East Lothian Courier – 31 May 2021


Josh Taylor’s fantastic victory was rightly celebrated in the Pans and across the county. He’s done outstandingly well and it’s taken sacrifice and dedication. I’ve followed his career since his first efforts in an East Edinburgh gym, through his Commonwealth Gold success, to this global victory.

It was a great pity though that of us most weren’t able to watch his title fight live or even see the run up to it and follow the aftermath. TV coverage especially from BBC Scotland, as a supposed national channel was lamentable, and other terrestrial channels were likewise.

His victory across all four belts was the first by any UK boxer but you’d hardly have known that by the reporting. It’s just not good enough. He’s an inspiration to many and international sporting success has been limited in Scotland, despite recent successes by the national football and rugby teams and some individual efforts in other sports.

If he had been an Irish boxer RTE and even other channels would have been glued not just to the bout but the build up. Other small nations likewise seek to bask in the sporting success of their sons or daughters. The BBC have rightly been condemned for Martin Bashirs actions relating to Princess Diana. But there’s a deeper issue about any coverage from Scotland. That applies to other channels but especially them as they masquerade as the national one. Josh Taylor and Scotland were let down by their coverage.

Less anyone thinks I’m getting at the press I participated in the debate at Westminster on World Press Freedom Day. A free press is vital to democracy and many journalists have and are suffering. They need protection and that includes bloggers and social media now, as well as the mainstream press.

Protections have to be given to those reporting without fear or favour and that includes in Scotland where some recent actions by the Crown Office have been deeply concerning. It’s simply wrong to have the Scottish Governments senior legal advisor, also acting as head of the prosecution service. That needs to change and fast..