I wasn’t going to do another post today – youse have had two already within the past 24 hours, and there are other things which need to be done. But then I made the mistake of having a wee look at Bella Caledonia’s take on the BBCrisis, my jaw hit the floor, then continued on its downward trajectory and at the time of writing is passing through the central core of the planet on its way to the Antipodean Islands.
It was already rumoured that BBC management had decided to axe the popular Headlines programme on Radio Scotland, presented by Ken McDonald carefully avoiding any references to Swiss Tony. Today Bella Caledonia have inside information that the BBC managers in their immense wisdom, and with their sensitivities towards accusations of arseduppery at the McCorporation finely honed after a week of disasters, are going to replace Headlines with the Kezia Dugdale and Andrew Wilson Show. That Kezia Dugdale. Labour MSP for listseatshire, former aide de camp of George Foulkes, Lord of the Dance with Polis.
You’d think Kezia would be far too busy to take on a new gig at the Beeb. She’s already got a job as an MSP representing her constituents from under the Scotsman’s troll bridge. Kezia is widely believed to have had a previous career as Fifi la Bonbon, licenced troll on the pages of the Scotsman who devoted much of her time to lecturing anyone who cared to listen of the evils of homophobic nationalism and accusing everyone who disagreed with her of homophobia or racism, or both simultaneously. When she’s not trolling for Labour, Kezia burns the midnight candle writing articles for that stout supporter of the Labour party and resolute campaigner against the evils of homophobia and racism, the Daily Mail.
On the talk page of her Wikipedia entry it helpfuls informs us that the article about Kezia is of “low importance”. So’s Kezia, and if her public profile was in any way commensurate with her talents that’s how she would remain. BBC management and the Daily Mail beg to differ.
After all the ordure BBC management have caused to fall upon Pacific Quay over the past few years, and at the end of a week when they’ve sunk so low that even Nick Clegg could lecture them from the moral high ground, facing strike action and on the brink of institutional collapse, at the very time they need to do something, anything, that might just start to stuff toilet paper into the gaping chasms that are sinking the ship of the national broadcaster – they get rid of another experienced Scottish broadcaster and give us Kezia Dugdale.
In the surreal imaginings of BBC managers, Kezia is going to be a new, neutral and totally unbiased presenter during a referendum campaign. Wrap your head around that. Go on, I dare you. So in the words of the BBC’s last remaining icon, the brand new Doctor Who, the Time Lord from Planet Thick of It – What. The. Fucked. Fucking. Fuckety. Fuck.
At the very time the BBC in Scotland is crying out for responsible in-depth reporting of the referendum by competent journalists, they’re replacing the last remaining Radio Scotland programme which enjoys a modicum of respect with the semi-articulate Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale as its amateur journo.
But the new show is being balanced by Andrew Wilson, the former SNP MSP who is decidedly on the right of the party. So that makes it all OK then. And won’t create the impression in any potential voter’s mind that a vote for indy equates to a vote for the right. Or that the referendum is just another political party ding-dong. It really is all about alicsammin then. Let’s turn the programme into an audio book version of the Scotsman’s comment pages, that will really interest the listeners.
Imagine thinking BBC managers would countenance such a thing. Evil cybernats.
Actually they probably didn’t countenance it, because that would imply they exercised a degree of thought that would have passed through “Kezia Dugdale you’ve got to be joking” long before it had got as far as page one in the introduction to the Machiavellian playbook of radio scheduling. They just didn’t think at all, except to note that by axing the Ken show they’d save money on expensive staff salaries which is better spent massaging Jim Naughtie’s ego. They just didn’t care about anything much else. Public perceptions? They’re not paid to consider what the little people think.
When faced between possible explanations for a disastrous series of events, it’s invariably the case that it’s going to be a cock-up and not a conspiracy. BBC management’s lack of management skills are such that they’ve managed to transform a cock-up into something that is indistinguishable from a conspiracy. You have to start off with a natural talent for incompetence and then go and take special remedial classes in order to get that bad. But they are effectively unaccountable.
We didn’t need any more evidence that BBC management do not give a toss about public opinion. But just so we get the message we’ve now been presented with the splattered corpse of the BBC’s reputation, fairness dripping into the gutter amidst bloody gore, with a smoking gun and Ken MacQuarrie and John Boothman standing there holding the trigger, the brains of BBC viewers and listeners splattered over their suits. And in an expensively tailored pocket is a handwritten statement saying “We done it, it was us, and we don’t care” signed by the pair of them in their own excrement. They’re just taking the piss now.
Sack them. Sack them now.
But they won’t be sacked. So instead ponder this. This is the broadcasting system that the Unionist parties tell us is us getting the best of both worlds. Which is utter nonsense. Catalonia has several tv networks and numerous radio channels, including a 24 hour news channel of its own.
I’ve made this point several times before, but it needs to be shouted from the rooftops – Gagauzia has its own national broadcaster – and no-one even knows where it is. Gagauzia is a tiny self-governing scrap of territory in the poorest corner Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. It’s the homeland of the Gagauz people, a small community of Turkish speaking Orthodox Christians about 150,000 strong. Gagauzia has fewer people than Aberdeenshire. But unlike Scotland, the Gagauzians are allowed to decide their broadcasting policies for themselves.
The parlous state of BBC Scotland has little to do with not enough money being available – the money is available, but it sure as hell isn’t being spent on Scottish broadcasting. Scottish broadcasting has been reduced so low entirely because of political decisions made by the Westminster parties. They like to keep us ill-informed and stupid.
All three Unionist parties have now revealed their devolution plans, and every single one of them has explicitly ruled out giving Scotland the same degree of political control over its own broadcast media as is enjoyed by the Autonomous Territory of Gagauzia.
There’s only one way that the state broadcaster in Scotland can ever be held to account, and the smoking gun held to the head of senior management to force them to improve their Scottish output – and that’s to vote Yes and get a Scottish national broadcaster. This embarrassing farce has gone on too long.
Update: In the interests of fairness and balance, because I’m not BBC Scotland management, it should be pointed out that Kezia Dugdale denies that she was Fifi la Bonbon. Not that that makes the BBC’s decision to give her a gig on the radio during a national referendum campaign any less gob-smackingly intelligence insulting.