Monday, February 8, 2010

Eleven years on from devolution, ITN can't distinguish between England and Britain

I happened to be half-watching the ITV News earlier this evening, and I caught the following line in relation to a health story - "Gordon Brown has promised one-to-one care for all 1.6 million patients in Britain". Now, I don't know anything about the details of this story, but I don't actually need to - ITN have got it wrong. For the story to be accurate, the Prime Minister would have to be proposing ripping up the Scotland Act, the Northern Ireland Act and the Government of Wales Act. Health in those three countries is a devolved matter and wholly outwith Gordon Brown's control - end of story.

But is this just a 'chippy Scot' point? Categorically not. We are now just two months at most away from the commencement of a general election campaign, during which the electorate will be relying on the media to play the vital role of cutting through the dubious claims of the political parties and providing accurate information upon which people can decide their vote. It's hardly going to assist the democratic process if the voters are led to believe it's somehow appropriate to take into account party pledges on the NHS that are utterly irrelevant in Scotland.

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