Oh Dear Oh Dear as Alan Cochrane opens his diatribe…
Read it for yourself
Mr Cochrane is rushing to the defence of Mr Davidson (joined predictably by Mr Foulkes) who having made allegations of bias against Isobel Fraser has now demanded an apology to boot! These are serious allegations of unprofessional bias against an individual. It is not only the corporation editorial stance Mr Davidson questions but Ms Fraser’s personal professional integrity. It is not that we have not heard such allegations before- but usually they are made by the other side that, in light of recent revelations about BBC staff briefings would seem to have a more justifiable claim.
Cochrane goes on to dwell upon the revelation that Andrew Tickell, the lawyer who appeared to refute Mr Davidson’s committee claims has “Nat affiliation” Mr Tickell’s (or as others know him, Lallands Peat worrier) has his credentials questioned by the use of Cochrane’s quotation marks around the word “expert” pointing out that he is in fact a Human rights lawyer not a constitutional lawyer. Ms Fraser is therefore castigated on two counts
1. She has introduced a Nationalist to voice an opinion on law.
2. Mr Tickell is not a practicing constitutional lawyer.
We may wish to contrast this to the other party-
1. is it inferred for a moment that Ian Davidson is a neutral observer or dispassionate examiner of the facts?- Or is he perhaps a self declared Unionist?
2. Is Mr Davidson’s law practice closer to constitutional expertise than Peatworrier- I think not. He was not simply repeating legal opinion obtained in the line of his comically skewed committee examination, but filling in with his own, clearly strongly held opinions. Cochrane suggests no different. But the logic is well skewed when criticising the invited opponent yet accepting that total layman Davidson has the bonafides to spout his “legal” objections.
Any reader of Peatworriers blog will know that if not a practicing constitutional lawyer he is certainly an enthusiastic researcher on the subject, whose knowledge coupled with legal training seems to be no less than any of the experts from academia that are routinely trotted out.
Cochrane goes on to justify Davidson’s stance based on the fact that he is a “combative politician” and that we are living in heated political times. It appears that this is no less than a non-pejorative way of reminding us that we know Davidson can’t control himself and he is only likely to get worse, so make allowances.
On the bias issue- At least Cochrane comes out and clarifies that he has no intention of applying any balance to his views in the name of journalistic integrity. He has a view and he intends to use his forum to promote that Unionist view while the organ he writes for continues its sorry slip into the depths.
One last thought- Watching the interview itself, it did seem that it was almost premeditated and perhaps not solely someone with little self control and even less in the way of manners going off on one.
With the forthcoming review of the BBC news department’s impartiality by Stuart Prebble, the BBC are doubtless watching their Ps and Qs, which may even ensure that an attempt is made to achieve balance. The Davidson attack is no less than bullying in an attempt to put pressure on the BBC and an individual presenter to make sure that they bend over backwards not to cause offence or give a hint of bias towards independence. Will the Great Leader Johann condemn it? Or is she party to it with her Unionist bedfellows?