Is the SNP’s latest European Election Broadcast even legal? #indyref

Last week, the SNP’s first broadcast for the European Elections was broadcast. It bore a remarkable similarity to the broadcasts that they have been putting out since the end of last year which were all aimed at persuading people to vote Yes in the independence referendum. It interspersed colourful footage of children talking about how wonderful and independent Scotland with black and white starkness portraying a vision of hellish Westminster rule.

George Lyon, Scotland’s Liberal Democrat MEP questioned why they would put out a broadcast which, in a 420 word script, mentioned independence 4 times and Europe, er, not even once. It wasn’t even hinted at. He said:

Alex Salmond is happy to talk about Scotland when he is in Europe but he does not seem to want to talk about Europe when he is in Scotland. I am sure that those who watched the broadcast for the EU elections will be puzzled about why the SNP can’t bring themselves to stop talking about independence and start talking about Europe.

Whether we are talking about the Scottish jobs our place in the EU supports, the environment or fighting cross-border crime it is clear we can achieve more when we work together. That is why Liberal Democrats are making the positive case for Scotland remaining in Britain and in Europe.

Party broadcasts are the traditional way for parties to set out their stall ahead of elections. With polling day at the European Elections less than one month away, the missing word from the SNP’s broadcast was ‘Europe’.

But I’m wondering if George hasn’t missed something here. Political broadcasts are strictly regulated here. The main parties get 3 each for the European elections and there will be a different allocation for the independence referendum later this year. By doing a referendum broadcast in the European elections, are they not giving themselves another bite at the cherry.

Let’s see what the Ofcom guidance on Party Political Broadcasts has to say. Well, section 18 is pretty unequivocal.

The purpose of a PEB must not be to promote any particular outcome of a referendum.

A direct quote from the broadcast:

When 18th September arrives, please vote yes for Scotland, for yourself and for your children’s future.

I’d say the evidence that this does not comply with Ofcom’s guidance is pretty clear. I wonder what the Electoral Commission would have to say about it.

Now, the SNP’s main focus is on independence. Of course it is. It’s who they are. I don’t have an issue with that. I do, however, have a problem with them not playing by the rules. They’ve effectively given themselves a extra bite at the referendum cherry. The imbalance needs to be redressed.

 

Advertisements

About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
This entry was posted in Op-Eds. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Is the SNP’s latest European Election Broadcast even legal? #indyref

  1. Have you watched the Scottish Labour Party Election broadcast for the EU? It also doesn’t mention the EU once and is in effect a simple election broadcast for the Scottish Labour party. Am just wondering if both of these are mistakes and if so who’s mistake?

    Like

  2. Hen Broon says:

    Yawn. Breaking news bear shits in forest, as Pope declares he is Catholic.

    Like

  3. Jeremy says:

    But — and no doubt I’m being naive — shouldn’t they play by the rules, even so? Or are they too grand?

    Like

  4. Charlie says:

    They have broke the rules and shouldn’t be allowed another one except for referendum

    Like

  5. Andrew says:

    Yes, it is legal. Just as legal as Conservative leaflets in Scotland that include ‘Vote No to Independence.
    A feeble distraction from the real argument. That no WM based party looks after Scottish interests in Europe. Our farmers get the lowest subsidy in the UK, our fisheries are used as a bargaining tool for London interests.
    Lest we forget, Westminster actually gave Norway UK (Scottish) territorial waters containing large amounts of oil BY MISTAKE!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s