So now we know that there will be no new prime time Scottish based news programme on BBC Scotland.
The Scottish Six is as dead as a dodo.
The official BBC statement said: “The BBC looked at the option of a Scottish Six, but we believe that there is no significant Scotland vs. UK gap in appreciation for the Six o’clock News or 6.30pm news programme.”
I’ve no idea what the statement above means. Except that our prime-time daily news will continue to be provided by Good Morning Scotland, Newsdrive and Reporting Scotland. Our current affairs will be provided by … well whatever passes for a current affairs programme on BBC Scotland. Does Timeline count?
The announcement of a new channel for Scotland is good news for the people who’ll earn a decent living from that channel. There are apparently eighty new journalist positions. There’s £19m available to pay their wages.
How many ordinary viewers will be search out this new channel when it airs? Few I’d hazard. They might search out a new drama if word gets out its good, but aside from that the channel won’t compete with BBC One Scotland for viewers.
It’s a sop of course. The issue isn’t about new drama or jobs for journalists but control over prime time news output. It’s about maintaining influence over those who would have benefited from a Scottish Six.
The official statement from the BBC released today began with the following sentences.
“The BBC needs to reflect the UK and the people it serves. The new Charter emphasises the importance of this.”
That’s what today’s announcement was all about. It wasn’t about reflecting Scotland but reflecting [protecting] the UK.
A Scottish Six threatened to emancipate Scottish news. Notwithstanding the institutionalised corruption that pervades Pacific Quay, anything that watered down the parochial melodrama that accompanied political items had to be a good thing. Instead of regular SNP Bad headlines we’d have ‘Trump Bad’, ‘Putin Bad’ or even ‘Farage Bad’.
Sadly we’re stuck with Jackie Bird and Brian Taylor warning about an NHS Crisis, an SNP ‘U-turn’ or telling us how poor some Scottish institution is when compared to its southern counterpart. We’re stuck with fitba and murder and Freedom of Information requests.
In his own statement today, BBC Director General Tony Hall said: “We know that viewers in Scotland love BBC television, but we also know that they want us to better reflect their lives and better reflect modern Scotland. It is vital that we get this right. The best way of achieving that is a dedicated channel for Scotland.”
I don’t know where Hall gets the idea that BBC Scotland is loved. There is a significant chunk of the Scottish population who loathe the broadcaster. When I say loathe, I mean truly hate it and would see it gone.
The best way to reflecting a modern Scotland is having our own national broadcaster, not by shunting news, drama and current affairs into a digital no-man’s land.
The BBC believes it has answered the ‘Scottish Question’ for another twenty years. Hall has deigned to visit, given his speech and left the shiny beads for the natives. Question is … are we still buying … or is it time to cancel the direct debit?
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