HERE is a quiz question you won’t hear at your local pub quiz. When did Newsnight last have a piece on Scottish politics that lasted a whole 12 minutes (30% of the programme) rather than the normal zilch coverage or a token few minutes? Well, that’s easy. This week, of course, with them unsurprisingly banging on about the ferry issue, only 32 hours before the polls opened for the local elections. Don’t get me wrong, the ferry issue is of serious concern, but with the timing of the piece it sounds to me like someone at the helm of Newsnight thought: “What is the best way to give the SNP a good kicking just before the polls open without mentioning the local elections?”

I looked back at previous editions of Newsnight on the BBC iPlayer and noted that they did a six-minute piece on the Scottish local elections on Friday, April 29, providing representatives of all the main parties a set piece to camera, with no challenge from a reporter at all. They were all basically short, mini political broadcasts. So, nothing controversial there for any of them. However, that single piece on the ferries, far nearer polling day, and twice the length of that piece on April 29, could well have had a detrimental effect on the SNP with the waverers/undecided voters. That was an extremely sneaky trick for the high heid yins at Newsnight to play. I’m convinced they knew exactly what they were doing and that it was a deliberate act of sabotage.

From what I can gather, many supporters of independence have complained to the BBC over the years in relation to numerous issues, but clearly by their actions the BBC couldn’t give a fig. Personally, I’m sick to the back teeth of being treated as a second-class citizen, someone who is just not a valid person in the eyes of BBC management, just because I have the temerity – like around 50% of my fellow Scots, and like-minded non-Scots – to support independence. This is in stark contrast to the time of the Brexit vote when the BBC and other broadcasters gave such prominent coverage to the politics of hate of a certain man called Nigel Farage!

I’ve written this before the outcome of the election but I just hope the last-minute intervention by Newsnight didn’t affect the SNP vote to any degree. I guess we shall never know.

READ MORE: Scottish elections coverage showed the BBC just doesn't get Scotland

Finally, I have a wee message for any BBC Better Together (BBC Scotland for those that don’t get the joke) reporters left out there that actually have a mind of their own. Try doing your reports more like the impressive Brian Taylor, who retired from BBC Scotland in October 2020. With that cheeky wee glint in his eyes, whatever his personal political views were, Brian never made me feel like a second-class or invalid citizen!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

TOM Gray states that “an air of despondency is evident among some long-standing independence supporters” (Letters, May 2).

We agree with him that a clear understanding of the intent of the independence parties is required, but also of how we, the sovereign people of Scotland, will be involved in moving forward.

We must have our say in the forming of the new constitution and in the future progress of our country through citizens’ assemblies – assemblies with real authority to hold politicians to account.

Since the initiative is clearly not as yet coming from politicians, we, the people, must demand that Sturgeon, Salmond, Harvie and Slater make clear their position on this.

CE Ayr, Cavalaire sur Mer, France

and Jenne Gray, Ayr

IN her capacity both as shadow home secretary and as a politician, I have long held Yvette Cooper MP in high regard. Less highly do I regard those Unionist politicians who constantly remind us that we are “all one country”, or the former Conservative politician and Old Etonian who recently reminded us that England and Scotland should not really be regarded as separate countries at all.

And yet, and yet, here we have Yvette Cooper popping up on Sky News’s local election coverage to say that Labour were experiencing gains “from Cumberland to Southampton – from both ends of the country”.

Either “we are all one”, or we aren’t. On this showing, it would seem that we’re not.

Has anyone told Lord Foulkes yet?

Keith Halley


WHAT an excellent article from Joanna Cherry (There is nothing transphobic about defining what a woman is, May 6).

This was Joanna at her best. The Joanna who speaks out firmly about what she believes in; the one prepared to take the government to court to prove her point; and not the one who, for a long time, seems to have been told not to rock the boat. The edge went off her articles for a while. I hope this is a sign she is back to her old “fighting self”.

I happen to agree with her about the problems involved in sorting out the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). This is something which affects only a tiny minority – I have been told transgender people form only about 1.5% of our population. Yet in trying to enforce their rights, the Act infringes on the rights of somewhere around 50% of the population. That is to say the female half of our community. Their safety must also be protected.

I think the important issue is encapsulated in the couple of sentences where Joanna states: “The right to self-identification, which it is proposed to enshrine in law, is not confined to trans people, it is for anyone. This means that any man, whatever his intentions or motivation, can self-identify into the category of women.”

While I realise that it must be terrible to be a woman trapped inside a man’s body or a man trapped inside a woman’s body, we have to be very careful to ensure that in doing what we can to alleviate their situation, we do not open any proposed solution to abuse by someone with ulterior sexual motives. I would have thought that there has been enough talk about misogyny, even among politicians, to make it quite clear that protection for the women who make up 50% of the population must be considered in the wording of the GRA. Providing that protection cannot be ensured if absolutely anyone can say, “I may appear to be a man but I am really a woman, so, I’m going to demand access into female toilets and other female single-sex places”.

There has to be some form of regulation to ensure that this does not lead to, at the best, embarrassment for women in those areas; or, at worst, an increase in sexual attacks or even murder. This can only be done by insisting that only those who have attended psychiatrists or psychologists concerning their issue, and who have had their transgender situation medically or emotionally confirmed, may then, and only then, self-declare as a member of the opposite sex. Male or female – because there are people who consider themselves men trapped in women’s bodies. Anything less than this leaves the situation open to widespread abuse.

Charlie Kerr


MIKE Small on Sunday is aye a must read. But his May 1 expiscation o a byordnar week o extreme Unionist paranoia wes feirious! Athout onie dout the wecht he pit on tae the danger cairried by this irrational manifestation is tae be taen serious.

But for aw its wecht A wad propone meetin it first wi satire and comedy. It’s faur past the time The National wes cawin on Greg Moodie agane or his lyke, an the Joukir hes tae mak shair the gloves is aff an nae messin!

Reid Moffat


A SURVEY from a couple of years ago of “Britishness” across the UK produced some revealing results.

In a colour-coded map of the UK, each country came out as identifying as more Welsh, Scottish or English than British. Only Northern Ireland had a disproportionate level of Britishness compared to everywhere else – them and a tiny “British” cluster in the centre of London. Colonial “Britishness” is a thing of the past (and has probably never been in Scotland).

England as Britain still persists, and is still promoted (or goes uncorrected) internationally, so it’s very likely that many of those identifying as feeling “English” were actually expressing “Britishness”. It’ll be grand to leave that colonial past behind us and reclaim our independence as a normal, forward-looking and modern European country. The “British” can keep their shrinking rUK. Though, looking at the changes happening in Wales and Northern Ireland, it looks like the “England as Britain” brigade will finally get what they want. Thereafter, they can dump the “Britain” nonsense and simply stick with England.

READ MORE: BBC have crossed a line by resurrecting ferry story this week

Best of luck to them! Neighbours not masters! It’s coming.

Alistair Potter


ON Thursday, the people of Scotland not only voted to boot out the Tories but also division in the independence movement.

It is now up to Mr Salmond to tell his “supporters” in Alba the gemmes a bogey. No traction, no votes outside their own cadre, no councillors, no MSPs – that is, what is.

Alba’s rush-the-gate approach to independence has been rejected, yet still their strident support thinks up all sorts of reasons why the bulk of Scotland’s pro-independence voters are just plain wrong, deluded or in the thrall of Ms Sturgeon...

As a betting man, Mr Salmond should realise with Alba he entered a yearling with broken wind, in the Scottish Grand National, which fell at the first fence, has fractured a foreleg and needs putting down.

Peter Thomson

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