Well the hidden agenda has finally been exposed. It was all a ruse to try to paint the SNP as being ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Tories.
We have had weeks whilst the Scottish media prepared the ground. Threats to end the council tax freeze, Cosla complaining about council funding and Scottish Labour accusing the SNP of being responsible for local authority cuts.
Wednesday was the culmination of weeks of planning. On Tuesday Kezia Dugdale announced she wanted to hike taxes by a penny in the pound for everybody, regardless of salary - poor people can apply for a rebate. On Wednesday we had the Holyrood vote.
The Lib Dems and Labour voted in favour, but the SNP, Scottish Greens and the Conservatives all voted against. Dugdale’s tax wheeze bit the dust, as it was supposed to.
No sooner had the vote ended than the agenda kicked in. I spotted it first on Radio Scotland when the news reader informed listeners that “…SNP and Conservative MSPs voted against plans for a one penny increase in all existing rates…”
What about the Scottish Greens? Both Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone were in the chamber too. Had they abstained? I checked the Scottish Parliament website and discovered they had both voted against the Labour motion. BBC Scotland had simply airbrushed them out of the story.
It was the same when Reporting Scotland aired. The vote was the top story on the tea-time programme and viewers were presented with clips of MSPs from four parties. But missing again were the Scottish Greens. One clip stood out - Tory MSP Murdo Fraser.
BBC Scotland’s current affairs show Scotland 2016 was even more blatant as Andrew Kerr described the vote as one of “unlikely alliances”, helping viewers out by telling them “the Conservatives were delighted with [John Swinney’s] stance on tax”, and repeating Murdo Fraser’s joke that the SNP and Tories were “Better Together”.
The late night programme did though show a clip of Patrick Harvie contributing to the debate, although the clip was edited in a manner that implied Harvie had not voted with the SNP.
The Scottish Greens' opposition to the tax-hike was simply written out of the news. Indeed in the discussion that followed there was more mention of the insufferable RISE than the Scottish Greens.
Even the BBC’s Scotland editor Sarah Smith, a former presenter of the late night show, got into the ‘SNP/Tory alliance’ act with a tweet which read ‘Scot Lab tax plans take us thru looking glass. SNP *shoulder to shoulder* with Tories against *Penny for Scotland*…’
The tweet was based on the following Herald headline. Indeed Sarah Smith actually linked to the newspaper article. How very 'balanced'.
The manipulation of the tax-hike vote by BBC Scotland has hardly been subtle. The Scottish Greens are clearly not just a minor party in the forthcoming Holyrood election, they don’t appear to even exist.
The broadcaster continued its highly suggestible reports on Friday when Glenn Campbell repeated the SNP/Tory line.
Scottish Labour MSPs have of course been pushing the propaganda for all it’s worth. Their tax-hike wheeze was designed, not to help poor people, but to try to portray the SNP as allies of the Tories. That’s what makes it all the more reprehensible.
BBC Scotland and the rest of the pro-Union media will promote this line uncritically. Presenting the SNP as either favouring a Tory Government at Westminster or planning to do deals with them at Holyrood is an old BBC Scotland tactic as the two clips below show.
The clip below is no reflection on the show host at the time, Isabel Fraser is a loss to BBC Scotland.
Don’t be surprised if pundits turn up this weekend echoing the same politically motivated guff as the clips above. The agenda is clear. Link the Scottish National Party to the Tories.
The tax-hike proposed by Labour is unworkable fantasy never designed to be implemented. It’s a poor con that’s conning the poor.