BBC Scotland was under fire again yesterday for failing to cover the weekend AUOB March for Independence in Perth which drew thousands of people to the Fair City.

And the march organiser said the broadcaster probably did not want to report on it because it had gone so well.

Neil MacKay told The National: “There’s a General Election in the offing and I think with the synergy between the SNP figures, councillors and group leaders, they [the BBC] didn’t want to admit the SNP seem to be gaining ground in Perthshire. It was such a decent turnout in decent weather combined with a prime location and that all aligned with SNP top brass in John Swinney and Pete Wishart to make a great impact.

“I would expect even just a few lines on the BBC, but it’s strange they said nothing.”

The National columnist Lesley Riddoch said she has lived near Perth for 25 years and could not remember a bigger gathering on the city’s streets.

“Despite the near certainty that more than 100,000 folk will turn out for the final scheduled march in Edinburgh next month, and even though it’s a perfectly-timed gift for news producers seeking visual ways to represent the Brexit-induced shift in Scottish public opinion – the same news blackout will probably occur,” she said.

A BBC Scotland spokesperson defended its non-coverage of the Perth event: “Many marches take place across the UK and the level of coverage will depend on a range of factors, including what other stories are on the news agenda at the time. We have covered many of the All Under One Banner marches in the past 18 months, including those in Aberdeen, Galashiels, Oban, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Inverness, and Dumfries.

“The ongoing debate about whether Scotland should be independent is an important story which is given coverage across our news output.”

Rival STV said it had covered the Perth march in its Saturday news output.

The dearth of coverage though was not the case in Wales, where more than 5000 took to the streets of Merthyr Tydfil under the AUOB Cymru banner. Their third event in Wales was reported by ITV Cymru, BBC Wales and Wales Online, as well as The National.

The best quote of the day came from former Welsh rugby international Eddie Butler, who said: “I am amazed and dismayed that our spirit of defiance has been confined to the sporting arena ... The United Kingdom that my parents were proud to identify with, no longer exists.”