Opinion: Tartan Army march south

Since the New Year (or should that be Hogmanay?) it seems to me that the BBC have become first bugle for the Better Together campaign.

Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 10:00 am
Andrew Neil who has regular shows on the BBC.

Better Together? Forgotten already?

They were the campaign group striving to keep Scotland inside the UK in the 2014 Referendum.

But where is the evidence to support my opinion?

First, Radio 3 ran an interminable series of programmes called Celtic Connections; then BBC2 gave us The Story of Scottish Art and thirdly, Burns Night seemed to cover every outlet at the end of January. You can probably add to the list yourself.

And what about the Scottish monopoly of heavy-weight political opinion programmes? True, James Naughtie has retired to Edinburgh, but Andrew Neil and Andrew Marr still ply their trade throughout the week south of the border.

Can you imagine BBC Scotland commissioning programmes with titles like Anglo-Saxon Heirs; English Art since 1945 (Henry Moore to Banksy); Wordsworth and the English Lakes and allowing Boris Johnson to review the Scottish Parliament?

I wonder what the letters page of The Scotsman would look like after that lot.

I am sure that the Scots would reply that they have had to stomach a slurry of London-centric programming for decades so all that is happening is that a little more balance is creeping in.

‘Balance’, of course, that potent word in the lexicon of the BBC. The obligation to ensure that all mainstream points of view are represented on our TV and radio. However, observance becomes even more acute when the licence fee is up for renewal, as it is at the end of this year.

Next, I hear reports that Scotland is looking for a federalist BBC (which means that the Welsh and Irish will want the same) in the next round of licence negotiations.

I wonder what might have happened if the English had been allowed a vote on Scottish independence. I, for one, would have voted for them to go. First, it would have given us blessed relief from Alex Salmond. But secondly, it would also have meant that they could take responsibility, and shoulder the budget, for their own broadcasting.

On the other hand, my attitude softens whenever Scotland display their customary aversion to crossing the try line in Calcutta Cup matches.