When I first moved into my current home, one of my early preoccupations was trying to sort out a picture on my shiny new TV.
With the time-honoured stand by of sticking a wire coat hanger in the back failing to deliver a picture, my attention turned to the satellite dish outside the house. Since the dish was pointing in the same direction as others in the street, it seemed there was a fair chance that if I could get my hands on a decoder, I’d be able to get myself sorted out that way.
So it proved, and soon I was able to surf my way through 300 channels of rubbish from all corners of the globe. It’s also been good for the rare occasions when I’ve wanted to keep watching the UK version of Newsnight, instead of the Scottish opt-out.
Newsnight Scotland was in many ways the answer to a question which no-one was asking. It was offered back in 1999 as a sop to stave off calls for a ‘Scottish Six’ news programme. Cleaving as it did the best news programme on the BBC at the time, it was a compromise which irritated Scotland’s unionists and nationalists in equal measure.
The argument for a Scottish Six is as simple now as it was back then. Major Scottish news stories which make the ‘six’ get covered again on Reporting Scotland, while stories about the NHS and education system in England are treated as if they apply to Scotland, when they don’t.
Back in 2007, I had the opportunity to question then BBC Scotland Governor Jeremy Peat about a Scottish Six. While it was, he said at the time a non-starter, he told me that BBC Network reporters and producers were in line for training about devolution and its effects across the UK.
Well and good, I said, but if the existing format couldn’t reflect the diversity of the devolved UK, it was surely time to change to one which could?
The response was mumbled into a wine glass, but carried the impression of not being entirely favourable.
Jeremy Peat stood down from the board of the BBC on Hogmanay. This week, he called in a national newspaper for consideration, not just of a Scottish 6, but a dedicated Scottish 10 o’clock programme as well.
Last week, BBC Scotland announced plans to shed over 100 jobs and £16m of cuts.
At a time of great debate over our future, we deserve a national broadcaster capable of airing the issues and holding our representatives to account, It’s something which liberated from the burdens of office, Jeremy Peat seems to recognise.
The question is, will his successors?