This whole Jamie Oliver thing has been interesting. That’s annoying, because it doesn’t actually affect me. It’s another one of those Englandandwales stories that becomes the top of the agenda. I get roped in, I find it very interesting and I say, “Yes, it’s good that children will finally be able to eat healthy school dinners.”
And then it strikes me that this actually isn’t going to affect Scotland at all. I forget about it, and the next time I hear a discussion about it on the radio the cycle starts again. Those of you who moan about there not being a BBC England remember this. This story affects England only, and it’s hardly been out of the national news for the past week.
In a way, being interested in school meals in England would be on a par with me being interested in school meals in, say, Holland. Why would I be interested? It may not directly affect Scotland, but it could well indirectly affect me. The situation with school dinners has become a general election issue. If it has a bearing in Westminster then it does actually affect me, on a party political level at least.
The best example of this is the vote on student tuition fees — another Englandandwales matter. It was shown live on BBC Two, which isn’t exactly a common occurance. The vote didn’t affect me, but neither did it affect the average English voter more than any other Commons vote. The story wasn’t in the issue, but it was in the politics. Blair was facing the prospect of a massive Labour rebellion and that’s what made it interesting; that’s why it was shown live on television; and that’s why I was interested even though the vote itself meant little to me.
Nevertheless we are bombarded with Englandandwales stories. “A report shows than in England and Wales this,” and, “A study shows that England and Wales has that.” Most of them are interesting, but only because they’re on the news, not because they’re important to me. I think the answer is a ‘Scottish Six’.
I used to be dead against the idea of a Scottish Six. After all, half an hour of Reporting Scotland is bad enough. But it doesn’t have to just be an hour-long edition of Reporting Scotland. Actually, it must not be allowed to be like Reporting Scotland. Any Scottish Six should run the same important international and national (UK-wide) stories. But they’d be mixed in with Scottish stories with a running order that reflects Scotland’s priorities.
Even if this wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea, there would still plenty of places to get a UK-wide perspective on the news. ITV News would be on the other side, or you could tune into BBC News 24 or Radio Five Live.
I heard that SMG are planning on having a Scottish Ten Thirty on Scottish TV. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t think it would work. It’s probably aimed at competing against Newsnight Scotland, which is a very different programme to the exisiting News at Ten Thirty on ITV1. I think it’s safe to say that six o’clock would be the right time for a bulletin such as the Scottish Six. The Six O’Clock News is significantly less beard-strokey than the Ten O’Clock News. The Six is more tabloidy; it’s got to matter more to the people watching it. A Scottish Six would achieve that.