Story in full KIRSTY Wark’s 18 years as the presenter of General Election coverage in Scotland appeared to be at an end last night after senior BBC insiders said she had made a "huge mistake" by going on holiday with Jack McConnell, the First Minister.Ms Wark is certainly close to the powers that be here in Scotland:
She was a close family friend of the late first minister Donald Dewar and even shared a garden with him when they were neighbours.It now seems extraordinarily unlikely that Kirsty Wark will be able to present the Scottish coverage of the next general election. Understandably, opposition parties have been up in arms over Warkgate, but I would ask the Tories and SNP this: If Ms Wark does present the BBC's election show will the opposition refuse to appear? That's exactly what they should be saying. How could the BBC have an election night programme with only Labour and their LibDem sidekicks? (Actually, of course, that wouldn't be too unusual, would it?)
It was Mr Dewar who appointed her to the panel to choose the design of the Scottish Parliament. She was impressed by Enric Miralles - the eventual winner - and they were said to have become close friends.
Amid mounting claims of "cronyism", it was Ms Wark’s television company, Wark Clements - set up in 1990 with her husband Alan Clements - which was chosen to make a documentary about the building of Holyrood.
So let's see some fireworks from the opposition. Tell the Beeb: "It's Kirsty or us." Better still; why not advocate the immediate privatisation of the BBC? As a private broadcaster, with numerous competitors, presenters would be free to holiday with whom they pleased.
Comments made on previous template:
I have to disagree. While there is a very good case against the same "great & good" getting endlessly recycled in the civil service, quangos, Parliaments, media & commissions I don't see that in this particular case either party has done anything corrupt. It is almost inevitable, that such friendships will develop but I do not think she has shown a greater amount of pandering than the rest of the BBC.
Special interest registration - when I was in primary school in Kilmarnock Christine Wark was consistently no. 2 in the class & I was consistently not no. 1 or close.
This holiday is not a new thing - they did it years ago when McConnell had never been heard of. There is also some confusion as to whether she was bribing him with a free bed or he was bribing her with the chance of basking in his fame. In any case most of her work is in the London media where the question of this relationship does not arise. Perhaps a solution would be to remove her from the Scottish election results & put her on the UK ones replacing a deeply rooted Dimbleby.
7 January 2005, 19:05:18 GMT
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Andrew Ian Dodge
There never seems to be a conflict of interest when it comes to BBC journalists. It does rather amaze me what they get away with sometimes.I doubt the Tories have the courage to boycott any coverage she is on.
7 January 2005, 11:24:07 GMT
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