Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Every Party's Got Numpties

We all like to think that the political party we live and die for can do no wrong, and everybody in it is totally brilliant; quite beyond criticism. Truth is, of course, that it's never like that, and the concept that everybody's perfect is obviously unsustainable. Sometimes, when there's a difference of opinion, it's on something that matters and affects people's lives and aspirations, but sometimes, sadly, it just gets silly. So here we are, in the middle of the midsummer silly season, and SNP MSP Sandra White has lodged a motion condemning the level of coverage of the Ashes Cricket series in Scotland. On TV last night she described it as 'wall to wall' coverage. I can only assume that someone in her home has been watching it ball by ball on Sky Sports (like me). Apart from that, the only coverage has been highlights nightly on Channel 5, and some (limited) coverage on the 'national' news channels in the sport section. Never mind that twenty eight thousand Scots play cricket; never mind the host of teams up here in the North of Scotland Cricket League, like Forres St Lawrence, who I used to play for; never mind the famous Freuchie - kings of village cricket; never mind that Scotland have taken their place on more than one occasion in world cup limited over tournaments, and will surel;y continue to do so. But the real point is that this is simply wrong-headed woolly thinking on an issue that in the grand scheme of things simply doesn't matter. It's a totally daft motion that serves no useful purpose at all. There's a much bigger issue in the discussion on whether or not Scotland should have our own public service television broadcaster - an independent Scottish BBC - something many of us passionately believe in, and an issue I have made the case for on BBC's own 'Newswatch' programnme. This is something that does matter, for as long as we continue to be given 'the news, weather and travel where you live' in a five minute slot on breakfast TV, a mere half an hour each early evening and five minutes late at night, our television persona will always be that of just another UK region and we will continue to be fed "National" news like that this morning on the crisis facing England in the cost to older folk and their families of personal care - which, of course, is not an issue in Scotland at all, or the ballyhoo about O and A level results weeks after our young folk have had theirs. I could go on and on.... And then of course, there's that gatuitous and overblown phrase "our Scotland correspondent" so beloved of BBC news editors. Nice to know we deserve one then.... But to confuse public service broadcasting with commercially motivated satellite channels that viewers pay to subscribe to simply clouds the issue and devalues the real argument and to pick on cricket when there's so much more to genuinely complain about is just plain numpty.

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