According to The Sunday Herald, BBC chiefs in London have scrapped the idea of a Scottish Six. If true it’s a repeat of the slap in the face administered to Scotland in 1998 just after devolution.
Then we had genuine reporters and presenters who believed in themselves and their nation. Eight presenters of BBC Scotland current affairs programmes signed a letter in support of a Scottish Six. Can you imagine the current lot doing that?
There is a suggestion that the ‘leak’ to The Sunday Herald is in fact an attempt to manage expectations rather than a complete abandonment of the resurrected proposal. If true, then we’re going to get a half-arsed sop. Jackie Bird will introduce the international item then the usual network reporter will present his or her summary. They’ll just reshuffle the same news.
In short nothing will really change. London will still control news coverage out-with Scotland’s borders. The Pacific Quay crew will continue to indulge their obsession with ‘reports’ from independent think tanks and FOI requests from whoever wants to take a pop at a Scottish institution.
BBC chiefs in London have taken a political decision. Scotland cannot be allowed anything that remotely smacks of a devolved national broadcaster. The BBC is, after all, the broadcasting arm of the British state. Broadcasting entertains and informs, but it also conditions and influences. Scots who think for themselves might deviate from the message.
In terms of broadcasting, we’re a colony of England. There’s no contemporary Scottish drama to speak of. River City is now just Eastenders with a Scottish accent. Costume drama is imported from south of the border. We pay over £300 million per year for the TV licence but can’t afford a decent current affairs show.
London treats Scotland like shit because we have allowed it to. The people who in any other nation would have by now organised a campaign demanding reform of the BBC in Scotland have singularly failed to do so. The people that regularly attack the SNP for not being radical enough are happy to accept their BBC invites just so long as they don’t say anything radical.
This needs to change. If and when London formally announces its decision on the Scottish Six and it is as expected, then our media and cultural commentators should collectively issue their own announcement in the form of a complete boycott of BBC Scotland. Let London know that our independent journalists, writers, novelists, playwrights, actors and artists will not tolerate the situation any more.
Isolate the BBC in Scotland. Let it stagnate in the British National parochial pond of its own making. Leave it reliant on the David Cleggs, Katie Grants and Lyndsay McIntoshes of the Scottish political scene for its ‘impartial’ punditry. Deny it the cloak of respectability it obtains from the Macwhirters, Riddochs and Hassans.
Let it explain the absence of balance in its political output. Let it deal with the cascade of complaints that will result. Let the BBC know that we’ve had enough.
Alternatively do nothing. The BBC will come around … won’t it?
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