US election: Scottish Nationalists launch late hunt for grievance

The Scottish Nationalists so loved the hype of the last few years that they are put out now the spotlight has moved off them

BY Iain Martin | iainmartin1   /  8 November 2016

I cannot believe this is happening. No, not the Western world teetering on the edge of a Trump presidency that would please Putin. Or the world’s leading power going to the polls in the most important and exciting election since 1980.

What I cannot believe – and I’m usually pretty unshockable when it comes to the antics of the Scottish Nationalists – is that on this of all days some Nats are hunting for a grievance and attempting to get Scotland into the picture.

The National, the SNP-supporting‎ tabloid north of the border, recently reported “outrage” that BBC Scotland staff are not in America covering the US election. My old and dear friend Kevin McKenna has taken up the battle on social media. Assorted Nats hungry for grievance have joined in.

The BBC is a UK-wide organisation. Scotland is in the UK. It has operations in the nations and regions, which cover what goes on there. The world-class foreign news operation is run out of London, the capital of the UK of which Scotland is a part. It would be mad, especially at a time of budget restraint, for BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and BBC London (the regional, local news operation) to go off duplicating US election coverage.

Anyway, Scots are very well-represented among the BBC contingent here. Andrew Neil is presenting tonight’s TV coverage from New York and Jim Naughtie is, I think, running the Radio 4 show. Others on the BBC team are Scots.

Ah, but they’re not based in Scotland at BBC Scotland, say some the Nationalists, so they don’t count.

I give up. It is just embarrassing. What are the Nationalists doing to Scotland? They’re shrinking it while making internationalist noises and whining. They’re infantilising a great country, and on the media front trying to divert attention from the collapse of much of the indigenous Scottish press. When I was on the Scotsman we sent people to the US. I doubt there is the budget to send them to Glasgow now. Rather than asking why the deeply depressing collapse has happened – rather than the boom post-devolution that was predicted – it is easier to quibble about the BBC. This way Scotland can be presented as the hard done by and overlooked victim.

Something else has become apparent recently. The Scottish Nationalists so loved the hype of the last few years that they are put out now the spotlight has moved off them. At Westminster they barely register ‎these days. Their involvement in the Supreme Court case on Article 50 is yet another desperate attempt to get the spotlight back.

Today Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister and SNP leader, even moved to reassure Scots that regardless of who wins tonight relations between Scotland and the US will continue. Phew. What a relief. Scotland. That’s what everyone is worried about today…