Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Bill's silence on 'The Scottish Six' and the 'Referendum on Independence'

I have taken the decision, for the moment, not to discuss in detail two recurrent themes of Scottish political life:
- the desirability or otherwise of having a dedicated 'national' news broadcast at 6pm to replace the current national news broadcast from London;
- the wish of the SNP governing party in Scotland to hold a referendum on independence.

In general, though, I am unconvinced of the need for a separate 6pm news broadcast from Glasgow to replace the perfectly adequate service we now enjoy, specially given the often lamentably-poor quality of the 'Scottish News' currently on offer from Glasgow at 6.30pm. It sounds suspiciously like duplication of effort for purely and nakedly political purposes. Undoubtedly complete reform of the BBC is necessary (the desirability of continuing with the BBC's ambitious aims to offer a 'universal' broadcasting service across all available categories, funded by a licence fee, for a start), but that is a much bigger issue affecting a lot more than Scotland.

As for the wish of the SNP to hold a referendum on independence, and whilst I am not specifically 'opposed' to the notion, it is abundantly clear from the recent Scottish Parliament elections that the great majority of residents of Scotland do not favour 'independence' as an outcome - my fellow-Scots were perfectly at liberty to vote for the only significant political party that offered this as a policy, but chose not to do so in sufficient numbers for the SNP to be able to force such an issue through the Scottish Parliament, far less stand even the remotest chance of getting the answer it wants from a referendum.

In summary, the reason why I have chosen at this time not to comment at length and in greater detail on these two 'burning issues' is that they are merely part of the political dance being performed by the SNP Scottish Government to disguise the fact that its minority position in the Scottish Parliament makes it impossible for it to push through any substantive policies [and as a traditional Scottish Grace before meals puts it "an' may the Lord be thankit"], without the acquiescence of the other political groupings. I am not willing to participate in Alex Salmond's divisive strategies - there are already far too many in both the media and even the other Scottish political groupings (bizarrely enough), not to mention some of the usual suspects in the Scottish 'blogospehere', who seem only too happy to be manipulated by him. I listened to Nicola Sturgeon on the 'Today' programme this morning, incidentally, and even she in my view found it difficult to make her Party's policy on holding a referendum sound at all convincing when subjected to close questionning - and she is normally a very astute political operator as well.

I'll give these matters due attention when the summer is over and the Scottish Parliament is no longer in recess.

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