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)