Scotsman columnist challenges BBC Scotland to take objectivity test

THE Scotsman columnist, Michael Kelly, has challenged BBC Scotland to invite the Labour MP, Ian Davidson, back for interview, as a test of its objectivity, following an on-air spat between Davidson and Newsnight Scotland presenter, Isabel Fraser, the other evening.

With Davidson describing Newsnight Scotland as ‘NewsNat Scotland’ on Tuesday’s edition of the programme, Fraser asked for an apology, which Davidson declined to provide.

Kelly begins, today: “Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West, is in pretty cocky form this week. He has just taken on the might of the BBC’s Newsnight Scotland and its stand-in presenter Isobel Fraser – and won twice.”

It sets the tone for much of what is to follow, not least because Fraser’s first name is spelled ‘Isabel’ and  she is as regular a presenter as any of the others on the programme.

Kelly, a former Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow, continues, later: “It was highly entertaining to see her outraged reaction – a common response from journalists used to the aggressive interrogation of others when a personal attack is made on them. It provoked her into claiming that there was evidence that she was not biased. I’m not sure she needs to produce evidence and even if she does, I wish her luck in proving a negative.

“No, the onus is surely on Davidson to produce the evidence he claims he has that Newsnight Scotland and its presenters habitually favour the views of the Scottish Parliament over Westminster. No doubt it will be documented in time.”

And he ends: “Whether he is invited back will be one test of the BBC’s objectivity.”