SNP 'about silencing freedom of speech' claims Neil Oliver
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Many are eagerly awaiting the launch of GB News, set to take place on June 13. A wide array of hosts have been recruited from some of the country’s biggest broadcasters including the BBC and ITV. Last month, the BBC’s veteran presenter of a string of history shows, Mr Oliver, was announced as having joined the lineup.
The archaeologist and historian has become a central voice in Scottish politics and, like Andrew Neil who he will work alongside, is a fierce critic of Nicola Sturgeon.
He has previously accused the Scottish First Minister of “making a fool of Scotland” and said she had made him “sick to my stomach”.
He once told the East Anglian Daily Times (EADT) he believed a lot was to be learned from Britain’s history in considering things like independence.
In an interview shortly after the publication of his 2018 book, ‘The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places’, Mr Oliver talked of how history has much to teach us in modern day crises.
He said: “Without history, what’s happening now can feel like the end of the world and you might think Britain might cease to exist or the world will change radically, which it might. But Britain’s a resilient place…”
He talked of history being viewed as the lifetime of a person, and that people today are the children of this person, in this case, the British Isles.
This was vital to understanding how interwoven the devolved nations are, he argued, and explained: “More and more we dare to patronise the place, treat the person like a doddery old soul who cannot cope alone, who might even need to be taken into care.
“To me, the truth is altogether different. This place, these islands have taken care of us since a time beyond the reach of memory. Treated properly, they will continue to do so.
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“The story of the British Isles is a textbook of wisdom, lessons learned from triumph and disaster.
“Woven through the fabric of these islands is a story like no other. We should be proud. More than that we should show some respect. Whatever the future holds, the instruction manual for how to cope with any and every eventuality is already in our hands and in the ground beneath our feet.
“The story of the British Isles is one every single one of us should know and give thanks for.”
It appears Ms Sturgeon has not listened to the advice of Mr Oliver and others, as she announced this week that her Scottish National Party (SNP) had entered into formal talks with the Scottish Greens over collaboration on policy areas.
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The Greens are also pro-independence, and the only other main party to support a breakaway.
Mr Oliver hasn’t been afraid to specifically call Ms Sturgeon out on more recent occasions.
In a column for The Sunday Times earlier this year, he wrote: “Every day Sturgeon stands at her podium and performs her greatest hits — about how hard she and her team are working, how much she cares, that she won’t be answering that question now — and there is an audience somewhere holding aloft its lighters and singing along.
“For the rest of the population it is a shaming spectacle.
“For many Scots the SNP has made a fool of Scotland.”
Mr Oliver’s words echo those of his new colleague Mr Neil, who chairs GB News.
The Scotsman has, since leaving the BBC in 2020, made his opposition to, and opinion of, Ms Sturgeon crystal clear.
Writing in the MailOnline shortly after his departure from the broadcaster, he said the SNP had left Scotland “stagnating in mediocrity”.
He continued: “It has hardly been a success. As a result of this remorseless expansion by the state, Scotland is now one of the most over-governed, bureaucratised countries in the Western world.
“SNP governance has disappointed in many respects but perhaps most of all in education, for which Scotland used to be world famous.
“For a long time, Scotland had a proud tradition of social mobility, where high standards and expectations in schools helped to ensure that bright but poor kids could overcome the disadvantages of their backgrounds.”
He added that he believed devolution had been a “huge disappointment,” and that Edinburgh had “built something close to a one-party state”.
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