The Radio Times was funded by the licence fee until the government sold it in 2011. We don’t remember receiving a cheque for our share. The extract below is from a feature about William Wallace in this week’s edition.
Let’s read that carefully. “Braveheart” has allegedly been “a gift to Alex Salmond and the SNP”. In what context? The context of “fuelling anti-English sentiment”. There’s no mention of winning elections, no mention of making people feel more positive about Scotland, no ambiguity whatsoever – the specific end to which the film has served the SNP, according to Dr Watson, is “the justification of anti-English sentiment”, and the associated perpetrating of violent assaults on young children.
We’ll run that past you again – the SNP love “Braveheart” because it helps them in their cynical aim of fostering xenophobia and getting little kids beaten up.
(If you think we’re being over-sensitive, ask yourself what the first two sentences are doing in that paragraph. Why are the SNP being involved in a question expressly about “anti-English sentiment” at all if they’re not being accused of it?
After we initially drew attention to this story, an alert reader commented that we weren’t in fact the first to notice it, and that Dr Watson claims to have been severely misrepresented by the Radio Times.
“I entirely agree that this will give an impression in these ‘interesting times’ that I said something that I didn’t. I will see how National Geographic reacts. But feel free to state categorically that, while I did make a comment on anti-English sentiment generally, particularly in relation to the 2006 world cup, I most certainly did not refer to the SNP government, which came out with statements condemning the actions of those few.”
We can only speculate as to why this august organ of the British state would wish to put words in a respected historian’s mouth attacking the SNP and implicating them in sickening racist violence when she had said no such thing. (Ironically under the banner of an article claiming to “separate fact from fiction”.)
But rest assured we’ll be asking them, and we’ll also be asking the Scottish media whether they’ll be troubling themselves to report this rather serious slur on the reputations of Alex Salmond, the entire SNP and a senior academic from a Scottish university in front of millions of readers, given their enthusiasm for spewing column inches about slightly intemperate private remarks by SNP council-election candidates.