When Im on about devolution I see it was left to the Times of London to produce the classic piece about how irrelevant Gordon Browns leaders speech was for Scotland, at least in the early internet editions. From Angus Macleod the Times Scottish political editor:
Anyone in Glenrothes watching Gordon Brown’s big speech yesterday might have been excused for wondering what it had to do with them. Free universal check-ups for the over-40s? Extension of nursery places? No prescription charges for cancer patients? A commissioner for victims of crime? More children connected to the internet? All England and Wales only, I’m afraid… It was a speech that underlined just how wide the domestic policy divide between Scotland and England is nowadays, especially when the party in charge in Edinburgh is different from the government in London.
Whereas the Glasgow-based Herald tucked the point away at the end of a leader. However, if the battle lines with the Tories are being drawn, this speech left no clue as to how Labour can take on the SNP, which is its most pressing task, given the proximity of the Glenrothes by-election The Scotsman similarly marginalised the Scottish angle: “Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said Mr Brown mentioned Scotland only once, adding: “Where Brown did make policy commitments, he was playing catch-up with the SNP in Scotland on carbon emissions, free prescriptions and GP surgeries.” (yawn).
The staid Scottish national heavies are so keen to stress their UK heavyweight credentials that they play down the Scottish dimension on UK stories, whereas if they would only admit it, their reports of UK centre seldom match their London counterparts for authority. The Scottish angle should be their USP, you would think. Tellingly the tartanised editions of UK national papers ( and to some extent Irish editions too including greentops) are eating into falling circulations, to which the Scottish heavies so far have few answers. As leading journalism analyst Roy Greenslade has reported in his blog, these former stalwarts of Scottish life and opinion are now “in great peril.”
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London