A YEAR to the day since he first complained to the broadcasting watchdog about a BBC Radio 4 interview with former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Ruth Davidson, a reader of The National is still awaiting an answer from Ofcom.

And in a letter to them on the anniversary yesterday – complete with a transcript of the 12-minute programme segment – John Parker said their delayed response continued to be “deeply tedious and frustrating”.

He took exception to The World at One (Wato) broadcast last February 24, when Davidson was interviewed at length on the anticipated appearance of former first minister Alex Salmond at the committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment allegations against him – of which he was subsequently cleared.

Although Salmond’s appearance was postponed, the lengthy programme segment continued, with contributions from then BBC Scotland editor Sarah Smith and political correspondent Nick Eardley, preceding Davidson’s appearance.

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She told the programme there were questions about whether Scotland’s democratic institutions were corrupt – a claim that was made over five  minutes and went unchallenged.

Parker, who is English but a long-time resident of Wales, told Ofcom he had looked at their website every fortnight since he first complained.

“Apart from one brief glimmer on 11 Oct 2021 when it was reported that an investigation had been launched, there has been nothing. It has been, and continues to be, deeply tedious and frustrating for me,” he said.

“I can't know why it is taking so long to process my complaint. But whatever the reason, It's hard to believe it's because the issue is overly complex … Some five minutes was given over to Ruth Davidson making unsubstantiated insinuations of corruption in the SNP government.”

Davidson told the programme: “This has now got to the structure of democracy in Scotland and whether our institutions are robust or whether they have been corrupted … we have real question marks now over the Scottish Government, we have real question marks over officialdom in Scotland, that's the civil servants, we have real question marks now about the Crown in Scotland, which is the supposedly independent prosecution service in Scotland … so this is absolutely striking at the heart of how Scotland is governed …”

Parker said Smith then appeared discussing Salmond’s complaints and cover-up allegations: “Despite the BBC complaints people telling me she was brought on ‘so that she could put Ruth Davidson’s interview in the correct context and give more information regarding the SNP view on this’ it is plain that throughout her segment, there was no attempt whatever to address the SNP government's perspective.

“And in fact no attempt anywhere at all in the whole 12 minutes. I attach my transcription of the segment, and will send you an mp3.”

He said the report went out weeks before the Scottish Parliamentary elections, while the BBC guidelines stated: “Special considerations apply during the campaign periods for elections and referendums (as well as the run-up to campaign periods in some cases), involving greater sensitivity with regard to due impartiality in all output genres’.

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“Bearing in mind that the uncontested insinuations  included allegations of institutional corruption and misleading parliament – a resigning offence – how much is there really to consider?”

BBC complaints go through the broadcaster’s own processes and Parker’s was rejected at every level. However, it appears that only now has Ofcom taken it to their specialist team.

A spokesperson told us: “Thanks for this. I have shared it with our Standards team. The investigation is ongoing.”