Good Morning Scotland and Gary Robertson are usually fair but hard-hitting over the independence debate. But this interview fell short, and the failure I suspect was in editorial decision. At every stage this morning at various times, GMS delivered airtime to Vince Cable's claims virtually unchallenged but attacked the SNP rebuttal in a simplistic and inappropriate manner
When Cable was interviewed he was allowed to make his claims without being asked to justify them in any way. In marked contrast, Fergus Ewing – in marked contrast - was repeatedly asked for the exact cost of regulation in an independent Scotland, with Gary Robertson using the interview technique of the 'broken record', repeated question. Now this approach is valid if the interviewee is evading an answer, but consider the timescale and dynamics of this situation -
1. Regulation at every level in UK has failed spectacularly since the millennium - in banking, in the Press, police regulation, child abuse, NHS Trusts, Parliamentary expenses, etc. Major regulatory bodies have either been replaced completely or their heads forced to resign. This was virtually ignored.
2. Vince Cable is a Government Minister with all the current facts and costs of regulation, and a full knowledge of its failure. He was asked about none of these things.
3. Fergus Ewing is a Minister in a devolved government, over 14 months away from a referendum and the commencement of an 18 month complex negotiation on every aspect of government and the break-up of the UK. Scotland will achieve its independence in March of 2016, more than two and a half years from now on the conclusion of these negotiations. The SNP then has to prepare a manifesto for government and fight an election, together with all the other Scottish parties.
To ask Fergus Ewing to predict the exact cost of regulation under these circumstance is asinine and beggars belief, and Good Morning Scotland, Gary Robertson and the BBC should know better.