This is the second of the series of older articles which I am reblogging as a reminder of what went on to bring us to this point. This is clearly also a test of time and is the article relevant? In my view this is, Alex Salmond still seeks justice, the Scottish Government are still trying to block the Parliamentary Inquiry and the epidemic of amnesia is just starting.


Back in 1985 I was a guest on the pilot programme of the political debut of Kirsty Wark. The programme was called Left, Right and Centre. It was, however, unlike any political programme I had ever taken part in, before or since.

Unbeknown to me, the BBC had entered a secret agreement with the Conservative Party, and had given them a letter which was a veto on the section of the programme which gave them the power to kill the segment if I got the better of the then Chairman of the Conservative Party who was my opponent on the show.

At the time,  I was in the process of leaving the Tories over their betrayal of the steel industry and this was to be a discussion where the then Chairman would portray me as a “lone wolf” with no support in the Party. I fully expected this would be their tactics, they had no defence to the steel closures, much better to smear me as a troublemaker etc. I organised accordingly and had abundant evidence, in writing from various Tory Associations expressing their concerns.I produced the letters on the show. Once I left the studio the Tory Chairman then produced his letter from the BBC and vetoed it being shown.

On the night as it was recorded nobody at the BBC said a word to me about it and I left thinking my demolition of the Chairman would be broadcast as normal. The show was broadcast but minus my segment. The next day I got a phone call from a Tory MP that told me a friend at the BBC knew about this deal, thought it was disgusting and was willing to confirm to a journalist that it had happened, if he could be guaranteed anonymity. He asked the Tory MP, who he knew supported me and the steel industry to pass on to me a phone number where any journalist could phone to confirm the story. 

I gave the story to the Sunday Times Scottish correspondent who I knew I could trust to protect the senior staff member at the BBC and it made the front page. The whole thing was the most unprofessional television journalism I have ever came across in politics. I do not know if it was Kirsty Wark that made the deal but it was her show. So I was interested to see how balanced her programme on the Alex Salmond Trial would be and what tricks, if any, would be employed.

I shouldn’t have been, there was no attempt at balance. The programme lasted an hour, it was a programme where the allegations were outlined in depth, using actors to convey emotion alongside doctored film of some of the disguised alphabet women nervously twitching their fingers or pinching their skin for effect. Any mention of the defence case given seconds in comparison. Just in case viewers were not picking up the message she was trying to project there was film of Kirsty having coffee with Dani Garavelli, Sarah Smith and journalist Maurice Smith discussing the trouble Alex was in and how brave the alphabet women were.

So it was pretty much in line with the entire MSM coverage of the trial. You know the ludicrous coverage that came nowhere near the evidence the jury heard and which they could not justify or explain when the avalanche of not guilty verdicts were delivered. How ironic it is that it is Craig Murray and Mark Hirst who face a court case when they accurately reported the case and were vindicated by the jury verdict.

The most obvious lack of balance of course was that the day by day coverage of the trial jumped from day seven to day ten.. Why? Because days eight and nine was taken up with defence witnesses whose evidence destroyed the previous allegations and resulted in them as being shown to be completely unfounded. Kirsty was taking no chances, you were not even going to be allowed to hear what that evidence was and how it displayed the allegations as false. Pravda would have been proud of her, after all it would have left her with an empty programme.

Kenny Mcaskill, to his credit was given a little time and he defended Alex and was honest enough to say that he knew several of those making the allegations, had known them for a long time,  and had not the slightest doubt they had lied in court. Jim Sillars also confirmed that he thought there was strong evidence the whole thing was a political conspiracy to keep Alex from returning to Holyrood. I have been directly told by several MSP’s that it was indeed a plot, so I am sure the plot was real and the evidence against Alex was contrived.

I do not believe there is another country in Europe where a reputable TV company would make a programme of this type when every allegation that featured had been dismissed by the jury and thrown out so conclusively. Then of course the BBC is not a reputable TV company. It is the British State Broadcast company engaged in heavy propaganda to do damage to anyone capable of pushing Independence for Scotland forward.

It was a hatchet job from start to finish, those who no longer have a TV licence were proven correct. This bilge was a politically biased attempt to influence the start of the enquiry in the Scottish Parliament. The timing was no coincidence. If it had been real journalism they might have investigated the remarkable obstruction from the Scottish Government towards supplying the investigating committee with the official documents they requested.

This whole episode is far from over, more information will come to light and this time it is not Alex Salmond in the dock but others. I am sure they are hoping for the same verdict that Alex got, but I wouldn’t be putting money on it at this stage.

I am, as always


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