Sunday, 26 January 2014

Not in the paper review - January edition

Welcome to the first of our monthly series looking back at the stories which the main stream media in Scotland didn't offer much attention to, and comparing them to those that hit the front pages.

(You can find more details about the story here)
"Yesterday the Labour Party’s representatives in the Scottish Parliament voted against a motion to provide free school meals to all Scottish children in Primary 1 to Primary 3, and to increase childcare funding for two-year-olds. They did so barely 48 hours after angrily demanding that the Scottish Government provide better childcare, an issue which Labour had explicitly tied into the independence debate by using an opinion poll commissioned by the “Better Together” campaign." Reverend Stuart Campbell - Wings over Scotland
Afterwards, Labour Education Spokewoman Kezia Dugdale MSP stated:
"We had to vote against the government’s motion today because the last line of the motion said that you needed independence to ensure that kids in Scotland had the best start in life, the best opportunity to grow up in the best country in the world. We disagree, we don’t think you need independence to do that." Kezia Dugdale MSP - Interview on Scotland Tonight 7/1/14
Labour would only accept the added provision for childcare and hot school meals for young children if the following text was included:
S4M-08707.3 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-08707 in the name of Alex Salmond (Scotland’s Future), leave out from “deplores” to end and insert “believes that the UK Government’s economic and social strategies have failed and threaten the progress made by the previous Labour administration in tackling child poverty; agrees that devolution allows the Scottish Parliament to take a different approach; notes that progress in tackling child poverty has stalled in Scotland under the current administration, and, while recognising the value of free school meals, calls on the Scottish Government to take action to deliver for children now, including providing 50% of two-year-olds with 600 hours of free early learning and care in 2014.”
The free school meals policy adopted by the Scottish Government will offer a great deal of help to the needy and avoid children being unfairly stigmatized. We can understand people standing on a platform that they believe there are more deserving causes, but we can't accept politicians who claim that they support a policy only to vote against it when it has a chance of becoming law.

The party which once coined the phrase 'Thatcher the milk snatcher' is gone, replaced by a leadership which say they will only support a motion on free school meals if they get praised for 'progress' they made whilst in office nearly 7 (Scotland) / 4 (UK) years earlier. The question we ask is would those in Labour for Independence have voted against extra childcare and free school meals?

Other stories which didn't make it
Quantifiable proof that the British State Broadcaster has been biased in its referendum coverage came to light following research from the University of the West of Scotland. STV was also found to be favouring the 'no' campaign, but not quite to the same extent. We first came across this story on Newsnet Scotland which was once again ahead of the mainstream media.
The research proves that the BBC broke article 1.3.2 of its own charter and it follows the revelation that BBC Scotland was found guilty of breaching editorial guidelines on accuracy by the BBC Trust, completing a miserable month for Pacific Quay.
Finally, the Office of National Statistics were forced to correct their own figures after having been found understating Scotland's economic growth since 1998 in an experimental report. According to the editor of the Financial Times, Chris Giles, this wrong data had the potential to change ‘the balance of the independence debate’. Once again, there weren't many articles in the Scottish media about this topic.
Glance over the BBC
While the story of Labour voting against their own policies (extra childcare provision and hot meals for young children) was taking place, another, vastly most important issue, was dominating the BBC News website.
Scottish Independence: Call for 'truce' during Glasgow 2014 was the big headline. The 'story' was about the sincere hope of Lord Jack McConnell, Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale, that athletes won't be used for political gain during the upcoming Commonwealth Games. The story became embarrassing for the Peer when Westminster's Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, made the following statement just a few days later:
Whether that's the British Lions [sic], or next month's Winter Olympics, or of course, our astonishing achievements in the London 2012 Olympic Games. At those Games, the UK won 29 gold medals. And over the Games, as the tally went higher, so did our collective sense of national pride. Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Katherine Granger. Those outstanding athletes weren't cheered on by parts of the UK, but by all of us. They were our representatives. They worked together, they competed together – many had trained together at facilities across the UK. Their success fed our pride."
Lord Jack McConnell, previously using athletes for political gain
Although the Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic sporting event, we don't believe that the referendum debate should be put on hold (and we're not going to be influenced by 'Peer' pressure).
Glance over the papers
Our comedy headline from the newspapers comes courtesy of The Telegraph from the 29th of December 2013: David Cameron: I would check my wallet after a drink with Alex Salmond.
David Cameron said that, out of Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond, he would prefer to have a drink with his deputy Nick Clegg. This is presumably because Mr Clegg would be the most likely of the trio to act as waiter.

The Daily Record came a close second with the headline 'Alex Salmond admits Scotland could be forced to ditch pound if country votes Yes in September's referendum', even though Alex Salmond didn't say anything and Scotland can't be forced into using an alternative currency.
The very next day came a rebuttal from Lawyer George C Gebbie who wrote that instead of increasing the likelihood that the Scotland would drop the pound, the story was " affirmation of the use of Sterling now and in the future by the Scottish Government." At the time of writing, we aren't aware of any corrections made by the Daily Record.
Join us again for our next 'not in the paper' review in February!
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