Meanwhile back hame


OK, I admit that I’m a pedantic fellow and a bit sick of coverage of Scottish politics in the “national media” in general, but I think the BBC surpassed themselves in picking their news agenda for tonight’s 10 o’clock news.

Tonight at 7PM on BBC Scotland, a BBC investigation found that the election which got the SNP into (sort of) power which featured an “utter total guddle” (as Brian Taylor had it) was even more of a shambles than previously thought. There was an assumption, which had as yet been unchallenged that the somewhat ludicrous delays caused in counting votes were to an extent caused by the requirement to manually check spoiled papers in contested seats. However, it appears that tens of thousands of the 140k+ votes which were counted only as spoiled had been seen only by the counting machines. Pretty troubling given the performance of the counting machines overall.

So, having seen that I’d missed this I figured I’d watch the 10 o’clock news and see if they bothered to cover it, given the pretty good national coverage given to the postal voting scandal from earlier elections got covered rather well. I was rather surprised to find they had a live OB to the dark surrounds of Scotland’s Parliament, and looked forward to seeing how they covered it. But no, they were instead going live to talk to nobody and talk (if not whistle) in the dark about how the Scottish Executive is to be renamed the Scottish Government, whilst also prattling on a little about the discussions on further devolution and independence. Somehow they covered two very interesting topics without talking to anyone whilst clearly pointing out the change cost £100,000. Clearly, spending the money of the UK renaming a governing administration to a government is a waste of money. Going live to a presenter in the dark to do so, is however great value for money.

There’s a very good developing story going on in Scotland, which is worthy of a couple of good reports a week from a Nick Robinson like figure able to explain in detail whatever is going on really means. Intriguingly the (Rather good) white paper Scotland’s Conversation document issued by the Scottish Government (gives me joy to type that, I admit) suggests that two areas which are ready and waiting to be devolved further are broadcasting and the conduct of Scottish elections[1]. The BBC has firmly convinced me tonight that both of these are eminently sensible ideas. Now if only they could devolve the coverage of Scottish Politics to BBC Scotland, give them a few minutes in the national news and their fair, balanced and incisive coverage would be far less inflammatory and maybe even help save the union.

Incidentally, the post on Brian Taylor’s blog about renaming the Executive has almost entirely positive comments. And it was the Lib Dem’s idea anyway, though they quibble the cost.

2 thoughts on “Meanwhile back hame

  1. Neil

    Regardless of whose idea it was it’s still a fairly terrible one imho. The Scottish Executive is precisely that – the executive branch of the devolved Scottish Government (a government being made up of an executive, a justiciary and a legislature). The fact that “the term Scottish Executive was confusing or meaningless to many members of the public” is an argument for better education of the public, not for the wholesale embracing of an inelegant misnomer. Also doesn’t change the fact that in terms of the Scotland Act they’re still legally the Scottish Executive whatever the headed notepaper might say … ho hum …

  2. Tom

    Good idea about devolving reporting. It’s insane that reporting on Scotland is done by people in London, even if it’s aimed at people down south.

    I don’t see why you think having elections run by Scots would be any better, though. Are Scottish people magically more competent and less corrupt? Or do you just mean giving the Scottish Assembly more oversight over the process? That seems like a good idea. Oversight for all!

    Neil: in British usage, ‘government’ means executive; Her Majesty’s Government is the executive, not parliament or the courts. Only Americans and other foreign sorts use ‘government’ to meann all the branches.

    — tom

Comments are closed.