Thursday 1 April 2004

An establishment cover-up?

I am inclined to agree with those who believe that the Holyrood Inquiry is a waste of time and taxpayers' money. We know that no one's going to end up inside or lose their pension. It's unlikely that all that many more folk will be now realise that the Holyrood project was imposed on the unsuspecting Scottish taxpayer by the Westminster cabinet when there was a perfectly good building ready and waiting for occupancy. So does it really matter whether or not the BBC is forced to release its controversial tapes?
THERE was stalemate last night in the ongoing battle between BBC Scotland and the Fraser Inquiry over access to interviews with key players in the Holyrood project.

Attempts by the Tories to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to force the corporation to hand over recordings of the former first minister Donald Dewar and the Holyrood architect Enric Miralles were defeated yesterday.

The Scottish Nationalists think that the BBC should release the tapes, but didn't support the Conservatives attempt to force the issue in Parliament:
Fergus Ewing, the SNP spokesman on public services, said he believed that the BBC’s position was fundamentally wrong, but he rejected the Tories’ move.

"The BBC is on shaky ground, its position is untenable and unjustified," said Mr Ewing, who also accused the corporation of giving a misleading impression over its guarantees to interviewees.

But he added: "It is a fundamental principle of democracy that parliaments do not act as pinstripe bovver boys, pushing around independent media and broadcasting corporations, even where we all think they’re wrong."

I have some sympathy with Mr Ewing's defence of the "independent" media, but we're talking about the BBC! I always thought that the SNP (correctly) saw the BBC as the voice of the Westminster establishment and in no way independent. But when the SNP is faced with the choice of voting with the Tories or backing the Bolshevik/Blair/Brussels Broadcasting Corporation, we know which way they'll jump.