Monday 7 March 2016

Seize the 'Scottish Six'!

I entirely agree with Richard Walker. We have to beware the inertia born of despair. We have to resist the urge to be dismissive of the possibility of incremental change. We must not succumb to a tendency to resist change simply because it is deemed to be inadequate. So long as the steps we take are in the right direction, it is always better to be moving rather than standing still. Because inaction breeds inertia.

Our only criteria when considering new developments in Scotland's media should be concerned with whether they tend to lessen the grip of those who are ideologically or instinctively bound to the old order and the old ways. So long as doors to further progress are kept open, any move towards a media which better reflects and represents Scotland's distinctive political culture has to be welcomed.

There is a tendency to think of the BBC as an unshakeable bastion of the British establishment. But it is not as powerfully impenetrable as people suppose. I cast my mind back to the campaign to save BBC Radio 6 Music. The smug complacency of the corporation was severely shaken on that occasion. It demonstrated that there are chinks in the BBC's armour of self-righteous authority. It can be challenged.

My sense is that people outside the bubble of British nationalism are not so much opposed to a Scottish Six as massively - and understandably - sceptical about the ability of BBC Scotland to deliver the kind of programme that is wanted. I would say to them that they are correct to be doubtful. But, while they are justifiably dubious about the BBC, they should not doubt their own power. They should have confidence in their ability to seize upon the opening offered by the creation of a Scottish Six and, by the sheer force of public demand, turn it into the thing that they want it to be.

The BBC earmarked Radio 6 Music for failure. It tried to drive the digital radio station off the air. It failed. The station now thrives because it is serving a committed and demanding audience. I am convinced that we can do something similar with the Scottish Six. I am firmly persuaded that, once it is brought into existence, the Scottish Six can become a creature of its audience, rather than the colourless, pointless sop to public opinion intended by the quality-sucking grey army of BBC management.

Let's take what the BBC is offering us. Then let's make them regret it.

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