BBC Scotland seems a lost cause.
In the last 24 hours it has serially failed to hold government and major local authorities to account on various issues of hefty public interest.
Instead of acting as the independent scrutineer it is supposed to be, the channel simply trotted out – with neither interrogation nor even a raised eyebrow – the spin handed out to it.
The most serious matter of all was the torture and murder of the twin year baby, Liam Fee, which saw the culpable failure of the social, health and police services in Fife – including the Named Person state guardianship service which Fife implemented in 2009 and has operated ever since.
Fife Council and several of its health and social work professionals have straightforwardly referred to the Named Person provision having been in place for Liam Fee; confirming that this is the job description that has been in use as the name for the service itself, for some considerable time; and that this is how all of the service agencies involved see and describe this particular sevice.
The First Minister tried to spin the SNP’s way our of this particular service failure of Liam Fee by the incredible claim that it was ‘nonsense to say that Liam Fee had a Named Person’ when the system does not come into full operation in Scotland until the coming August; that what Fife has been doing is only a pilot project; and that the service to be implemented officially and nationwide in August will be ‘different’.
BBC Scotland simply repeated the First Minister’s unsupported assertion. It failed to insist on being given the sort of supporting evidence that would come from an answer to the question as to exactly what will be seminally different about the Named Person system which may be introduced in August from that which Fife delivers today- in a seven year pilot?
Today, 2nd June, in the Scottish Parliament, when the First Minister was under pressure on the matter at First Minister’s Questions, she tried an additional tack by saying that ‘the only people who were responsible for the death of Liam Fee’ were those convicted of killing him.
This was an obvious additional attempt to distance the clear [but not sole] failure of the Named Person service to offer the utterly necessary life-saving support to a very young child who could not possible defend himself or get help for his plight.
Yet BBC Scotland, both from its patsy political editor, Brian Taylor and from its news service, repeated the Fist Minsiter’s words in apparent praise for their supposedly common sensical nature – and queried this not at all.
Taylor even tried to give the FM;s statement a helpful spin by sayinv that Ms Sturgeon had pointed out that the ‘primary responsibility’ for Liam Fee’s death lay with his killers.
But this is not what the First Minsiter said. She said, as reported a over and heard by anyone who watched the clip from the Holyrood session, that ‘the only people responsible’ were his killers.
The Taylor spin is of course what the FM should have said, had she been objective and not tying to spin the Named Person failure out of the trouble it has earned in this – and several other, recent child deaths by murder.
The primary responsibility for the death of the baby is clearly that of those who wilfully took his life, after making what he had of it an unspeakable misery of repeated torture.
But there are secondary responsibilities for that death – and those specific responsibilities, if properly carried out, would probably have saved that tragic baby’s life.
BBC Scotland’s lack of will and backbone to question and to hold government to account on a matter as serious as this is an unforgiveable dereliction of its public duty – and a proof of the endemic parochiality that makes it a third class outfit.
Then – back to the first quoted bulletin of yesterday, 1st June, there was the business of the Edinburgh new schools construction scam, with two of the schools due to reopen now unable to do so, with their reopening postponed to the start of the new academic year at the end of the summer.
BBC Scotland reported no reason for this delay – which is itself a mater of public interest – and even spun into insignificance the impact on pupils and families of the inability of these schools to open in this academic year. Jackie Bird’s script had her say that this meant ‘that pupils would be able to return to their familiar schools at the start of the new term’ – rather than underline the fact that these pupils will be unable to return to their familiar schools until the new term.