was someone who once raided pension funds talking about pensions...
Are they even pretending to be serious anymore?
We don't need to say much about the Daily Express on Tuesday, the 22nd of April.

Scottish Daily Express - the edited voice of a new Scotland
Yes, both of these newspapers were published on the same day, by the same organisation. The one of the left was for most of the UK, highlighting the deteriorating condition of pensions following decades of mismanagement under the UK, and the other was for Scotland, saying how much safer our pensions would be under that same UK system they were lambasting everywhere else. Another case of the Goldilocks Axiom, or perhaps they require a reminder about the principles of journalism.
Public meeting (but we won't tell you where!)
Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband hosted a 'public' meeting in Motherwell in April. If you didn't know about this before the event then you weren't alone.
"...we can’t find a single advance reference to the venue we think that may be a rather loose interpretation of the word “public”." Rev Stuart Campbell - Wings over Scotland
"Residents of a row of neat housing association homes overlooking the community hall that hosted Mr Miliband in this town southeast of Glasgow were angry only to have learnt about the event when a satellite broadcast van turned up." FT, Friday, April 25th

The Confederation of British Flip-Floppers!
The Daily Express managed to take our comedy award for the month (see above), but they were pushed hard for the title by the CBI and the BBC.
The story began with the CBI (a group consisting of around 70 businesses and other organisations in Scotland) declaring it's support for a 'no' vote in the referendum. This triggered an outflow of members who wished to remain neutral in the debate. This included a number of universities, Scottish Enterprise and STV (the BBC eventually stated that they would remain in the 'no' campaign body until a few weeks before the vote, with the intention of rejoining immediately afterwords).
"Since announcing its backing for the No campaign, the CBI has been hit with a mass exodus of organisations in Scotland.  Broadcaster STV resigned immediately, claiming that the decision had compromised its own neutrality in the independence referendum." Newsnet Scotland, 26th of April

Just one week later, the CBI announced that they were withdrawing their application to the Electoral Commission to be officially part of the 'no' campaign.
“When the Sunday Herald contacted CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan, he directed all enquiries on the matter to the UK press office. Asked if the decision to register with the Electoral Commission was made after discussions with Scottish or UK members, a CBI spokesman said: “We have talked to members regularly in Scotland and across the UK at CBI events and via our system of committees and councils.”, He added that the “final position” was signed off by CBI Scotland’s council – its membership decision-making body.” Herald Scotland, 20th of April

"Following a review by the CBI board and in the light of legal advice from its lawyers and Queen’s Counsel it has emerged that the application should not have been made: it did not have approval under the CBI’s normal corporate governance procedures and was not signed by an authorised signatory." CBI Press Release, 25th of April
In just 1 week, the Confederation of Business Industry has gone from claiming it had consulted its members to ascertain their views (which they didn't) and that it's council in Scotland had signed off on the decision to join the 'no' campaign, to saying that the application was made by a 'unauthorised signatory'. It seems these people don't understand how to run an organisation!

But even more pressure may fall upon the BBC. The list of 25 questions from The Alderman Wotisname Memorial Playing Fields cover the vast majority of these, including 'why is the BBC a member of the CBI?', 'where does the BBC publish and publicise its membership of the CBI?', and 'during the time the BBC was aware of the CBI’s stance, how many times did it quote the CBI on the issue of independence?'

And perhaps most important of all, 'how will the BBC rebuild trust in its integrity?'

Join us again for our next 'not in the paper' review in May!

If you like this blog, then please consider visiting our other sites:
Facebook - Sign for Scotland
YouTube - Sign4Scotland
Twitter - Sign4Scotland

P.S We have added an extension to this article called 'Second Not in the News for April', which you can read here.

No comments:

Post a Comment