Friday, June 4, 2021

Take 3: The parliamentary petition on transferring all powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament! (Updated)

UPDATE: Thanks to your help, the petition has received enough signatures to be checked for publication, and no more signatures can be accepted while that is happening, so I've removed the links below.  I'll let you know what happens.

So, as you'll probably remember, I made a second attempt a few days ago at starting a petition on the UK Parliament website calling for all necessary steps to be taken to bring about a Scottish entry at the Eurovision Song Contest.  I completely changed the wording to address the stated reasons for the rejection of the first one, and I identified specific steps that could be taken that are fully within the Westminster parliament's powers.  I suggested on this blog that a second rejection would leave little room for doubt that the people in charge of the petitions process weren't acting in good faith - and that's exactly what has happened.  Ludicrously, the wording of the rejection email this time was identical to the first one, even though the reasons in it quite plainly didn't apply to the new petition.  

What seems to be going on is that they have a stock rejection wording for any petition with "Eurovision" in the title, and are just sending that out regardless of what the petition actually calls for.  That being the case, there's clearly no point in trying to adjust the petition any further, and it's time for a completely new tack.  I'm now attempting to start a petition calling for the wholesale transfer of broadcasting powers to the Scottish Parliament, and I've merely mentioned a Scottish Eurovision entry in passing as one of several possible benefits.

On paper, this petition meets all the conditions for publication, so it should be accepted, but in practice there are no guarantees - I had a look through a number of rejected petitions relating to devolution, and the reasons for rejection were often entirely bogus (ie. "this is a matter for the people of Scotland and Wales", when in reality Westminster retains the absolute power to unilaterally change the devolution settlements without consent, and indeed has repeatedly used that power).  But all we can do is try.  Once again, five signatures will be needed for the petition to be checked (and thank you for your patience in this matter!).

By the way, I know some people will object to this petition on the basis that we shouldn't be trying to 'make devolution work', we should instead be trying to get independence and that way we'll automatically get broadcasting powers.  But the whole point of the exercise is to demonstrate that devolution isn't working and can't work, because no UK government will ever respect the wishes of the people on what powers should be devolved.  If by any chance the petition is published and reaches 10,000 signatures, the government would be required to respond to it.

Petition title: Devolve legislative powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament 

What is being called for: Scotland's devolution settlement should be strengthened by removing broadcasting from the long list of policy areas that are reserved to Westminster. The elected Scottish Parliament should be given the power to restructure the TV and radio landscape in line with the wishes of the people of Scotland. 

More details: Westminster's retention of essentially all powers over Scottish broadcasting is inconsistent with the claim that the Scottish Parliament is "the most powerful devolved parliament in the world". The long-overdue transfer of these powers to the Scottish Parliament would enable BBC Scotland and the Scottish ITV franchises to be reformed to meet the needs of Scottish audiences in terms of drama, news, comedy, a Scottish entry at the Eurovision Song Contest, and coverage of Scottish sporting teams. 


  1. Excellent, James. I see you already got your five signatures.

    I think we all know that the pro-Union lock on all our broadcast media costs us - what - a good 10 percentage points on the pro-independence vote?

    As the current Westminster regime are well aware of the propaganda power of the Great British Meeja Machine, I don't see that there's an icecube's chance in hell of them transferring powers over broadcasting to the Scottish Parliament, but it should help raise public awareness (making people more discriminating in their media consumption), especially if the SG and Parliament get on board and publicly call on Westminster to devolve control. Which begs the question of why haven't they done so already.

  2. That's the best news I've heard in a very long time. Everbody has an interest in this. It will be interesting and fun to hear the arguments against it. For many people Scottish broadcasting means poor quality, regional image and weak production values. That feeds the 'too wee, too poor, too stupid' script. As if it would always be like that. One of the many bountiful products of your petition will be that Scottish media will have to talk about it. It might also produce some friction among those who promote independence but who don't want to talk about the reality of being a nation dominated by another. We rarely see ourselves in what should be our own media. We are given caricatures (comedy) and hyper-correct models (news readers, presenters) but ordinary Scots are effectively barred from mainstream media. It is surely significant that the channel where you are most likely to see and hear other Scots speaking naturally in their own language, Gaelic, Scots, English or whatever, is Alba. As if its normal. Alba is where you are most likely to see and hear people from other countries being asked for their opinions, their feelings. Canada, Wales, Ireland, Poland, Ghana, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Finland, Khazakstan -- the world is huge and diverse and we are a part of it, connected. But in the English broadcasting world there are only two countries, England and the USA. The rest of the world is 'foreign'. We see English and American faces, hear English and American voices. Day in, day out. That's what made Brexit possible. A media wall. We never get to see outside. The Berlin wall came down so why shouldn't the Westminter media wall crumble too? We only need to start chipping away at it. Your petition is a great start.

  3. Brilliant
    I will sign the petition if it comes back around. Thanks James

  4. This got me thinking. The optics of being ignored after a real effort are great. And is why AOC and Co in the US should have tried to force the vote. Unfortunately tho this petition won't get talked about on Scottish media. Still definetly worth it.

    But in your opinion James would it potentially be a good strategy James, to have a devo max ref. Consultative. Nothing illegal there.more powers. Broadcasting. Full tax powers. Everything bar military essentially.

    See Westminster ignore it then surely indy support will grow further?