Thursday 15 September 2005

Broadcasting boundaries

You could have guessed that something like this was going to happen:
The SNP's Christine Grahame complained about the level of UK-wide coverage given to a sport she said was of "only marginal interest in Scotland".
I wonder if Ms Grahame is still speaking to her colleague Ms Cunningham:
But Ms Grahame soon found herself embattled after only one of her colleagues, Bruce McFee, signed up in support and another of her other SNP colleagues, Roseanna Cunningham, signed a Tory counter-motion rubbishing her claims.
There was indeed full coverage of the Ashes on television here in Scotland, and it seemed to me that there was a great deal of interest. Over the 25 days of play I visited several of Edinburgh's excellent pubs and, without exception, the Test Match was shown live on TV. These were local establishments, not the "Hooray Henry" places that can be found near the somewhat anglicised University. With only one exception that I noticed, every Scot watching seemed to be supporting England.

Nevertheless, the rather mean-spirited Ms Grahame does have a point. She's clearly out-of-touch when it comes to Scottish interest in cricket, as most of these comments demonstrate. But there is something that antagonises most Scots, nationalist or not.

For example:

This was a specifically English event and should have been covered on English regional news. Had it been Scotland or Wales, that is exactly what would have happened. Another example of the London-based TV stations getting confused between England and the UK. Will they ever learn?
How many people do or don't play cricket in Scotland is irrelevant to the discussion. It is no different to the insufferably verbose coverage that was given in the UK-wide media after the England Rugby World Cup win. It is not the sport that is the problem, it is the crystal clear fact that many south of the border (and very many in the SE) find it almost impossible to make a distinction between England and Britain, and that fact translates through into the media - print and broadcast. That is the area which requires criticism, not leather on willow.
The differentiation between England and Britain has disappeared again.
and again:
I have no interest in cricket, but even if I had - why did the BBC keep saying "the whole nation is celebrating"? Surely, they meant "England" is celebrating? Now I know why a friend of mine calls the 6 o'clock news "The English News".
The BBC really does have to address this problem. After devolution we were told that the BBC would make special efforts to get the England/Britain distinction correct. Of course, such a policy should have applied pre-devolution as well. But the BBC doesn't seem able to get it right. On "national" British news programmes we still get a stream of items about health, education, policing and so on that do not apply throughout the UK but that are presented as if they do. That kind of sloppiness does the SNP's work for it.


David Farrer said...

Comment made on previous template:

But "England" is the wrong name for the team, tho' hallowed by tradition. It's always been open to Welsh, Scots, Irish and, in earlier days, British residents from the Empire such as the great Ranji. The best skipper England ever had was a Scot (Douglas Jardine), Mike Denness skippered within my memory, Ian Peebles was a Scot, Tony Greig qualified by Scots bloody cetera. What a pathetic bunch of small-minded mingers those .... Ach, sod it!

28 September 2005, 06:55:02 GMT+01:00
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The bbc is under orders to use the word England only if another word will not suffice. Politicians of all parties including the tories now say 
"English regions", notice Rifkind was using this term in Scotland this week. They are all pretending nothing has changed since devolution. 
Why the tories are wandering about Scotland I don't know. The tories are committed to answering the west lothian question, so it's pointless voting for them.

16 September 2005, 00:19:04 GMT+01:00
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Donald McCampbell
One positive may be the reawakening of Jerusalem as the traditional national anthem of England. I really hate it when God Save the Queen is booed by the Celts before playing England. 
If you want to be truly pedantic, Doctorvee, we should call it the England, Wales and South Africa Team with Zimbabwean Coaches.

15 September 2005, 22:46:08 GMT+01:00
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Perhaps if there was a BBC England it would be shown on that station, but the BBC won't allow us our own channel BBC for England.  
They won't even allow us to be a nation on their history website  
they say England is made of up regions now (Labour have sliced England into 9 regions don't you know?), and it would look messy on their website - I kid you not. 
So whilst you claim the beeb are pro English, they most certainly are not. There are many,many more examples of their anti English stance.  
Pro cricket? Not even that. That was the last time they are allowing it to be shown at all, so the fuss is rather pointless. You won't be seeing it ever again on the beeb. 
And as for the regions, that great Scotsman Kennedy said, "it questions the very existence of England." To a Scottish audience, of course. Nonetheless, he and Blair campaigned arm in arm for them. They lost the vote by 78% in my area of England(we want our own parliament) so the rest of the country are not allowed to vote at all.  
Right, I could rant on all day, but what's the point? You were brought up to believe that we have it all and Scotland is eternally hard done by and why upset that myth with the truth.

15 September 2005, 19:08:25 GMT+01:00
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I believe that players from Scotland and Wales can play for the England cricket team.

15 September 2005, 17:43:46 GMT+01:00
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We need a BBC England like you have a BBC Scotland. 
I've written to the BBC about this and they are 'committed to regional broadcasting', which basically means that we in England cannot have a national station like you do in Scotland.

15 September 2005, 17:42:39 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

To be a bit pedantic here, the 'England' cricket team is a bit of a misnomer since it is governed by the England and Wales cricket board (and I believe there were two Welsh players in the victorious Ashes side), which confuses the which-nation-is-celebrating argument yet further.

15 September 2005, 16:12:02 GMT+01:00
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"This was a specifically English event and should have been covered on English regional news. " 
It may have escaped some of us up here but there is no English regional news. There is no news that unites England as a nation. I know in my office the interest from fellow Scots was phenomenal though. Next year I believe it will only be on Sky so we don't have to worry about it.

15 September 2005, 14:55:20 GMT+01:00
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Quite right. England, regardless of what the politicians say, is a nation. It just so happens to be a nation that has no political representation (at the national level). I suspect the beeb were refering to the nation of England rather than the Union. 
This is, after all, the very crux of the problem for many of the English and the more people use the word Nation when describing England the better as far as I am concerned. 
Naturally, if the beeb was actualy refering to the Union when it made that statement then they should quite rightly be put right.

15 September 2005, 14:15:13 GMT+01:00
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Donald McCampbell
You said that ordinary Scotsmen were supporting the England Cricket Team in pubs, so it is reasonable to suppose that they celebrated their victory. 
The phrase 'the whole nation is celebrating' is not to be taken literally: huge numbers detest cricket, or any sport for that matter. 
Anyway, England is a nation (if Scotland is), so you should have inferred the nation of England, surely?

15 September 2005, 13:30:23 GMT+01:00