Arm of government – yet again?
The SNP Westminster Parliamentary Party met on Monday night, to discuss proposals to ‘water down’ the ban on fox-hunting in England and Wales. The 56 MPs decided to oppose these, following a host of letters from English correspondents asking the SNP – as a real ideological opposition – to intervene.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, was interviewed by a Today presenter, possibly Justin Webb
An hour later the BBC website underpinned this view, also – but more politely and by implication.
‘A’ for persistence: BBC later makes this subject the 8am news headline
In a thinly veiled attempt to rally public opinion against the SNP at Westminster, it is implied that the SNP is taking this stance due to pique at the proposal for Scottish MPs to be barred from voting on measures which will have financial implications for their country.
This strong, intelligent and public spirited leader will need all her strengths to counter political attempts to undermine her – and she has support all over Britain.
Deny them the mainstream ‘oxygen of publicity’ ?
Was a lesson learnt from the extensive media coverage of the 2013 50,000 strong, peaceful protest in Manchester last year?
Has Cameron followed Margaret Thatcher’s strategy: “to ask the media to agree among themselves a voluntary code of conduct, a code under which they would not say or show anything which could assist the (demonstrators’) morale or their cause”
Anya wrote to the BBC but asked to be spared one of their standard replies: “I am starting to turn BBC off altogether as I find you continually cherry pick the news to suit the status quo nowadays often filling our screens with trivia, rather than addressing the main questions that face our country today from both sides of the argument”.
An estimated 50,000 people marched from the BBC’s New Broadcasting House in central London to Westminster. Following concern expressed by many, six pages of Google search results failed to discover reports of this march in any mainstream media outlet apart from the Guardian.
The crowds heard speeches at Parliament Square from People’s Assembly supporters, including Caroline Lucas MP and journalist Owen Jones. Addressing the marchers, Jones said: “Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster – or the tax avoiders? It is selective anger.”
The People’s Assembly was set up with an open letter to the Guardian in February 2013. Signatories to letter included Tony Benn, journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Ken Loach. Its spokesman Clare Solomon said: “It is essential for the welfare of millions of people that we stop austerity and halt this coalition government dead in its tracks before it does lasting damage to people’s lives and our public services.”
“The people of this building [the House of Commons] generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It’s time for us to take back our power,” said Russell Brand.
The Metropolitan police refused to provide an estimate of numbers attending – but a police spokesman confirmed that the force had received no reports of arrests.