YOUR article (SNP calls for fairer show on BBC Question Time), published on Sunday, December 9, requires correction and clarification on a number of points.

Since the General Election of June 2017, the SNP has been represented on 10 of the 57 Question Time programmes that have been broadcast, to December 2018. That equates to an appearance rate of 18%. The LibDems have appeared on 7, an appearance rate of 10%. The latter, clearly, does not outweigh the former.

Further, it is claimed in the article that Ukip appeared in one in four programmes between 2010 and 2017. That is not correct. The average appearance of Ukip on Question Time across these years is not 25%. It is 16%.

It is correct to say that in the years where UKIP recorded particular election successes, due account was taken of that in terms of invitations to appear on the programme, following, for example, their performance in the 2014 European Election (in that year they appeared in 9 of 36 programmes) and in the UK General Election the following year (where they appeared in 13 of 41 programmes). In the last two years they have appeared seven times, out of 80 programmes, with only one appearance in 2018.

READ KEITH BROWN'S RESPONSE: BBC should answer our questions – not dismiss complaints

The pattern of Ukip appearances on the programme demonstrates the key criteria around Question Time panel selection, based on news values, topicality and electoral performance.

The claim is also made that the programme is concentrated in and around London. It is not. The decision on locations is based on population size. In this calendar year alone, Question Time has visited the Greater London area on 6 of its 39 programmes. That represents 15% of the entire 2018 run. London is home to 15% of the UK population. The programme has also been in Scotland 3 times this year: of 39 editions, that represents 8%. Scotland is home to 8% of the UK population.

Finally, the accusation that BBC manipulated audience selection in Dundee in 2016 is baseless and has no foundation in fact.
Ian Small
Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs
BBC Scotland


UK Government has blood on its hands for selling Turkey military know-how and weapons​

ON Friday we woke to the news that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces had captured the last town held by Daesh in Syria. It should have been welcome, but our immediate concern was that now the Kurds have achieved this mission, the rest of the world will decide they have no need of them and abandon them to their fate.

With Turkey threatening to invade across the Euphrates into the Kurdish areas of Syria – and already carrying out bomb attacks here and in Kurdish areas of Iraq – the prospects look grim. The Kurds are brave fighters but they have no air force and cannot resist the second biggest army in Nato. Are we to see an extension of the Turkish invasion of Afrîn, where Turkey drove out a peaceful democratic society to replace them with jihadi gangs and a regime of terror and oppression, or will the world wake up and show Turkish President Erdogan that he can no longer act with impunity?

Our own UK Government has blood on its hands for selling Turkey military know-how and weapons (including weapons made in Scotland). The EU has blood on its hands for paying Turkey large sums to keep refugees out of Europe. All those who perpetuate the fiction that the Kurds – who are fighting against oppression and creating a model of multi-ethnic, feminist, grass-roots democracy – are terrorists, while ignoring the terrorism committed daily by the Turkish state, are complicit in undermining a beacon of hope for the Middle East and the whole world.
Sarah Glynn and Roza Salih
Dundee and Glasgow

I READ somewhere that among others one of the titles Edward The Longshanks was known as was The Lawmaker for his fondness of tearing up the rule books and writing laws as he saw fit.

It seems England and its rulers have not changed one iota. For the Scottish Continuity Bill to go to the “Supreme” Court only for the laws to be changed to suit England in the meantime and sanctioned by the Queen herself shows that our adversaries truly do hold all the cards. The ever loyal BBC aired Fluffy Mundell quotes and the media followed suit proclaiming Scotland humiliated while never quite explaining any single detail as to why. The sole exception of output being the hugely impressive Mike Russell tearing through a Sky News anchor, though is it not odd how hard it is to find that clip outside The National online?

What can we take from this? That our rulers do not give a solitary sh*t about our laws, our customs, our wellbeing, our democratic rights or our Parliament? This has been proven again and again.

That the true dishonour and utter lack of integrity the Tories possess will NEVER be highlighted by the BBC? We knew that also.

That the Queen is far from silent, far from powerless and in no way whatsoever impartial? Ditto.

No, what I have taken from this is that along with all this, once again Scotland has been sold a dummy. We play by English rules until we start to gain an edge and the rules are changed to ensure we remain on our knees.

It is time for Scotland and its representatives to take the initiative, unleash the Yes Movement and give the people focus. The No campaign has never stopped and even with one eye on Brexit this seemingly ace card has been trumped by lawmaker England once again.

And the Supreme Court? Am I alone in believing they may go against ministers, they may go against governments but at the end of the day they will tug the forelock to that ancient, monstrous, royal tradition? Somehow, I doubt I am.

Bring on that long dreamt of Scottish Republic. This latest slap to the face will go unnoticed by the loyal, sleepwalking Unionists out there. We need to wake them up and show them the reality of their situation because their State Media never shall.
RJ Bulloch

I HAVE to add my concern as others have about the SNP getting involved directly in trying to stop Brexit.

I know it’s becoming a hackneyed quote now but Napoleon’s comment “never interfere with an enemy when he is making a mistake” rarely is more apt than now. The Machiavellian manoeuvring within the Tory Party and the stunned ineptitude of the Labour “opposition” is tearing the British state apart. Surely we want the break up of the British state – not to save it! Why should we be inclined to even consider stepping in to help save it? Let them hang themselves. They have done us no favours, they will do us no favours. Even if we help save them, they’ll still insist we get back in our box and shut up except when they need us.

So let them swill in their mire and backstabbing, in this mess of their own making, and us work to increase support for independence. Surely they are doing us a huge favour by showing how bankrupt, dysfunctional and what a spent force beset by narrow right-wing nationalism and xenophobia the British state is. This mess adds hugely to our argument for independence! We don’t want to be part of trying to stick a political sticking plaster on what is a severe, putrid and festering wound that can only spread a nasty infection!
Crìsdean Mac Fhearghais
Dùn Eideann

NO 10 in chaos? No, surely not! The siren voices about chaos at the heart of government at Westminster are misplaced. Westminster might be in chaos, but the May Government is in a dwam.

It seems that Theresa May returned to Brussels with no actual detailed proposals. Angela Merkel interrupted several times to ask what it was the UK Government was proposing. Juncker stated it was not up to the EU to propose solutions to placate the House of Commons and Theresa May’s party. There is no guarantee that it would be accepted in another vote.

Therein lies the problem. Theresa May in the first flush of hubris refused to consult within Parliament, across parties and kept everything secret so as not to reveal her hand to the “enemy” aka the EU. Her red lines boxed her in and her inner EU War Cabinet did not send the right signal either.

So to some extent the EU seem tired with Anglo-EU relations. One must use the term Anglo- and not Brito- as Westminster uses the term to underscore that it holds the other nations of the UK in contempt.

So it really amounts to this. The EU are scunnered with the machinations of Perfidious Angleterre. The boasting by David Davis of confusing the earlier discussions through “constructive ambiguity” did not set a good tone either.

Angela Merkel stated that when they signed off the deal it was to put the lid on it. Well, the lid is tightly shut on the agreed deal in Brussels.

It is time for the people in these islands to enact a new referendum and make its voice clear with one proviso. The nations which vote to remain remain and those which vote to leave can leave.

Home Rule all round!
John Edgar

Negative attitudes towards disabled children and their families are a blight on our society that needs to be challenged.

I’m encouraging my neighbours to sign up to the charity Scope’s campaign on this issue.

Three quarters of parents of disabled children across the country say they have experienced negative comments from the public when they go out with their child. Negative attitudes and inadequate support leave families feeling judged and isolated.

My son Ethan is five and we have experienced negativity at some level regularly in this time. From his diagnosis at birth where the doctor seemed desperate to tell my wife the “bad” news to people looking at us as I wrestle with Ethan during a very public meltdown as he doesn’t want to walk, people look at us with pity and believe me we notice. No one blinks an eyelid when Ethan behaves or other kids have meltdowns.

Now is the time for a new Minister for Disabled Children and their families who can lead government thinking in how to tackle negative attitudes.

People can support the campaign by signing a petition or donating on Scope’s website.
Steven Rowan

I READ with interest Kirsteen Paterson’s report (Swinney hits out after Fife Council moves to scrap primary test, December 14). It would appear that Fife Council is prepared to use P1 pupils as footballs in their political campaign to thwart any new proposals brought forward by the Scottish Government. Sadly Willie Rennie’s contribution tends to reinforce that view.

Perhaps John Swinney should provide additional cash to those councils who take up the challenge and in addition have the effect of the changes monitored.

Those councils who do not want to embrace change and bury their heads in the sand will have to answer to their constituents at the next election. Unfortunately those children who are excluded will have missed their chance which will have gone forever.
Thomas L Inglis