Crikey! I’d read that there’d been some contention about the way the BBC’s Kirsty Wark treated Scotland’s new First Minister, Alex Salmond, in a recent interview about his objections to a memorandum of understanding Mr Blair has recently signed with the Libyans about an exchange of each country’s nationals held in the other country’s prisons — of some relevance to the Scots, since the only Libyan national held in a Scots prison is Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. But now I’ve seen the interview, I’m not surprised people are a bit upset with the Beeb.
Apparently, while Mr Blair says the negotiations were nothing to do with Mr al Megrahi, the Libyans are saying, on the contrary, his case was the whole point of the agreement, at least as far as they’re concerned; and, as Mr Eugenides says, this raises the difficult question of whether we believe the British or the Libyan government — a question that shouldn’t be difficult to answer, but, unfortunately, is rather problematic after recent years.
Anyway, whatever the rights and wrongs of this, the BBC has apologised, rather half-heartedly, in my view, for the way Mr Salmond was treated by Ms Wark. I’m no great fan of most politicians, and certainly no great fan of Scottish Nationalism (unless they promise to take Mssrs Blair, Brown and Reid back home with them and never let them south of the border again, in which case by all means they can have their independence tomorrow, as far as I’m concerned). But this seems no way for a supposedly independent interviewer to behave, even though she is, apparently, in her private life a close friend of the outgoing Labour First Minister, Jack McConnell, and his wife. Take a look at the interview, via Beau Bo D’Or, and see what you make of it.
As Beau Bo D’Or suggests, while her colleague Jeremy Paxman gives politicians a hard time when he feels they’re not answering his questions, the problem here seemed to be that Mr Salmond was answering Ms Wark’s questions but she just didn’t like the answers she was getting. And as for her editor’s comment, in his sort-of-apology, that
the encounter was indeed intense and at times tetchy – Mr Salmond is always a robust and challenging interviewee,
all I can say is that only one person in that interview came over as ‘tetchy,’ and it wasn’t Mr Salmond.