I was encouraged this week to hear from Sky News about their plans to set up an independent commission to oversee Leaders Debates in future General Elections.
In the SNP we have always been prepared to participate in televised leaders debates but the failure of other parties to agree to such public transparency and scrutiny in recent General Elections has been frustrating.
So I responded to them expressing support in principle for his proposal – providing the broadcasters give fair representation for all parties in these debates.
I also noted that Sky chose not to include the SNP in their landmark programmes at the most recent General Election, despite us being the third party in the UK Parliament. Hopefully this time they, and the other broadcasters, will do it properly and not give Scotland a raw deal.
Scottish Labour’s determination to remain alienated from swathes of its previous support as it attempts to out Tory the Tories on #Indy shows no sign of abating. Which can only be good news for @theSNP 😄 https://t.co/dihzi4RU3J
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 23, 2018
Relations between political parties, of all colours, are tested at times and the SNP are no different. We have clear lines of communication with broadcasters – and while we strive to make relations cordial, we do not hesitate to challenge when required.
A recent example of this was the BBC mistakes covering GERS figures last month. They responded to our concerns and amended the errors made – even making the the unusual move of apologising on the the network lunchtime news.
We’ll continue working with broadcasters and, where appropriate, applying pressure to ensure we get a fair kick of the ball.
There was a lot of anger and disappointment at the broadcasters during the last referendum. I’m encouraged that the BBC Scotland recognise this too; now they need to show how they will regain the trust they lost in 2014.
Richard Leonard wrongly states there is no case for independence referendum, completely ignoring that there is a mandate for a referendum from the Scottish people who returned a majority of MSPs to the Scottish Parliament. Time to accept reality & the democratic right of Scotland
— Ian Blackford (@IanBlackfordMP) September 23, 2018
For Yes to win next time, and there will be a next time, we too need to up our game too.
We need to be positive and move beyond the 45er tag. So in my roles as depute leader and campaign director of the SNP I’ve ensured that we are doing the groundwork now that will help us win in the future.
Mobilising the SNP’s mass membership, exploring and discussing policy options, creating new materials and engaging ways of communicating will help us attract new supporters to the cause of independence.
The national assemblies that we have held in Ayr, Aviemore and Edinburgh have been a great platform to discuss economic policy. There has been demand for further events of this format the team at party headquarters are currently exploring this.
🌍🏴 All across the country, Scotland is buzzing with conversation and debate on how we can make an independent Scotland match among the best in the world.
— The SNP (@theSNP) September 17, 2018
More immediately we have the party’s day of action to look forward to, on Saturday 29 September, when we’ll be looking to have 50,000 conversations across Scotland to take the temperature on independence within the context of a job destroying UK Tory Brexit.
And everyone is now gearing up for party conference on the 7, 8 and 9th of October too – when we gather in the great city of Glasgow, which is set to be a cracking few days.
Keith Brown is SNP Depute Leader and Campaign Director.