LETTERS: Nothing parochial about a dedicated Scottish Six

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The Scottish cringe is alive and well when Brian Monteith (News, August 5) refers to the proposed BBC TV Scottish Six as “petty parochialism”.

Twenty years ago the idea had overwhelming support, but as revealed by former Labour spin doctor Lance Price, it was sabotaged in October 1998 by Tony Blair, in collusion with the BBC’s John Birt. Since then it has become a political football.

It is ironic that those against Scottish self-determination erroneously claim that we have one of the strongest parliaments in the world, yet oppose any serious outward-looking news coverage or political debate from Scotland at peak viewing times.

Brian Monteith’s comment that a Scottish Six could only be funded through huge cuts to BBC Scotland’s budget for drama, sports and entertainment is laughable as the latest BBC annual report shows that Wales gets around 95 per cent of its licence fee back and Northern Ireland gets around 72 per cent but Scotland gets a mere 55 per cent.

For example, last season BBC spent £1.2 million on Scottish league football coverage but over £66m on England’s Match of the Day.

The Tory UK government is seeking more influence over the proposed new BBC management structure while the head of BBC Scotland has been relegated to the third tier of management.

BBC Scotland ought to be a powerhouse of creativity and talent, reflecting the new vibrant politics and culture we have seen in this country.

However, it remains a poorly resourced branch office fit only for keeping the natives happy on a diet of court cases, car crashes and Old Firm football.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Spare us another £1.5m White Paper

It took about 18 months to produce, ran to 650 pages and cost almost 
£1.5 million of taxpayers’ money. Yet SNP MP Tommy Sheppard tells us that a new version of the White Paper is required.

This means that the ‘blueprint’ for independence would have struggled to have relevance beyond the projected ‘independence day’ in March this year. So much for the vision of the SNP.

I wonder if Mr Sheppard would like to tell us who would be liable to pay for the new version?

Given that one thing the SNP is very good at is amassing money for its own party, perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask that it pays for the pursuit of its obsession out of its own funds.

Indeed maybe it could make it a money-spinner by turning it into an annual.

Colin Hamilton, Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

Small countries have beautiful economies

Based on data from the World Bank and IMF, analysis by Global Finance Magazine has established that smaller countries continue to dominate the list of the world’s richest countries, while the top three are unchanged from 2015.

Lessons to be learnt here for our own ‘small’ country of Scotland 
perhaps.

The magazine ranked the world’s countries according to their gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita.

The PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries to compare living standards among the different nations.

Twelve of the 25 richest countries are in Europe, while the US and Canada also made the cut. The UK did not make the top 25, ranking at no.27 with a GDP per capita of £27,241.

Topping the table is the Gulf State of Qatar, with a population of over two million (£101,406 per capita) and in second place is Luxembourg (£65,339 per capita), with a population on a par with that of Edinburgh. In third place is Singapore (£58,909 per capita), with a population on a par with Scotland. Norway, with a population less than Scotland lies in sixth place (£46,962 per capita) and Ireland, despite its previous economic troubles, lies in 14th place (£33,882 per 
capita).

Smaller countries have an agility that is lacking in their larger neighbours, developing a culture of entrepreneurship and playing to their natural advantages.

As we look towards our constitutional future it is smaller countries, many of whom possess considerably less resources and people than our own, who lead the way. This is where our future lies.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Mason’s Barrhead boycott is worrying

SNP MSP John Mason makes things worse as he tries to justify his Barrhead Travel boycott remarks explaining that he believes businesses should not take sides over the independence referendum, saying they should “think twice because of what might happen”.

What does that mean? Is he really saying that businesses should not express concerns about what impact a given decision or policy might have on their business, because of fear of upsetting the SNP?

Keith Howell, West Linton, Peeblesshire

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