Monday 27 April 2015

Evan Davis v Nicola Sturgeon

Well, Evan Davis was back on BBC One tonight with his latest Leader Interview, featuring a leader the vast majority of UK voters can't vote for - Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP.

Tone-wise, it could hardly have been more different to Evan's last BBC One interview (the one with the leader of UKIP).

(If any cybernats moan about this, they seriously need help and deserve to be afforded no credibility whatsoever ever again).

Evan and Nicola got on like a house on fire. It was all pretty good-natured, with Evan and Nicola laughing at each others jokes, sparring light-heartedly and, generally, treating each other with kid gloves. (Evan even echoed some of her comments). 

She seemed to enjoy it. As did he.

There was lots of discussion about the SNP's attitude towards Labour and how things might work with Labour after the election, plus other post-election scenarios.  A bit of stuff about how she feels about London and who she'd support in, say, an England-Germany match, plus some stuff about what she'd like to be remembered for after her long career in politics, many years hence.

There were lots of interruptions (34, by my count - putting her ahead of Ed but behind David and Nick - and way, way behind Nigel's 55), but it still was a million miles away from the hostile tone of last week's interview with Nigel Farage - full of joshing, fencing, and pushing without bruising. 

He didn't imply racism (even anti-English racism). He didn't have a dig at SNP candidates or supporters. He didn't personally have a go at Nicola Sturgeon. He didn't, even for a second, dig into her economic policy (that fiscal 'black hole' for example), or anything else about her manifesto. He didn't seek to embarrass her with clips from the past, or an endless stream of potentially embarrassing quotes (just one from Alex Salmond, if I recall correctly). He didn't cite Paddington Bear against her nationalist standpoint. 

Evan's interview with Nigel Farage felt hostile, as if Evan were seeking to ruin UKIP's reputation.

This interview was pathetically soft in comparison because, I suspect, Evan doesn't care about the SNP as much as he cares (negatively) about UKIP - meaning that he's guilty of a bias against UKIP. It was just a prime-time interview with the leader of the SNP for him. Not personal.

Watch it for yourselves though please. 


  1. Oh, my goodness, that was tedious. I say was, but actually they're still chattering away in the background as I write. Party political platform on behalf of the SNP. But I feel like I've been listening to a @#$%ing Alvin and the Chipmunks album for the last fifteen minutes. Chirp, chirp, chirp.

    Seriously, though, Davis's agenda seemed to be twofold: First, get Sturgeon to go as full anti-Tory as possible and convince everyone that the most important thing is to kick Tories out. At the same time, make sure Miliband knows he needs to sound as Socialist as possible for the next week so that more former Labour voters come back to the fold when it counts.

    The second goal is to give her as many opportunities as possible to hint that the SNP would totally have some kind of wink, wink, nudge, nudge deal with Labour, because a Labour Government is the real goal for all right-thinking people. Sturgeon didn't bite. I'm not sure what Davis thought he was proving with his frowning about the whole "no moral right to govern" agenda. If Labour doesn't win a majority, the alternative is a minority Conservative Government, which by the logic he was offering would be equally illegitimate, so what the hell? It seemed like he was trying to score some point but it was only half thought-out. And Davis' further questions seem to be along the same lazy groping lines. I admit I'm only half listening at this point, if that.

    Davis is focusing exclusively on the big picture, Save Labour At All Costs angle. Was there a single question about any actual policies? I didn't hear a thing about the NHS or education or wealth redistribution, or anything about any actual policy. Surely they ought to talk about that when discussing what kind of influence the SNP may or may not have. Sturgeon managed to gesture towards that just now, as I see Davis has given her the last word on what kind of wonderful influence the SNP would have on Labour but which totally wouldn't be a deal of any kind you racist, Little Englander bastards. But seriously, what an utter waste of time. Nothing was accomplished.

    Davis did stick in the one and only actual knife at the end, there. The English don't want the Scots telling them what to do, deciding in government what's best for them.

    Okay, I guess Davis had another knife he wanted to throw, and was messing around too much earlier and so just now heaved it in. The point many people have been making - including myself, many times - that Scottish nationalism is good, but English nationalism is bad. Of course, he made it in the most perfunctory way possible, and didn't really set it up correctly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but those complaining about some nationalisms being more equal than others are usually really complaining about how the BBC and others see English nationalism as racist and quasi-fascist, whereas Welsh and Scottish and Irish nationalism are celebrated. But I guess he ticked the box, complaints from both sides, etc.

    A football question? How juvenile. Why not ask what kind of animal she'd like to be, or what her star sign is?

  2. There is no logical reason why the SNP wouldn't want to do a deal with Labour, and be quite open about it. What secret deal is going on that the Sturgeon has been steadfastly denying there would be one? Even the most Labour-friendly press admit that the spectre of the SNP pulling the strings (and by default pushing for the breakup of the UK, although curiously Davis never really threw that particular very large knife in) is bad for Labour. Even though out of the other side of their mouths they say suggesting such a thing is negative politics and scaremongering. So I'm shocked, shocked to hear Davis offer that as a legitimate concern, if it's only nasty people who think it's an issue. There's a deal going on somewhere to play it cool. There has to be.

    Laugh out loud moment near the end. Davis suggested that the SNP would be "calling the shots", and Sturgeon objected to that as being "a pejorative", and then went on to explain how it would really be wonderful that the SNP would be working for a more Progessive Britain. To sane people, Progressive is a pejorative.

    What a tedious collection of high-pitched chatter, though. I've heard Gregorian chant with a wider pitch range and fewer repeated cadences.

    Meh, in the end, nothing learned, nothing gained, other than Sturgeon getting a nice platform to pose as the plucky champion of proper Progressive politics in Westminster, to keep Labour on their toes. If that happens, the proverbial Sick Man of Europe will look like Charles Atlas by comparison.

  3. I could not bear to watch it. I am in Scotland at the moment. Did Evan ask Nicola why the SNP are so hated by the majority of Scots who do not support the SNP but are afraid to speak out ? There is a climate of fear here which is frightening. Thank God I do not live in the UK anymore.

    1. No, because that was irrelevant to the goals of the interview. This was all about England and appealing to English voters not be afraid of a Labour/SNP coalition. His aim was to get Sturgeon to make a quotable sound bite about a possible deal with Labour and to give her a chance to calm fears over SNP influence in Westminster. She seemed taken aback when asked about the English not liking them, but it was of course a given that the SNP will clear the table and are the true voice of Scotland.

      Also, the BBC loves these women leaders. Can't get enough of them. Isn't the feminine influence in politics wonderful? Never mind that they're all extreme Left, some more insanely extreme than others. I'm sure their politics have nothing to do with the love. The BBC also loved Sarah Palin because she was a strong....oh....wait....

  4. Grant, I'm sorry but that is complete nonsense! I have family and friends who having different voting intentions and political views but are debating politics with a fervour previously unknown here. There is no climate of fear! That is an ideology created to demonise the SNP and its supporters. The only people who are scared in Scotland right now are those MP's who are undoubtedly going to be unemployed after the election. For them the free ride is over and it's back to working for a living. Please don't make sweeping, uninformed statements that have no basis of truth!

  5. Carole, You prove my point exactly ! Thank you !

  6. In the run up to the 1983 General Election, a well respected broadcaster called Brian Walden interviewed Michael Foot, then leader of the Labour Opposition. Brian Walden repeatedly asked Michael Foot about Britain's nuclear deterrent and Michael Foot squirmed and squirmed and never gave
    an answer.

    The reality was that Michael Foot was a member of CND and would have undoubtedly got rid of our nuclear capability and destroyed Britain's ability to defend itself if elected as Prime Minister.

    Exactly the same circumstances prevail today with Faslane. Mr Salmond has repeatedly pronounced that the SNP policy is to destroy weapons of mass destruction on Scottish soil and it is without doubt a red line for the renewal of Trident and totally relevant for any SNP/Labour coalition.

    Yet the best Evan Davis could do was go on about football.

    Defence of the Realm is the number one priority of any democracy. Without that security all other bets are off.

    No mention of Trident, Davis shouldn't just be sacked but he and those responsible for the programme in the BBC should be doing a spell in the Tower!

  7. Anon, I agree. Just wish you would put a name here !

  8. No journo ever seems to remind Sturgeon that after 7th May, she will not even be a member of the Westminster parliament, yet she presumes that she will lay down terms without a personal mandate.

    To paraphrase what we were told as noisy kids playing in the street: "Go play in your own Parliament!"


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