August 13, 2007

Scotland to get regional news service (another one)?

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Scotland has always insisted on doing things its own way, bless it. Even before they got their own Parliament the education system was different from the rest of Britain’s. And animal welfare folks were clearly unhappy to consort with the royalists in the RSPCA when they created their own SSPCA.

As an Englishman with Scottish blood and a sense that we should all just get along, this type of thing irritates me. I was in the Highlands last week – sans internet, hence this belated blog. On Monday I was happily watching Newsnight when at 11 they suddenly went to “Newsnight Scotland”. ‘ckin ‘ell, I thought, as if they don’t get enough regional news in their regional news bulletins, they have to commandeer Newsnight too, with their pointless local stories.

My outrage promptly quadrupled when their main story somewhat ironically turned out to be a call by Alex Salmond for Scotland to take a bigger slice of the licence fee, set up its own broadcasting corporation and do its own news. This is a joke, right? Did he not do some basic research before he started mouthing off and actually watch the TV?

What possible use could there be for a Scots-only Six O’Clock News, followed by the exisiting Reporting Scotland? How could these extra resources possibly improve on Scotland’s current news provision, Newsnight Scotland and all? And where does the Scottish mafia that’s supposedly running the corporation fit into all this?

Scotland Minister David Cairns put it well:

Denying Scots access to the world’s most respected broadcaster by creating a parochial and narrow Scottish Broadcasting Corporation is a backward-looking proposal which will command little public support.

I don’t believe Salmond is thick enough to sincerely believe Scots really need a new news source. Tellingly, the First Minister wants Holyrood – under his control (just) since May, of course – to be in charge of the proposed “SBC”. Presumably, the idea would be to fill the headlines with pro-independence propaganda in the run-up to a referendum.

By all means, Mr Salmond, should the Scots vote for secession, you can go ahead and accessorise your tinpot dictatorship with an uncritical state TV station, but as long as you’re still part of Britain, you’re having the BBC.

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Louise

    I am becoming depressingly aware that many commentators on the direction taken, or yet to be pursued by Alex Salmond, are obviously taking all of their insightful research from The Scotsman newspaper; and whilst now stating views on a Scottish media are themselves displaying a limited understanding from limited sources.
    Should you read other Scottish publications and visit other websites you will soon realise that your fears of Alex Salmond using the media to further a separatist agenda are unfounded as such independence it now seems would be his worst nightmare come true.
    Please update your research techniques.
    With best wishes.

    15 Aug 2007, 01:56

  2. Nah, the BBC’s all I need. It’s impartial, you see.

    15 Aug 2007, 14:52

  3. robert Beveridge

    scotland to get another regional news service says it all.
    Scotland is a nation – not a region

    we have the united kingdoms plural not the UK and as Britain evolves into a federal state -with devolution, we need more and better news which is relevant to and for the viewers and listeners. So scottish broadcasting needs to be just that and that is an end of it


    04 Oct 2007, 11:57

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