Kenny MacAskill: Alba MP says Scots are ‘scunnered’ by BBC Euro 2020 pundits’ repeated mention of Paul Gascgoine’s 1996 goal against Scotland
Kenny MacAskill has called for a Scottish-controlled arm of the BBC, after claiming Scots were “sick of the constant mentions” of Paul Gascoigne’s Euro ‘96 goal against Scotland during the broadcaster’s recent football coverage.
The East Lothian MP, who defected to Alba from the SNP earlier this year, spoke out after the Beeb showed archive footage of the famous strike as part of its coverage ahead of Scotland’s Euro 2020 clash with England at Wembley on Friday.
Gascoigne’s wondergoal, which secured a 2-0 victory for England and knocked Scotland out of the tournament, preceded the notorious “dentist’s chair” celebration.
Mr MacAskill complained to the Scottish Sun: “Scots are scunnered with Euro commentators’ endless mentioning of the glories of ’66 and Gazza’s goal.”
He suggested BBC Scotland should be able to ‘opt out’ of wider BBC sports output, covering matches separately with Scottish commentary and a “panel in Glasgow”.
“We wouldn’t have to have all Scottish pundits but it would mean that Scots don’t have to listen to commentators making constant reference to things like Gazza’s goal,” he said.
‘See the world through a Scottish lens’
Praising RTE - the Republic of Ireland’s national broadcaster - for its distinct coverage, the 63-year-old said: “RTE covers every game with an Irish commentator. It would be something like that.”
Scotland’s nil-all draw against the Auld Enemy was shown on STV, which opted to use a separate team of commentators and pitch-side panel from ITV’s coverage of the match.
"The need to see the world through a Scottish lens is clear,” Mr MacAskill said, “it’s time the Scottish Government spoke out rather than standing on the sidelines.”
His complaint comes despite the BBC One’s coverage of Scotland v Czech Republic being anchored by an all Scottish team, with commentators Rob Maclean and James McFadden working alongside presenter Eilidh Barbour and studio pundits Darren Fletcher, Shelley Kerr and Kenny McLean.
‘Broadcasting is a reserved matter’
Last week, Mr MacAskill tabled a written question in the House of Commons to UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, asking whether the Scottish Government had ever requested “the devolution of powers in whole or in part over broadcasting”.
In a response from Culture Minister John Whittingdale, the UK Government confirmed it had not received such a request.
Mr Whittingdale added: “The UK government is committed to showcasing the importance of the UK’s broadcasters as part of a stronger, global Britain.
“Broadcasting is a reserved matter and there are a number of well-established structures in place such as the Advisory Committee for Scotland, which ensures that Ofcom, the UK’s independent communications regulator which regulates UK broadcasting, takes into account the interests and views of people living in Scotland.”
The Scottish Government said it believes “control of the budget and editorial policy of the BBC for Scotland should sit in Scotland”.
A spokesperson added: “While the Scottish Government strongly supports the public service broadcasting system, it has long argued the BBC’s output for Scotland should be decided in Scotland so audiences get the service best suited to them.”
The BBC was contacted for comment by The Scotsman.