Watching the footage of Ian Davidson on Newsnight earlier this week, it’s difficult to conclude that it’s anything but a masterclass of how not to give a TV interview.
In case you haven’t seen it already, Davidson was being interviewed by Isobel Fraser about the Scottish Affairs Committee report into the referendum. The interview degenerated into Davidson accusing the presenter and program of being biased towards the SNP. You can see it for yourself here –www.youtube.com
It starts off badly. Davidson’s ranting about lawyers seems quite silly. The interview really begins to go downhill at Davidson’s repeated use of “Newsnat Scotland”. It’s cringeworthy. But we haven’t quite scraped the bottom of the barrel, as the interview continues into a spat between Davidson and Fraser about alleged BBC bias.
Whatever point Davidson was trying to make, about the legitimacy of the referendum, was lost amongst the shouting, both during the interview and since. As soon as he started accusing the BBC of bias, the story became about that, rather than whatever he was trying to say about the legalities of the independence referendum. He also has been labelled as being rude and overly aggressive, even by his own side.
And the debate that’s played across the traditional press and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, has been whether or not… well, to be charitable, whether or not Davidson has come across well or come across badly. His actions have backfired on himself.
What is interesting is that the SNP have tried to, if not align themselves with popular UK institutions like the monarchy, have at least tried to reassure people that the independence movement isn’t hellbent on dismantling every bit of British identity that exists in Scotland. After all, just because an institution is part of the British establishment doesn’t make it inherently unpopular or bad for Scotland.
Newsnight in particular and the BBC news output in general tend to be fairly respected by most people. That’s not to say that they’re always right – and nearly everyone in the independence movement can think of things they’ve seen on the programme where a pro-Union bias was displayed, or pro-union commentators outweighed pro-independence politicians on a panel, or Scottish news was just generally sidelined. But sometimes, complaints about BBC bias can seem like whinging – or the Unionists do their best to represent them as such.
It’s therefore really odd – and not in a bad way – to see a Scottish Labour MP, someone completely tied to the idea of the Union, accusing the BBC of a pro-Independence bias. Something is wrong with the picture!
So, Davidson’s appearance has done the independence movement some good. Let’s hope he’s available for further appearances, and that all “No” aligned pundits follow his example!
After I got married, we decided that, pre-kids, we’d do more adventurous, backpacking type holidays. And, after that, we’d spend time closer to home. And, listing endless amounts of stuff that had suddenly become essential in the 12 weeks since we had our son, we acquired a roofbox and booked a self-catering cottage near Creetown in Galloway.
I had some doubts – I love South West Scotland and we’re often down for weekends, but I thought it might be a bit tame after spending summers backpacking around Eastern Europe. And the wee guy was too little for playgrounds and child-based attractions, but equally, we weren’t going to be able to do much damage to stocks of wine or heavy at the local hostelries.
Actually, we had a great time. We went hiking in the forest park – albeit shorter walks than we’d been doing, but still getting out into the open air. We went to the beach at Sandhead. We bought loads in the food shops at Castle Douglas and the book shops in Wigtown, and made a quick pit stop at Bladnoch to buy whisky.
I think sometimes Scottish people associate holidaying at home with midges, rain, overpriced and terrible food. And it’s true that there are some grim tourist traps out there – we were up at Loch Lomond over the summer, and stopped for a drink in a pub that was full of foreign tourists who were paying well over the odds for food that was pretty crappy, judging by the copious amounts left on plates. I felt really bad for them and hope they didn’t judge the country too much on one establishment.
But we didn’t have a single bad experience. Apart from one day when it poured – the day we went shopping – the weather was amazing. And there wasn’t a midge in sight.
The food was very good too – one of the things I love about Galloway is the local produce is great. It’s a bit awkward going for a sit-down meal with a tiny baby, but we got fresh fish, smoked fish, beef, and vast quantities of ice cream and cheese to eat afterwards. Perhaps too much ice cream… but hey, it was the holidays.
Anyway, after we win the referendum and introduce North Korean style border security and propaganda villages at Gretna, there won’t be much choice. Or so some people would have you believe.