2007 - 2021

BBC Scotland is a Showstopper

There’s much to be celebrated in todays announcement from the BBC about a dedicated channel BBC Scotland: “Compared to 2015/16, this means we will be spending around £20m extra, per year, over the three years to March 2019.”

The statement announces the ‘Biggest BBC investment in Scotland in twenty years’ adding ‘From Autumn 2018, the BBC will be broadcasting a new TV channel – BBC Scotland. We will invest £19m in the channel and in digital developments. We are also putting another £1.2 million into BBC Alba – which takes the total new commitment to services for Scotland – in Scotland – to £20 million.’

This is significant, welcome and not to be underestimated. The Herald’s David Leask commented: “Fantastic news for scrutinising powers in Scotland: BBC to launch its own Scottish channel with hour-long bulletin.”

It’s difficult for critics to reject what is an attempt to reinvigorate a beleaguered and under-funded BBC Scotland. The new channel, BBC Scotland, will we’re told:

  • Broadcast from 7pm every evening;
  • Provide a full mix of content to inform, educate and entertain – including its own integrated hour-long news programme at 9pm (15 mins at 7pm weekends), edited and presented from Scotland (this will lead to the creation of around 80 new journalist posts);
  • Work in close partnership with the creative sector, other national institutions and other broadcasters to produce and acquire content;
  • Work in collaboration with other BBC television channels to offer additional content;
  • Have its own prominent EPG slot on broadcast channels in Scotland;
  • Be available online and in iPlayer in HD in Scotland and across the UK;
  • Support the delivery of extra programmes for BBC Alba as well including weekend news in Gaelic;
  • Together with existing funding, the channel will have an initial budget of over £30million.

From Six to Nine

The much-anticipated axing of the Scottish Six hasn’t happened. Instead it’s been rescheduled into the 9pm slot. Hall promises:

  • an integrated news programme at 9pm (15mins at 7pm at weekends), acquired programmes and programmes from partners in the creative sector and from other countries and a selection of content sourced from other BBC services.
  • The aim of the integrated hour-long news programme at 9pm is to provide comprehensive reporting and analysis of the news at the end of the day from a Scottish perspective. It will draw on the best news content from network news and Reporting Scotland, reworking where necessary, and include substantial original journalism from an expanded BBC Scotland specialist team. There will be scope for live interviews with the best of the BBC’s Newsgathering correspondents around the world and BBC Scotland reporters and correspondents; and live interviews with the day’s news-makers. It will broadcast in a timeslot which attracts the largest available audience. It will not compete with any other terrestrial news programmes and will offer audiences an alternative to high-end drama and entertainment scheduled at this time on other channels.
  • 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. The Six has performed strongly in Scotland in recent years and moved ahead of STV News at Six. Our proposals will offer choice and quality: the new programme will not compete for resources with either The Six or Reporting Scotland, and the new investment will make it possible to deliver a step change in the quality of Reporting Scotland on BBC One Scotland and make other news and sport services better as a result of the availability of additional content. Bilingual reporter / production talent will extend the benefits to Gaelic news.

The success of all of this (particularly the news output) will depend on how it is implemented and whether it can be delivered with genuine ambition and innovation. The output of news, sport and radio needs to be completely overhauled. The practice of shows being commissioned to be produced here and then using ‘ghost’ production is a policy that needs to be cancelled. It’s an exercise in false accounting that prevents nurturing and sustaining local talent and jobs.

Given the resurgent arts and culture scene in Scotland it will be particularly interesting to see how the aim to work “in close partnership with the creative sector, other national institutions and other broadcasters to produce and acquire content” transpires. For years this has seemed to be an open-goal missed by timid and unimaginative broadcasters seemingly detached from the music and arts.

This is a significant day on which those who have campaigned for an Scottish hourly news programme have won. This isa significant victory even if it has taken twenty years or more to achieve.

The announcement also needs to be put in the context of STV’s own Scottish news programme, to be presented by Halla Mohieddeen, who has ‘extensive international broadcast experience having spent the last 10 years working in China and France. Mohieddeen has covered the biggest international stories of the last decade for Paris based 24 hour international news channel, France 24, as their Morning News and Middle East Matters presenter, and a number of China’s TV and radio stations, including CCTV, Xinhua News Network Corporation and Beijing Radio 774.’

The new STV News tonight will be part of a brand new STV2 service about to be rolled-out (‘STV to launch first integrated Scottish, UK and international news programme‘):

“STV News Tonight, the 7pm weeknight programme, will be produced using STV and ITV News resources and will offer a comprehensive service of Scottish, UK and international news from a Scottish perspective. Recognising the unique news agenda of a devolved nation, the 30 minute programme will deliver a service tailored specifically to the interests of Scottish viewers.”

But some perspective and context is required among the celebrations.

c5q0tbcwqaaldrkThere is no devolution of broadcasting. There is no parity with, say, Wales, from which 95% of the revenue raised from the licence fee is plowed back into Welsh programming. In Scotland that figure is 55%.  At the moment, from the BBC’s own figures:In 2015/16, 55% of licence fee funds raised in Scotland was spent on local and Scottish network content. The BBC’s 2015/16 accounts showed £320m was raised from the licence fee in Scotland.”

If we were anything like on parity with Wales that would give us a budget of £300m not £40m. The problem is that we have been so under-invested in for so long that this (welcome) investment now seems like manna from heaven, rather than just a step in the right direction towards a more equitable settlement for a broadcasting service we have been badly served by.

The whole debate is skewed. It’s not ‘nationalist’ to be ambitious for better public broadcasting. The reality is (as Lindsay Bruce has pointed out), we’re being “given” less than Channel 4’s budget for Great British Bake-Off.

That’s a show-stopper.




Comments (82)

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  1. Hugh Kerr says:

    I’m afraid you have been taken in by the ” smoke and mirrors” of this announcement Mike the key point is we will continue to get biased BBC News at 6 and 10pm whilst at 9 pm Scottish News will be up against prime time tv and few will watch it! Hugh Kerr

    1. Ah! Cunning and devious Hugh, quite brilliant. I don’t believe that for a moment.

      As I said it’s a very welcome announcement that will be contingent for it’s success on how it is delivered and should be put in the context of otter devolved settlements and budgets.

      1. john mooney says:

        Mike,this is nothing more than “Beads and Blankets to the pesky natives”is there a “referendum” in the ether perchance?

    2. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      Spot on Hugh, my thoughts exactly. I think it should start at six and kick-off with the news!.

      1. James Mills says:

        Crumbs from the rich man’s table . How grateful we should be , eh ?

        1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

          Just finished reading ‘Wee Ginger Dug’s’ piece in todays National and the revelations about broadcasting in Catalonia just makes you wonder why we allow Wastemonster to get away with it for this long?

    3. c rober says:

      Lets see if for what it is , a part time tv station , staffed by 80 new journos , and the reinvestment of money that was taken in 2012 onward. Plus the moving of BBC2 Scotland to pay for it.

      AS other posters have mentioned WHY has BBC wales an open credit of 95 percent of the licence fee returned – and Scotland 55 percent , which I also can presume means a fair part of which is the “shifting” mentioned in the BBC Charter review investigation.

      Then we have , again as mentioned , the bbc six staying. Then Scotland being at 9pm – with that even less viewing figures. This is control , two bits at the yoon cheery , where the 9pm slot is news for the unionist hard of hearing – aka the independence minded. Reinforced by the 80 new journos.

      Sturgeon in NO WAY should be championing this , she should be attacking it. Just like NI in the EU brexit deals , or with Wales and its licence fee and devolved corporation tax , Scotland is in no way equal… so should submit and be thankful. Nic missed a shot here , Hollyrood should be used to debate the unequal trojan horse for what it is.

      Have a look at Catalan for tv and radio , and see where we are today , BBC , the hint is in the first initial , and the last one stands for Control , and as we see the middle one should really be in Scotlands case with a SMALL b.

      1. Jeff says:

        Ooh. Ooh. Does this mean I should get a licence again and watch BBC output? … Nah, no thanks.

  2. Chris Bartter says:

    As you say Mike, a significant announcement – moving the idea of a Scottish Six to a much broader, Scottish Nine as part of a new channel and significant increase in journalist jobs is not to be underestimated. You are also right in being wary about how it might be resourced/run.
    It is maybe also a warning against rushing to judgement on, what now proves to be a partial, leak of the content of this announcement – https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2017/02/19/the-joy-of-six/. Or was this a deliberate leak, to make the full announcement sound even better?!

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      All leaks are deliberate, and I suspect this one was indeed to make it seem like this was a better announcement than it is.

      1. Alistair Weir says:

        Evidence? of course not, just more conjecture. Go find an informed source

    2. Maybe ayes Chris – though I’m not sure if that leak tactic really worked, just made it a bit confusing?

  3. Josef O Luain says:

    “Underwhelming” and “received pronunciation” spring to mind. Time will tell.

  4. John Leavey says:

    Will executive control over programming lie in Scotland or England?
    Where will editorial control lie?
    Why does Scotland not have parity with Welsh funding? Why should we settle for less?

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Why are the BBC so determined that Scotland should have to be subjected to the UK-wide news? They could have started their part-time channel at 6pm with the new hour-long news programme, or put it on at 10pm. But no, instead they put it on so that it clashes with the main prime time programme.

    It “will offer audiences an alternative to high-end drama and entertainment scheduled at this time on other channels.” That’s not what we’re asking for, FFS. We’re asking for an alternative to news seen through a London perspective.

    They want people to have to choose between Scottish news and their big-money prime time stuff because they know people will choose the big-money prime time stuff. And then, in a year or so, with ratings similar to Scotland 2016, they can cancel it, saying “hey, we tried, but you guys just weren’t interested.”

    That they’ve gone to the effort of creating an entire new (part-time) channel just to avoid having a Scottish opt-out on BBC One for the Six O’Clock News is incredible. That would have been so much simpler, but obviously we can’t have Scots being deprived of London’s view of the world, can we? Although at least it shows the BBC is finally catching up with devolution, albeit in the sense that they’re doing all they can to keep power in London, while at every stage going “is this enough to shut you up yet? How about now? Now?”

    1. Wouldn’t you just watch the Scottish then watch Newsnight (or not)?

      I don’t see the 6 o clock slot as significant at all Doug. I’d watch C4News at 7 then the 9?

      1. Doug Daniel says:

        Surely the significance is obvious from the fact both the main channels would rather compete for the same 6pm and 10pm audiences rather than simply air their main news bulletins at different times? There’s a reason ITV returned to News at Ten after their various 11pm and 10:30pm experiments in the early 2000s, and neither channel has dared fiddle with the 6pm slot. Folk are used to watching the news while eating their tea and at the end of the evening – that’s how it’s always worked in my family anyway. I certainly can’t see my mum and dad recording Don’t Call The Midwife or whatever it is they watch at 9pm just so they can watch the news instead, when they could just watch the 10pm news.

        But as I say, why go to the hassle of creating an entire new channel when they could simply air this new news programme in Scottish homes instead of the current Six O’Clock News? Nobody’s asking for more news programmes, they just want relevant news programmes.

  6. BSA says:

    It looks as if it is deliberately niche, while an unacceptably anglocentric Network continues as the mainstream. It does look as if, like tax powers and others, it may be set up to fail, at least in terms of giving Scotland a broadcaster which properly reflects the country and challenges the damage done to our politics, history and cultural life by the Network.

    1. c rober says:

      How can the news fail , two slots for propaganda? That isnt failure at all.

  7. Alba woman says:

    How the BBC thinks it can now offer a balanced and wide ranging service given the absolute scandal that was their output before and which has continued relentlessly since, the 2014 referendum. Its them having a laugh at our expense.

    Why does Scotland not get the same revenue flow as Wales?
    Perhaps this could be one of the first items discussed in a balanced and full manner in its supposed new approach. Don’t burst your sides laughing BBC.

    1. Kenny says:

      One big part of the Welsh situation is Doctor Who. It’s been made there ever since the relaunch and it’s one of the BBC’s flagship productions. There’s a lot of money behind it. It’s not in any sense a “Welsh programme” though. It’s Welsh in the same way that Question Time is Scottish. Well, except that DW is literally universal, while QT is almost exclusively a programme about English politics that excludes, belittles and minimises Scotland almost every chance it gets.

      1. c rober says:

        God forbid the scots get another 40 percent back from the takings , one wouldnt want such profit making creation like DW for the Scots to throw it on the world stage and see the talent – therefore investment increasing , making the PF fear MSM machine work for their pound of Judas silver.

  8. scrandoonyeah says:

    Too little, too late and promises everything but will deliver nothing……..it is a familiar story to most people in Scotland. I for one have had enough.

  9. Redgauntlet says:

    Good news I suppose, but impossible not to be deeply sceptical.

    If our parliament has been ruled to be an irrelevance on matters of import, then what hope for a broadcaster?

    You can’t help but feel it is just more window-dressing for what is, in essence, London rule…

    Maybe some extra money might go to Scottish film companies, which would be something…
    One lives in hope….

  10. TheBuchanLoony says:

    The six o’clock news on BBC1 catches the subtle propaganda gullable masses ‘having their tea’ before Eastenders. The nine o’clock news on some obscure channel up against peaktime mainstream will only be seen by ‘News Geeks’.

    1. Aha! Cunning! Very cunning!

      1. kailyard rules says:

        Why cunning? Seems to be obvious.

  11. Colin Mackay says:

    Very good news. Obviously still some question marks around the budgets etc which should be pursued but overall a big, much needed step in the right direction. Supporters and opponents of the Scottish Government should be happy that there will be an increased, high quality scrutiny on a daily basis too. That’s healthy.
    Not too sure about the meagre increase for BBC Alba which is currently running on an ant’s shoestring as it is. I think the quality of some of the original productions over the years has warranted more than that, not to mention the positives for Gaelic culture and Scotland itself.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      A Scots Language Channel would be nice. One benefit, aside from cultural respect and equality (i.e. with Gaelic and English channels), is that it would be more difficult for it to be fronted by imported/unionist journalists whan thay dinna hae ony Scots langage. Fowk wid sei throu thaim stracht awa.

  12. johnny come lately says:

    The author of this drivel really is naive. Talk about crumbs from tables and being easily pleased!

  13. johnny come lately says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add. Perfect timing. Another avenue for more SNP bad related garbage and at a cost of 20 million ! Anybody would think there was a crucial referendum happening soon!!!

    1. c rober says:

      THe ultimate irony.

      The Scots are accustomed to subsidizing their propaganda , twice.OR more if you consider the removal of BBC 2 Scotland , becoming a part time channel from a part time channel – SO ITS essentially what it is today , for tomorrow , but with the added insult of removing one to pay for the other that is already there. Has no one caught up on this?

      80 new journos have to be paid , in pieces of silver or English Gold not anymore , its now in Scots pounds.

      This is WARFARE pure and simple.

  14. SleepingDog says:

    I think this might be a great opportunity to trial improved audio, with separate speech, music and background noise tracks.

    Firstly, this could help with the BBC ‘mumbling’ and ridiculously over-the-top mood-music problems: at least you could manipulate these yourself, or turn them off independently (like any wean who plays Minecraft can do).

    Secondly, you could have separate Scots, English and Gaelic speech channels available, and some in-house programming could well take advantage of this.

    Thirdly, by combining the above options with subtitles, you could make it easier for people (such as refugees, including from England) to learn Scottish languages.

    1. c rober says:

      Ive noticed that whole mumbling , over the top background audio on much of what I watch these days – I thought I was going deaf , or had a partial stroke again.

      Im not kidding I have had to rewind on every thing lately and press sub button… by the way they never do deliver the sub , ive been waiting for a chicken terriaki and cheese on italian baked for months.

      Just what are they doing in the audio studio for tv and film production , are they employing those with limited hearing spectrum? I blame the ipod.

      I am old enough to have built my own hifi from carefully selected components , knowing how to use khz and equailzers , but today the speech track seems to be across a spectrum rather than where it should be , then comes a forward music mood track over the top to drown it out. Smart TVS , and their options , are hardly that with audio neither.

  15. w.b.robertson says:

    the key is — who is to be the Scottish based boss of this new Channel? A Scot? Appointed by who? Answerable to who? Or to what? However, it must be better than what we have got at the moment.

    1. c rober says:

      looks back in fondness at the scots , Blair , Broon , Darling – the Scottish mafia.

      One a war mongerer, the other signed off north sea as English , Darling and his friend Broon in BT selling us for a song , making our they did us a good turn by undercutting even the Tories in the VOW- and where Darling is behind the privitisation of the NHS.

      Yep better aff wi Scots in Control.

  16. c rober says:

    Whats the going rate for a bbc journo these days?

    Is it around 30k , so 80x is 2.4 million? Or around 10 percent of the 20 “extra or is it returned ” million.Then we have the “professionals” , those behind the table with the camera pointed at them.

    1. c rober says:

      MEDIAN wage , 49k.

      Source – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/20/bbc-journalists-paid-up-to-40-per-cent-more-than-commercial-riva/

      so 80 x 49k = Just shy of 4 million… However this isnt the whole picture , only the median wage , not that of controllers and execs , or increased with seniority , nor is it inclusive of “bonuses and renumeration” for unsociabile hours.

      So if the new station , new news teams , are from a 20m budget increase (lie), which is in itself money only returning removed from 2012 onwards , plus the removal of BBC 2 Scotland on top – then this is an earner , a twofer , or threefer if the BBC uses it to argue cost reductions promised during charter renewal elsewhere in the UK offices. IT is then just like the “shifting” where UK content is subbed on the BBCS purse.

  17. Legerwood says:

    An extra spend of £20 million per year for 3 years will not buy much by way of new programmes especially if the salaries of the 80 additional journalists comes out of that money.

    As others have said the 9pm slot for the news is almost guaranteed to reduce the audience for this given that it will be competing for audience share with the prime time slot on almost every other channel. The BBC’s main evening news slot used to be at 9pm but was moved for this very reason.

    The net effect may be that people in Scotland will end up knowing even less about what is going on in Scotland.

  18. Sandy Watson says:

    If it were straight, it would certainly be far too little and far too late.

    But, since we’ve already shown that the BBC is a mouthpiece for the Westminster Establishment and rUK, it looks to me like one step in the unionist campaign against independence.

  19. MBC says:

    It’s to be welcomed, but another £20 million of the £320 million that is raised in Scotland from the licensing fee, of which only 55% is spent in Scotland, I work out that’s an increase from 55% to …. 59%.

    Still the lowest in the U.K., far behind NI and Wales,

    1. c rober says:

      These 80 new journos – mark my words , next year BBC England will declare a saving , in other words further subsidy on the Scots.

      Or could it be just as simple as seeing the writing on the wall?

      Is it getting those feet under a desk today for enacting control even with a post indy YES?

      I really dont get why Holyrood , the SNP , Sturgeon are accepting this sort of thing as progressive fairness within the UNION. It is making them look more and more like conspirators than the resistance.

      1. MBC says:

        I suppose they are trying to govern responsibly, unlike Theresa May.

        That is to say, they are trying to accommodate No voters as well as Yes voters, out of a sense of fair play. For the 55% as well as the 45%.

        The English Tories and New Labour haven’t really ever cared about the rest of the country. They rule in the interests of the narrow clique and follow their right wing ideology even though only 30-odd percent of the country voted for them. The other 70% can go to hell.

    2. Inverschnecky says:

      It’s terrible news. The propaganda machine of the tory party grows another arm.

      All the percentage changes in the world don’t change the basic principal that this is about defeating democracy.

      They have another 30m and another channel to manufacture consent of the neocon world view.

      In this world, Aleppo is a terrible tragedy and Mosul a triumph. Yemen? Palestine? That’s just rebels and fanatics.
      Oh and lest you forget – you are too wee, too poor and far too stupid – for anything approaching social democracy.

      1. c rober says:

        Its somewhat funny that Cameron not so long ago said the bbc was biased to the left , which it actually once was – But as we all know BT , Holyrood , and council elections show the real colors , that both are indeed Unionists thus personal wealth first , Tory Second.

  20. TheBuchanLoony says:

    If this new channel is, as claimed, specifically for programmes for Scotland and the Scottish people then I think we should demand that the first programme every night at 7.00pm following the hour long unionist London propaganda six o’clock news on BBC1 should be a programme specifically for the 49% of the Scottish population who want independence.
    There is still not a single programme on BBC Scotland…television, radio or online which is for that significant proportion of the Scottish people.
    The BBC claim impartiality and balance…let them prove it!
    I will not hold my breath in anticipation.

  21. Alf Baird says:

    May has just ordered the cabinet to ‘strengthen and sustain the union’, so I guess this forms part of that strategy. Thus the new ‘BBC Scotland’ = Better Together II.

    1. manandboy says:

      I’m with Alf. Westminster is playing yet another game, messing with our heads, buying time, distracting us, knowing that enough of the naive and gullible brigade will buy it. That’s all they need to screw us over yet again, maintain the Status Quo and, above all, continue the brainwashed condition in Scotland. You have to hand it to them, they’re very good at mind control, in this case, among the creative classes in television land.

      Why are they doing this? To get Westminster through the next Referendum with the UK intact. Nothing else. It’s just a bribe. Is it surprising that the Scottish Unionists are already telling us about how wonderful it all is. As if.

      1. Sandy Watson says:

        BBC in Scotland. Obvious. This is before SG/SNP has even announced a new referendum.

        Get ready for the Westminster and union tsunami of persuasion, manipulation, misinformation, obfuscation, lies, dirty tricks, MSM collusion… Is the majority in Scotland still gullible enough to fall for it?

        1. c rober says:

          They will have 80 more agents to do so.

  22. Graeme Purves says:

    But will it be a Neil-Oliver-free zone?

    1. c rober says:

      My money is on NEIL and ROBINSON as executives – rewarded.

  23. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    Reading these comments, I wondered if I was reading the scripts of the soon to be resurrected IM Jolly! I had thought that the Calvinist, “We’re all doomed! Doomed, I tell ye!” had passed away with the great John Laurie.
    Come on, ‘carpe diem’, as we used to say in Anderston!

    1. c rober says:

      carpe diem , sounds foreign to me – I dont like it. They will be expecting housing and handouts from our handouts.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      Perfidus or fraudulosus are more appropriate terms, as is usually the case with the actions of who we are dealing with. The one thing many Scots people have now thankfully learned above all else is that ye canna truist thaim, ivver.

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        This might be an opportunity to get more of the various leids of Scotland regularly on to the air waves.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          From what I heard this morning from the BBC panel at Holyrood (i.e. two of the three were Gaels), ‘ethnically’ this ‘new channel’ will be an opportunity to focus more on Gaelic/BBC Alba but again not even a burnt sausage for the vast majority of us Scots language speakers. And what they propose to spend on this ‘new’ channel is about the same as BBC Alba gets, i.e. a language for 50,000 speakers? It really seems to be more or less an ‘official’ front for Better Together II, with an extra £2om in undeclared ‘No’ campaign money, plus airtime. The last thing the British state wid dae is gie Scotlan’s fowk bak thair ain langage an cultur (which is fundamentally what a Scottish TV Channel must do) – for if they did, many more Scots would quickly discover a nation worth taking back.

  24. Kenny says:

    It’s a sop. It will be under-resourced. It won’t be watched. The lack of viewers will cause it to be derided and its budgets cut further. English politicians and unionists will use it to attack “chippy Nats” who are never happy with anything, even their very own channel. It will be sold as England subsidising special treatment for Scotland. It will never, ever address the underlying problems with the way the BBC treats Scotland and Scottish politics.

    All of those things are true.

    We CAN welcome this in some senses. More journalists working in Scotland can’t be a bad thing. I think we do have to take on board the voices of people like Derek Bateman who continually stress that the biggest problem with BBC Scotland News is not ingrained unionism but just a desperate lack of resources and abysmal morale. More staff running a show that can’t really be micro-managed from London should, in any scenario, provide better news coverage than we’re used to. It might well be a fair bit of “SNP Bad” but unfortunately that’s what you get when you’re in government. Scrutinising opposition parties isn’t really the major function of a national news broadcaster.

    Having said all that, we can’t pretend that there aren’t other, very serious problems that are not, will not and cannot be addressed by this announcement. The Six and the Ten still going to be the most watched news programmes on the BBC, in Scotland or anywhere else. They will still present mostly English stories as “national” news, causing a degree of confusion about what is devolved and what’s not and giving a lopsided view of politics in the UK. Other major political shows like the Daily Politics and Question Time will still focus for the vast majority of their output on English politics. The Sunday Politics will presumably maintain its Scottish opt-out section, but we’ll still have Andrew Neil for most of the show, still often talking about English issues. We’ll still have Newsnight for national (English) and international analysis but only have Timeline for (utterly terrible and inadequate) coverage of anything Scottish, and that only once a week for half an hour.

    These issues are not a problem of “bias.” (We can argue about bias all we want, but ultimately it’s a somewhat subjective question and most people don’t want to listen to talk about “bias;” they think it sounds like a mad conspiracy theory.) The problem is the lop-sidedness. Scotland just doesn’t get adequate coverage of its own political life and institutions, the distribution of guests on most discussion shows is largely based on English or UK-wide representation or vote share which inevitably puts Scottish parties and Scottish patterns of voting on the back foot. We simply don’t get the same level of coverage as English viewers do because, as with the entire Anglo-British national ideology, England-Britain is normal and everything else is an aberration. By God, even TIME ITSELF, for the whole world, begins and ends in Greenwich!

    The only solution, I think, is for some brave soul to sue the BBC. We pay a licence fee like everyone else but we get a lesser service. Our politics is simply not as well covered as the politics of people in England. Their “News Where You Are” covers their local politics. Our local politics is barely mentioned on Reporting Scotland. Their national politics is the national politics we ALL have to consider. Our national politics is an afterthought, an addendum, a cheaply produced, unpromoted, unsupported and, in the case of Scottish politics arising on Question Time, actively unwanted intrusion and distraction. We do not receive an equal service to people in England. We pay the same licence fee, but we get an inferior product. If we are all equal partners in the BBC, how can this be so?

    Such a case would be difficult to bring and would require a hardy soul willing to suffer the slings and arrows of incensed unionists (including doorsteppers like the Daily Mail) but it would force many of these issues into the open. Moreover, the BBC itself could hardly refuse to cover a story where Tony Blair and John Birt are called as witnesses to explain their political opposition to a Scottish Six which, let’s not forget, was broadly supported across the political spectrum back in the late 90s. Gary Lineker could be called to explain why English football is worth almost £100m per year and is broadcast across the UK on BBC1 (and everywhere else) because of its important “national” status, but Scottish sport as a whole is only worth £4m. The skeletons in the BBC closet would get a good airing and while no mainstream media outlet would be anything other than relentlessly hostile to the case, the upside of winning would be enormous. If we really believe the BBC is as lopsided as we say it is, how can we doubt that we WOULD win?

    Who’s up for it?

    1. c rober says:

      Actually your could probably roll up more than just that – including…

      1.Tax vs licence , defining what is already there in law , one of which must disprove the other.
      2.The use of BBCS as a subsidy and income for RUK as you have mentioned.
      3.The use of “shifting” in the budgets , PROVEN , where programs are made in Scotlands budget for UK , importantly via private production companies , and whether they have offshore offices.
      4.Unfair taxation , where RTE pays but a fraction of what Scottish licence payers pay for UK BBC content , and given that the WALES admission of returning 95 percent represents unjust taxation based on location , ie a different outcome , and dare I say it racism as a result based on where you are born or live.
      5.Lack of accountability due to not disclosing certain data , citing competition reasoning , and where the BBC being licence funded is in itself anti competitive.
      6.Then there is the talent , where they arent BBC employees , but private companies instead for tax avoidance. So state sanctioned , condoned tax avoidance BY THE BBC.

      I used to have a longer list a few years back , but narrowed it down to purely the above. Including handing Holyrood the ability on “a judgement on unfair and unjust taxation” the instant ability to criminalize the PAYMENT of the licence fee itself in SCOTLAND , arguing as it enables the Scottish to break the law in acceptable participation – thus sponsoring and funding criminality. Remember the old adage , ignorance of the law is no excuse , thus a judgement criminalises EVERY SCOTTISH LICENCE PAYER – so then it is up to Holyrood to prevent it continuing.

      So who is the top media lawyer in Scotland? Is there even one at all?Is there a judge that specialises in TAX and licence law , or again in media?

      The BBC is reserved to Westminster , it will always be that way , but LAW isnt….. and one can be the midge to their might.

      1. Kenny says:

        I imagine some of those things are possible. I’m not sure how, but they’re definitely worth exploring. I think a simple breach of contract suit and/or a racial discrimination thing (i.e. we’re denied a service that is available to people in England BECAUSE we’re in Scotland) is the simplest bet though. Are there any lawyers out there willing and able to advise? I’m confident that the money needed to bring such a case could be found. The question is who does it and how best to formulate the case. Can anyone out there help?

    2. Alf Baird says:

      ” More journalists working in Scotland can’t be a bad thing”

      Not if the majority of them don’t even come from Scotland. A bit like the issue with ‘Scottish’ academics and more generally professionals in the wider economy, where if you advertise all Scotland’s professional jobs in London, then the chances are most of the applicants and appointees will come from outside Scotland, hence Scotland has aye been and still is run by an Anglicised meritocracy. Maist o thaim fowk dinna ‘dae’ fer less ken Scottish culture.

  25. S Tilbury says:

    OK, said a parent can I just say that 9pm is THE perfect time for a news programme if I’m to have any chance of watching it. Any time before that I’m either dealing with kids fighting, kids’ bedtime or cooking dinner.

    1. S Tilbury says:

      And I also meant to add that the so-called high quality content at 9pm that it will be competing with is do high quality that I rarely if ever bother watching any of it. No timing problem as far as I can see at all. As others have said, resourcing is the key thing here, and please let’s have some new presenters!

      1. c rober says:

        Can i suggest the watching of international news , and see what is reported as world wide news , and with all the graphic nature content even if it is blurred. Then comparing the days news to SKY , ITV or the BBC.

        IF the UK was Russia or North Korea I would expect such wide brush cloned repeating of NEWs content , but I see the FOXISATION of UK news at best , at worst it is controlled in order to keep the masses unaware of the real problems… where its paedowatch of the week , while avoiding the politicians , or fluff pieces on c list celebs , where Wesminster buries the real news during terroist attacks , and all newsrooms timed down to appr 24 minutes and rolling repeated for an hour.

        Could be worse , police shoot unarmed minster dead black man – replaced with little white girl trapped in well.Then like proper American news calls for a ban on a flag as a reason for a white nutcase shooting up a church – instead of guns.

    2. I agree. I have four kids and the idea that I’m sitting watching the news at 6pm is unreal.

      1. BSA says:

        It’s hard to understand your enthusiasm for the new channel. Mainstream BBC marginalises Scotland and conflates it with England. It actively damages the country and its idea of itself. The new channel simply emphasises that. The mainstream is England, the niche is Scotland. It is the same view that gives you ‘The Football League’ and ‘The Scottish Football League’ or ‘The National Trust’ and ‘The National Trust for Scotland’. You can’t grow or mature from a ghetto ; you have to make the mainstream Scottish.

  26. Ne'r gowked nor feart. says:

    Overall i hae ma doubts. Beware of unionists bearing gifts.

  27. c rober says:

    Considering the cost of tanks these days , some 10s of millions each , then the BBC monies would only have supplied 2 for George square if that – Instead they are supplying 80 more foot soldiers in Pacific Quay , with much more money to spare , to snipe not from the rooftops like the terrorists they are , but from the four desks . Mi5 has landed in Glasgow.

    The desk in Whitehall , the one in the Pacific quay head office , the editing room , and lastly behind the camera as the centrally heated new tanks. We will have James Blind , R.D instead of R and D , and a long Q instead of 80 instead of just one , along with it the symbols of Englishness . of colonial empire to remind of such – like an Aston with all passenger seats ejectable on sensing a hint of Scottish pro indy arses on them.

    Its not like the people have newspapers or tv stations to fight back.

    So the BBC , well its the cheapest form of secret warfare by the state. Its along the lines of blankets infected with smallpox…. and just like those Native Americans at the hands of colonists , the irony of having to pay for the enemies own weapons against us.

    With this silence from INDY and the SNP thus Holyrood in acceptance , and with the normal acceptance by the Yoonial suspect enablers of our colonial maisters , somebody really needs to change the Sign at Gretna – from “Welcome to Scotland” , to “You Are Welcome to Scotland”.

    Prostitutes at least get paid for being shafted , accepting this trade and criminality , an agreed contract between them and the John , and yet is illegal.

    But not the Scots , they have to pay to BE shafted and its legal….their acceptance makes it legal , if our Scottish legislators are condoning it. The legality is supplied by every FORCED payment of the BBC licence fee just to watch Eastenders , QT , Top Gear , River Shitty – or any programming which historically has portrayed the Scots in a less than kind eye.

    Our Scots own in the flesh industry , the madams and pimps in Whorywood , all happy in their employment , and/or know their place , which just like their personal income depends on it continuing – and it will….. if inaction and blame ensures it.

  28. w.b.robertson says:

    again I pose the obvious question- who is the controller of this “new” channel and who is he/she answerable to? the money will be sent up each week from London…and he who pays (in this case the local pipers) will call the tune. simples.

  29. Patrick says:

    They are teasing you, with that investment you could take the internet to all 32 councils and for free.
    That is only to wash the brains of youth and silence the clamor for independence, and continue to plunder the Scottish patrimony .

  30. Alf Baird says:

    Whaur’s oor Scots langage chennel, tae gie Scots fowk een-haunditness wi thon Gaelic chennel an Englis anaw? Is this spleet-new ‘BBC Scotland’ no juist anither Englis langage chennel? Langage is cultur, sae wir Scots langage an cultur is aye haud doon bi no haein a Scots langage chennel. Scots isna Gaelic or Englis! Scots fowk shuid get tae hearken oan the telly thair ain langage thay uise ivverie day, juist lyke ony ither kintra – sae nae mair discriminaeshin. Yon’s aw a staundert unionist colonial strategi tae haud maist fowk doon. We shuid insteid gie aw Scots fowk confidence, raither than sae muckle creenge an wi it nae thocht o Scotlan as a rael naition (nae wunner thay votet ‘Naw’). Gie fowk thair ain langage, thay’ll shuirly want thair ain naition bak anaw, swiftlyke tae. Whaur’s thon eejit o a Holyrood Langage Meenister, an whit’s he daein fer oor langage an cultur? Naethin Aa can see.

    1. BSA says:

      Off topic, but please spare us this tortured Scots. Does ‘anaw’ appear in any Scots dictionary ? What you are saying is ‘and all’ usually pronounced by Scots as an’ a’. ‘Een’ to many Scots would be ‘eyes’. What you are trying to say is ‘even’ which many Scots would say with a silent v and spelled as e’en. Scots on the internet is full of invented words where a simple apostrophe would suffice. Scots vocabulary is rich enough without a phonetic Scots mangling of English which is not Scots at all. When I was a boy in Dundee in the ’50s we used a very rich and ancient Scots vocabulary much of which is still understood, but has mostly disappeared from use, to be replaced by these weird phonetics.

      1. c rober says:

        kin ye stil get a hauf a pan and a pun o pommes?

      2. Alf Baird says:

        BSA = British Standards Authority?

        Oor ain langage is preferable tae fause-soondin ‘bools in yer mooth’ Englis bein garred doon bairns thrapples whither thay lyke it or no; thon’s the rael fausehood, an cultural doon-hauden.

        1. Brochan says:

          “whither thay lyke”

          Ain language? All you have done is misspelt these three words. Changes in spelling do not a language make.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            thay are contracted thay’re: They’re.
            thay hiv contracted thay’v: They’ve.
            thay wad contracted thay’d They’d

            Get yersel educatet!

        2. BSA says:

          Indeed, but you are not writing anything that would even approximate to a written Scots. You are just emphasising its problems as a written language and doing it no service at all.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            The only problem (or rather tragedy, cultural discrimination, colonial oppression etc) for the Scots language is the continued linguistic illiteracy of the vast majority of Scots people who can neither read nor write in the mither tongue they still speak, much as your ignorant comments ably demonstrate. There are Scots dictionaries and texts on Scots grammar and usage, but so long as they are not given and taught properly to Scots bairns in schools, or read by chiels lyke yersel, then our own nations cultural illiteracy will continue.

  31. J Galt says:

    Just mair tricks and kidology for the easily impressed from Das Reichsministerium fur Volksaufklarung und Propaganda am Ufer der Clyde!

  32. Doubting Thomas says:

    Good evening.
    Here is today’s news in the independent state of Govanhill read by your news reader James Krankie.
    President Sturgeon announced today that cooncil tax would need to go up.
    The six people paying it were not paying enough.
    The dear leader said that wealth redistribution and progressive taxation remained her highest priority and it wis only ferr that she had merr moneys tae waste and it should be paid for by the richest to benefit oor guests fae the rest of the world.
    The fewrer also announced that those amongst who still had job would be punished and higher rate tax would increase to 99.5 per cent.
    This would help pay for the bus companies directors wanes to carry on with their skiing holidays.
    In another announcement Nicola McGarry spokes entity on law, charities and fraud announced today that all charitable donations made by the last six workies will be confiscated and after suitable deductions to pay her expenses will be passed to her staff as bonuses.
    Minister for promoting the IRA John Mason said that the six should also pay for the erection of a monument to all those republican freedom fighters who without fear murdered innocent civilians in the armed struggle to take over the drug market in Northern Ireland.
    Nicola the beneficent will make a speech tomorrow declaring that it disnae matter how the people vote she disnae care she speaks for all of us!
    And that was today’s news.
    It cannae be seen at six o’clock.


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