Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 9 November 2003

Holyrood Inquiry - the BBC says it will re-consider its refusal to release tapes

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader John Swinney has written to the BBC with a formal request that it release tapes recorded for a documentary on the "devolution project", which included interviews with the late of Donald Dewar and the late Senor Morales, the architect of the project which won the design contest for the new Scottish Parliament building. Because these two gentlemen are no longer available to be called to give evidence before the Inquiry, it seems very reasonable to me (and indeed necessary) for the BBC to comply with the request by the Fraser Inquiry to release the tapes. In his letter, Mr Swinney wrote:


"... allow the people of Scotland to see the whole truth about the Holyrood scandal"

"I have asked that this whole affair be drawn to the attention of the BBC Board of Governors and am pleased that having considered it, they now feel they have to formally examine the decision to withhold the tapes."
and
"This issue has dragged on for too long. It's time for the BBC to recognise that it has to release the tapes and allow the people of Scotland to see the whole truth about the Holyrood scandal."

Quite!

BBC National Governor Sir Robert Smith has now written to Mr Swinney in response:


Will the BBC accede, or continue to stonewall?

"Once the governors have considered this matter in detail, I shall be in a position to respond to you formally on their behalf."

My usual instinct would be to uphold the right of the BBC to refuse to divulge these tapes, but in this instance I have no doubt that the public good will be far better served (and the BBC is a public corporation!) for these tapes to be handed over, and quickly.

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