For years now, we’ve seen BBC Scotland and the rest of the press pack in regular feeding frenzies when their opposition party feeders set them off in pursuit of SNP health ministers.
Due to the wider competence of the Scottish Government, Education and Health, being infinitely improvable areas, have become the chosen battlegrounds for a form of proxy war against the SNP.
Due to the mass popular interest in health issues and the fact that no matter how well you do, you could always do better, there have been repeated and extended ‘campaigns’ to unseat two health secretaries. Both objectively far more competent than their equivalents in England, have suffered accusations of personal responsibility for single deaths in a mental health unit (Robison) and a single child in a Glasgow hospital.
No English or Welsh health minister has ever been accused of such failures despite mass hospital deaths of babies in more than one NHS Trust.
The hyena pack has been successful. The current health secretary will retire this year after suffering a sustained assault, presenting her as the face of any imagined failure from building delays and faults to, also imagined, mass infection outbreaks. The previous health secretary, Robison, suffered similar pressure accusing her of the failures of others such as health board managers and then resigned due to understandable health concerns of her own.
Also, in Scotland only, the First Minister will be drawn into any controversy.
Today, we see BBC N Ireland operates in ways similar to BBC Wales and England but quite unlike BBC Scotland.
The headline reports ‘severe pressure’, 17 ambulances queuing and waits of more than 12 hours! Who is to blame? No one. Who is accused? No one.
‘The Trust’ and a ‘medical director’ explain what happened and right at the end we hear:
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said Sinn Féin “will support any proposals brought forward by the health minister to tackle the current situation.”
Can you imagine Nicola Sturgeon or John Swinney getting off with that? Are BBC N Ireland staff afraid of her?
Wait, they must have a health minister. Ah, it’s Robin Swann, Ulster Unionist Party. BBC accuses Unionist? Maybe not.