Comparing the two reports of the First Minister’s trip to Dublin offered no surprises for those of us familiar with BBC Reporting Scotland. As you might expect, there were differences, as once more BBC Reporting Scotland in the person of Glenn Campbell, had to remind us that Westminster is still the boss and that we should remember we’re really too wee and unimportant to count in European Affairs. Here’s how STV opened:
A number of senators in the Upper House of the Irish Parliament have voiced their support for Scottish Independence. The calls were led by the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic. Today NS became the first serving head of a foreign administration to address the Upper House of the Irish Parliament.
So two clear successes for the First Minister but Reporting Scotland could only mutter:
‘Nicola Sturgeon tells the Irish Senate that Brexit is deeply unwelcome. As leader of the devolved Scottish government, the Speaker of independent Ireland’s parliament has honoured her with an invitation to speak.
Notice the grudging tone, the patronising reminder of our lesser status should we forget it and the, of course ‘accurate’, vocabulary in the BBC’s opening comments. In the STV report, Sturgeon was given time to speak at length directly to the viewer but for the BBC, Campbell clearly felt it better to further reduce her/our substance by putting it in his own words. That’s arrogance. You see how to let someone speak for themselves in special surroundings can make them seem important? We don’t want that do we?
When we move on to hear the senators respond, STV give us:
‘For this country, independence has become a remarkably and completely transforming thing and I have no doubt that the genius of the Scottish people once released through full independence will achieve the same thing for Scotland.’
From STV reporter Bernard Ponsonby:
‘And then Senator after senator voiced support for the central goal of the SNP, that of Scottish independence.
Then on with four more senators:
‘I welcome the debate that you bring around the whole issue of nationalism, that’s not an insular thing.’
‘What can Ireland do to help Scotland achieve its full potential and to achieve its independence?’
‘When will you make the decision to ask the Scottish people to vote again for an independent Scotland?’
‘The nationalism that you espouse is very similar to the nationalism espoused by the women and men of 1916.’
But, over to BBC Scotland and Glenn Campbell clearly saw little of this and reported:
‘And from some in this house, support for the independence option.’
‘It wasn’t to be your day in 2014 but I know Scotland’s day will come and I know you will succeed in the future.’
‘I wholly and unambiguously support Scotland in its movement for national independence.’
So STV thought five senators were representative of the gathering while assuming Glenn was there, two were enough to show that it was only ‘some’. Actually, shouldn’t ‘some’ mean that at least one senator actually was unsupportive? Notice the word ‘option’? It’s only an option. Remember 2014, eh?
Glenn reminds of the British ambassador being in the audience. It’s as if they need to keep, reminding us that we’re still in Britain. We haven’t forgotten. Then Glen sums up with
‘Nicola Sturgeon has been well-received in Dublin but she knows only too well that the approach to Brexit will not be decided here but by the Government in London.’
He doesn’t of course, at that point, mention the Supreme Court decision that the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments will have a say.
Back to STV and Bernard Ponsonby, clearly more impressed by events, summed up:
The words were warm, the applause warmer. This was a mutual love-in. In some respects the contributions today during the open session were truly extraordinary. Senator after senator rose in their place to argue for Scottish independence. All of this, from parliamentarians in a foreign country.
Glenn won’t be finishing that way thank you very much. He has something up his sleeve and it looks like Ruth Davidson:
‘And of course, in terms of independence, the Scottish Conservatives tonight have said the FM should take off the table talk of another independence referendum because that would cause more division and upheaval. The First Minister is not prepared to do that even though it seems at the moment she has more support for the concept in the Irish Senate than she does in the Scottish Parliament or in the wider Scottish public.’
Remember the trip was about Brexit. When propaganda is so explicit, so hypnotic, you wonder if it might actually fail. I wish.