‘The First Minister announces £13 million for councils to help combat inequality.’ (STV, 14.11.16 at 6pm)
‘We see division and unfairness all around.’ (Theresa May on BBC Scotland, 14.11.16 at 6.30pm)
STV goes on to repeat the headline telling us that there has been a Scottish Government announcement, that addressing inequality is a ‘key priority for the Scottish Government’ and that there has been a new report from Heriot-Watt University on the same topic.
BBC Scotland shows us Theresa May saying the above, followed by Nicola Sturgeon and then Donald Trump echoing her implied desire to help the poor. They don’t mention the news of the £13 million at all.
STV then let us hear Professor Glen Bramley of Heriot-Watt University, explain quite explicitly that the UK Government did have agreed poverty targets, even a child poverty act but that legislation had been withdrawn by the UK Government post 2015.
BBC Reporting Scotland, having missed the news, then launch into what looks like a class lesson on inequality aimed at ten year-olds, at best. The graphics, copied from a British Gas advert perhaps, the one with a globe and wee people on it, are lovely and the script is very easy to follow as it tells you how many people are poor and how poor they are. I recommend they offer it to the nearest teacher-training college. It really is very good.
STV then gives Nicola Sturgeon the opportunity to explain again the new announcement, as if they are running a news programme, and Bernard Ponsonby asks:
‘Will the UK Government change its strategy? We will get a clue to that question when the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, delivers his autumn statement next week.’
What is STV up to? Are they trying to suggest that the SNP is not to blame for inequality in Scotland? Don’t they realise how dangerous it can be to tell people the news? They might vote for independence if they hear too much of that sort of thing.
So, STV mentions the Scottish Government and the First Minister, three times in connection with a new £13 million fund to tackle inequality, and mention the UK Government and the UK Chancellor, four times in connection with failures to tackle inequality. BBC Scotland just tells us about inequality in Scotland as if it just happens to be there.
It’s clear isn’t it? STV is reporting the news honestly even when it favours the SNP-run Scottish Government. BBC Scotland is telling stories that obscure the news. I don’t have to tell you why.
BBC Scotland’s Douglas Fraser then makes a mistake right at the end and sadly reduces his student-teacher grade by saying with regard to inequality:
‘It’s not just about politicians. How much are we willing to sacrifice to get a fairer Scotland?’
I thought we’d covered this in class Douglas. In a representative democracy, politicians make the decisions, so any socio-economic characteristics of a society, such as inequality, are due to the actions of politicians. Politicians can, for example, legislate to tax corporations more effectively, cancel expensive capital projects or tax the super-rich without any necessity for sacrifice by the rest of us. I really hope you haven’t confused the viewers on this key point. I’m going to give you a B for presentation but, I’m afraid, it’s an overall fail for this critical content error.