Joan McAlpine MSP has an excellent article in the Scotsman today about how Scotland is poorly served by a public service broadcaster that has yet to come to terms with devolution - and how that problem may be about to get much, much worse if the proposal to turn BBC2 into a 'network-only' channel goes through (it would, by definition, mean the demise of Newsnight Scotland and a considerable amount of Gaelic-language programming). The piece also includes the new titbit of information (or if it had been previously revealed I wasn't aware of it) that the producers of Question Time withdrew an invitation for an SNP representative to take part in the first edition of the show after the Holyrood election, because the party was unable to put forward Salmond or Sturgeon and offered the Education Secretary Mike Russell instead. I trust no TV interviewer will ever again have the gall to ask about the SNP being a "one-man band" after that little revelation!
Just by coincidence, my attention was drawn to a forum thread the other day (because someone linked to here from it) discussing the merits of the Scottish Six idea. One of the arguments against it was that countries with highly decentralised political systems such as the USA and Australia nevertheless have nationwide network TV news programmes, just as the UK does. That's quite true, but it's still a red herring. The US and Australia both have fully federal systems, which means that network news programmes will generally focus on what the federal government is up to, and will only deal with state-level matters if it's of genuine nationwide relevance or interest. Otherwise, people have to go to their local media for coverage of domestic state issues. But under the UK system of asymmetric devolution, 'national' broadcasters have a ready-made excuse for endlessly focussing on domestic English affairs - namely that those matters remain the province of the UK government, and therefore must be of interest to a UK-wide audience. Even when they aren't.