The Scottish Six – why broadcasting shouldn’t be devolved – number 95

The freedom of information monkeys have been at it again.  The government formerly known as the Scottish Executive (the first to declare its independence from legal shackles by press release) has released background briefing papers prepared for the previous regime about the so-called Scottish Six (a proposed Scottish six o’clcok news broadcast of international and national news from a Scottish perspective).  The documents are banal enough with references to various surveys indicating the public don’t think much of their news coverage (and that’s years before the McCann fiasco with news reporters and presenters referring to the McCanns on first name terms throughout the investigation and subsequent to their identification as suspects).

For those of us who wonder what a Scottish Six would be like, thankfully the BBC Scotland news website has offered a preview.  Some of you in the UK may be aware that foot and mouth has hit the garden of England again – in the strain released into the wild by the government funded laboratories a month ago.  How does BBC Scotland report this?

Scottish sheep tested for disease.  Apparently a sheep from Perthshire touring the south of England has been caught up in the foot and mouth crisis.  The other sheep involved (in order of importance) are Irish, Welsh, English, French, Poles, illegal immigrant sheep from Kazakhstan – here to take our wool producing wool jobs and steal our rams.

The Scottish Six will take this development a step further by finding the Scottish element to other international incidents.  Perhaps the apocryphal “Aberdeenshire man drowned at sea” may find an appropriate home

About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
This entry was posted in free the scottish six, news, petty parochialism, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Scottish Six – why broadcasting shouldn’t be devolved – number 95

  1. hoiho says:

    Scottish sheep tested for disease
    Hmm. Is this not the Scottish Cringe in effect? Do the BBC in London maintain a suitable patrician distance, and not report about Britons caught up in world events? Of course they don’t. Yet we still somehow see BBC Scotland doing the same to be parochial. Quick gedanken: replace Scotland and England in that story with, say, Denmark, and Germany. Now, consider: would the local focus of the story still be risible?
    The problem is with supplemental news; news that covers much the same ground, but has to over-focus on local aspects, not the local issues/stories/perspective themselves. Recall, for example, that The Scotsman was at its finest abut 30 years ago, when it maintained its own foreign corespondents. A Scottish paper, reporting world events, and Scottish one, with a Scottish perspective. A Scottish Six might well work in just the same way.

    • I take the point about the Danish-German matter. However, my issue here is the story smacked of desparation to have a Scottish element, when the restrictions imposed in Scotland as a result of the outbreak would actually give sufficient way in to the story. That one of the sheep originated on a Scottish farm is only newsworthy if this is the sheep that brought in the illness.
      I’m not old enough to remember a heyday for The Scotsman. During my time at Uni as a student it seemed to be an Edinburgh Daily News and The herald general coverage better (although very western in focus).
      The other concern about the Scottish Six is the poor quality of the existing BBC Scotland team. Taylor is passable, but many correspondents and presenters seem out of their depth (best evidenced when they’re interviewing people). It’s little wonder that the real talent like Eddie Mair or Kirsty Wark buggered off as soon as possible to be tested. Why the Beeb persist with Glen “Rhinestone political correspondent” Campbell I don’t know. Last Thursday I contrasted Campbell on Newsnight Scotland with the chap that does the STV politics show. The latter was polite, effective, listened to answers and followed them up. He got decent information out of the interviewees (backbench MSPs including Roseanna Cunningham) and was quite impressive, Campbell couldn’t decide if he was going to be Frost or Paxman and tried both in the same interview to the bemusement of an interviewee. Campbell’s questions don’t address points raised previously in the interview meaning that it became a series of non sequiturs. I’ve picked on Campbell here but he’s sympomatic of a bigger issue in BBC Scotland, that the quality of personnel is not what it should be (and dare I say it the quality within the written media – where even respected commentators like Iain McWHirter bang on their particular prejudices at the drop of a hat (I’m not sure how often he’s condemned Lib Dem tactics in the past four months – each article rehashing the view he gave following tavish Scott’s statement immediately after the election)). I’d have less problem with a Scottish Six if Scotland Today, Reporting Scotland, or general home produced TV was of a particular quality. It isn’t. And the thought of more of the same fills me with dread.
      Sorry for the length, but many thanks for your comment which got me thinking more clearly about my views here.

      • hoiho says:

        All fair points, none of which I’d argue. At its peak, in the late 70s, The Scotsman was staffed by the likes of Jim Naughtie, Chris Bauer, and Magnus Linklater. I suppose I hope that a Scottish Six might encourage good journalists to stay (or even come) to Scotland. I hope much the same for politicians, and the Parliament…
        To take your profession as an exemplar: we have excellent solicitors, advocates, and judges[0] here in Scotland[1]; why should we not have good journalists, and parliamentarians, too? I these days of long-distance link ups and high speed Internet, being based in Scotland is not a bar to also being present on a wider stage – as witnessed by the BBC’s current rapid explosion to “the regions”, as they Londonista derisively refer to them
        0] We also have crap ones, too; but that’s, sadly, only to be expected.
        1] Possibly by dint of being thirled by a training in Scots law?

  2. I am shocked that the Prussian Gerbil story is not true. For some reason I believed this. I recall a ‘Radio Active’ or similar joke: ‘local man killed in nuclear holocaust’.

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