Complaint: Scotsman, on Saturday 7th August 2020

The Editor

The Scotsman

Complaint: Scotsman, on Saturday 7th August 2020

Dear Mr McGrory

I write to complain of the lack of transparency in, and of the heavily unbalanced coverage of, the SQA exam assessment issue in the above edition.

The edition featured five highly critical, at times melodramatic, pieces in addition to the editorial, failing to acknowledge the small scale of the pupil protests (<100) compared to the total submissions (138 000), the scale of appeals in most years (>12 000), the likely effects of the increased pass rate on student satisfaction and the fact that the same moderation method is being used in England and Wales, from:

  1. Brian Wilson, former Labour minister
  2. John McLellan, Conservative councillor and former adviser
  3. Cameron Wylie, retired private school head teacher and openly Conservative supporter
  4. Iain Gray, Labour
  5. Susan Dalgety, former adviser to FM Jack McConnell, Labour

The letters page featured letters from:

1.      Phil Tate, Campaign Manager for Ian Murray, Labour and Scotland in Union covert letter-writing group

2.      Allan Sutherland, Labour and Scotland in Union covert letter-writing group

In no case was the political affiliation of the writer mentioned.

No balancing reports from SNP or pro-Scottish Government positions was offered.

In the case of Scotland in Union letter writers, it is most important that this undemocratic group is not allowed to present itself as honest members of the public. This group, details attached, conceals its existence and seeks to influence journalists to write pro-Union and anti-SNP articles. While no doubt, not illegal, this practice is unethical and undemocratic.

I hope you will acknowledge the problems for a newspaper operating within a liberal democracy in appearing to have such a partisan nature.

Yours sincerely,

John Robertson (Professor retired)



5 thoughts on “Complaint: Scotsman, on Saturday 7th August 2020”

  1. Oh gosh, is Euan now the editor of the Scotsman? That is good news, well done him! I thought he was still news editor of the Evening News (Edinburgh) – of course there have been so many cuts and job losses, there can only be about 5 people working on both papers and they amalgamated and stuff. The Evening News seemed to be fairly unbiased for a newspaper, the news section, though perhaps a bit sensationalist.

    I really must keep in contact with friends better – Euan McGrory is truly a lovely person, and I’m sure would never let his raving unionism get in the way of fair news reporting. That’s not fair, he’s not quite raving, but takes a more English view of the matter, having started his cub reporting career with the Echo I think, in Middlesborough. Or maybe that was his second job – a real career newspaper man, knows how to do shorthand and everything.

    Of course, knowing someone personally is not quite the same as knowing what they are like in work. And all the changes and evil bosses there are in newspapers now, sometimes you can’t do anything about it. Anyway, even if he doesn’t get a chance to reply I know he’ll take your complaint on board.


    1. In fact, maybe you should have outright asked him to expose the SIU covert group – it likely would not get past the bosses but I’m sure he’d try, because it’s ‘news’.


  2. Cue letters of complaint from anonymous readers over an SiU witch-hunt, that’s one way to flush them out…🤣
    Well done anyhow whatever results, but an interesting suggestion by Contrary which might expose how far this seedy bunch have influence…


  3. It is worth noting that c 2015 when the owners of the Scotsman were considering putting it on the market and a Scandinavian businessman expressed an interest. He had also, it was reported, planned to instal Mr Alex Salmond as Editor-in Chief.

    Cue horror within the mediaVolk, including the NUJ. “This will destroy the BALANCE (sic) of views amongst the Scottish media,” they wailed.

    The statement was, of course, true – from their perspective. With a single exception, the Scottish media (other than independent sites like this) is raucously British Nationalist. Clearly, they could not have a second pro-independence blatt.

    As we see from Professor Robertson’s letter, the traditional balance is being maintained.

    Liked by 2 people

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