The SNP has been accused of “Trumpian tactics” amid claims it has lampooned Nicola Sturgeon’s biographer and journalist David Torrance in a party political broadcast.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh Western, has written to Ofcom to complain about the content of the broadcast which was unveiled by the SNP last night.
The PPB, which was shown on both the BBC and STV, is a riff on the Monty Python sketch ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ and shows a contrarian at a house party called ‘Davey’ who poses the titular question about the SNP’s record and is swiftly shouted down by his fellow guests.
Davey is later seen being left alone at the party, before he is accosted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and humiliated by a can of beer spraying in his face.
A similar PPB, ‘What has the Scottish Government ever done for us?’ was broadcast by the SNP in the lead up to the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, though that took place in a pub.
Like Mr Torrance, the Davey character has a beard and see-through framed glasses.
Mr Torrance is a prominent journalist who is unafraid to criticise the SNP. As well as his biography of Ms Sturgeon, he has also written an unauthorised version of Alex Salmond’s life story.
The MSP wrote to Ofcom to complain that Mr Torrance was ‘lampooned’ in the video, and said that the PPB made a number of inaccurate claims about the SNP’s record, lauding achievements that were actually introduced by the Labour/Lib Dem coalition of 1999-2007.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “It’s a worrying development when a governing party use Trumpian tactics to ridicule prominent journalists who rightly scrutinise both their achievements in office, and their lack thereof, and challenge the case for independence.
“The policy of free personal care for the elderly was brought in five years before the SNP took office, in 2002.
“I believe that it is inappropriate and wilfully misleading for a government to claim credit for the achievements of others to bolster its record after 10 years of office and to use a free broadcast on public service television to do so.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament accusing the SNP appearing to mock a journalist and inviting its supporters to do so.
Mr Torrance said: “Surely the SNP are not so insecure and puerile as to purposely parody a certain political commentator. Surely they are above that kind of thing. The real David Torrance would have been a much more effective contrarian and would have pointed out that some of these things owed rather more to previous administrations than the SNP.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “As the party broadcast demonstrates, the SNP have worked hard to deliver for the people of Scotland – meanwhile the few remaining Lib Dems devote their time to conspiracies theories such as this.
“David Torrance is not the only person in the country with a beard and hipster glasses.”