One Nil

Poor Theresa sure misjudged this one. The scoffs that Sturgeon was bluffing look limp and laughable now, no doubt based partly on the murmurings of her Scottish outpost where Foghorn Ruth has been bellowing No Surrender.

So used are we to asserting the arrogance of Westminster that it hardly registers today but here it has been on display with a vengeance. Sturgeon cleverly did not threaten independence, rather she accepted the UK vote but wanted Scotland’s separate decision respected. Would it have hurt May too much to have made it known she had investigated with Brussels the possibility of such a deal on separate membership of the Single Mafrket – only to be told it was proving difficult?

Did she openly debate the UK remaining in the European Economic Area where a Norway option might have been used to assuage Scottish opinion?

Could she have brought herself so low as to meet Sturgeon to propose a joint responsibility for ag and fish after Brexit?

Has she given any iota of respect to anyone except the madcap Brexiteers by wilfully bypassing parliament and ignoring the 48 per cent? In a pale impersonation of Thatcher she has stamped her foot. No! No! No!

She cut Sturgeon, and therefore Scotland, out of the thinking and decision-making process so that the First Minister spoke unaware if May was about to make an Article 50 declaration. Such is our place in the Union. So much for 50 MPs. So much for devolved government. So much for respect. A real politician would not make these basic errors. The saddest part of this story is the use of the phrase…’she will ask permission to hold a referendum…’ That is the Union is miniature. Somebody else will decide if we have the right to vote on our European future – us, Scotland, one of the ancient nations of Europe, in supplicant mode to people who do little more than spit metaphorically at our feet.

She has in fact provoked a reaction by her intransigence, goading her opponent into the nuclear option which was spelled out all along in her manifesto. Tory moans  now, led by Davidson, that the promise of indyref2 does not stand up because the SNP lost a majority of seats is cackhanded  democracy. The SNP won the election. Decisively. Davidson did not.

She is in a poor position to complain  about division. Nothing has divided Britain like her party’s suicidal dalliance with xenophobia and narrow nationalism. There is no division greater than removing ourselves from the world’s biggest international power sharing bloc and richest market place.

Sturgeon has done a rare thing – acted like a leader. She has been clear, consistent and committed. She has also retaliated against a two-faced opponent who offered blandishments but reneged when it mattered. Now May will, as I wrote last week, enter the Brexit talks with a broken pencil and carrying someone else’s notes. She no longer commands all she surveys and will be a more shrunken figure viewed from the other side of the negotiating table.

The strength of the economy and the trade balance shows the UK’s muscle, she will aver. Not without the oil and the whisky exports, she will be reminded. Renewable energy sources but not Scotland’s, Prime Minister…etc. All the way through the irritating adjustments will have to be made for the possibility of Scotland’s departure from  one union and remaining in another.

Her job just got a lot more complex and the fact is she’s already at sea and listing in favour of the anti-EU ideologues who’d rather play with Trump than Brussels. She lost what control she had today to a smarter politician. It was a mistake not to engage Sturgeon and try to enlist her in the process however tangentially to appear at least to be keeping her on side for as long as possible. Instead of reading it as a Sturgeon bluff, she needed to realise the impossible position Sturgeon is in given her manifesto commitment and try to help her out in order to rescue the Union. May’s lack of trust in.her equals and her unhealthy abhorrence of parliament are creating a figure of Shakespearean tragedy. As the cost of Brexit unravels before us, today’s sudden thrust of the dagger will be the first of many.

 

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View from Arthur’s Seat

In the early hours, found myself on Twitter – a bit like the President – and found this. It’s from Jackie Kemp whom I criticised for her views on independence not long ago so, to be fair, I reprint now her thoughts after the EU referendum. And most welcome they are. I like the connection between our history and culture with a European tradition and a  more elevated view of the world beyond trade and immigration.

For most of my life when I went home to Selkirk, I was routinely hailed as Graham – my father’s name. I liked the idea that people, who only vaguely knew me nevertheless knew who I was by association. And both my father and I were in the same trade of journalism which made it appropriate – like being known as Jones the Post or Williams the Bread in a Welsh valley.

So, for those who don’t know I’ll introduce Jackie the journalist as daughter of Arnold, late giant of Scottish newspapers, still keenly missed. She won’t mind. She is keeper of his archive and of his memory.

On which point I remembered him when journos gathered in the Jinglin Georgie in  honour of Ian Bell. Arnold was an habituee of Fleshmarket Close, as I was myself, now heading towards the fiftieth year since I first entered the Scotsman’s hallowed doors. We may ponder what both would make of Scotland and our media today.

Anyway., here’s Jackie….

March 11, 2017.
Climbing Arthur’s Seat on an overcast March day, thinking about politics, I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon is going to call a second independence referendum; if Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 next week. Holyrood Park is busy – the route to the top is thronged and I hear snatches of conversation in many languages: French, then Polish, French again. A group of fit-looking German men files onto the path above me. It seems to me, returning after an absence of a few months, that Edinburgh increasingly feels like a European capital.

Behind me an English student is entertaining a visitor: “This is ten minutes from campus.” They are arguing about whether the rock paths laid on the hillside to protect it from erosion could be considered natural. “Is an anthill natural? Ants modify their environment.”

I move aside to let them pass, looking down at the upturned boat shapes of the Scottish Parliament, designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles, at the entrance to the park. There, the gold stars of the European flag are flapping in the breeze. I consider the issue of the rights of EU citizens resident here.

First Minister Sturgeon has assured the many European citizens who live and work here that their contribution is valued and their rights will be protected as far as she is able. This is in stark contrast to the mood music coming from the government in London. The situation north of the border is different. Scotland’s population has hardly risen in a century and it needs more immigration not less. The country benefits hugely from the presence of the EU nationals who work in every area of life and it is an issue of general concern that they have had almost a year of uncertainty and anxiety about their status. Friends of mine are in this category and I can only imagine how difficult it is.

EU nationals resident in the rest of the UK have not been treated with respect by their government. It is all very well for Tories, like Lord Forsyth on Any Questions on BBC Radio Four last night, to denounce their worries as needless and say they should apply for citizenship. But that costs almost £1000 for an adult or a child. Some don’t want to do it anyway. And rumours fly – the fact that the Westminster government has not chosen to unilaterally guarantee their right to remain suggests it may be bargained with.

It is a compelling argument for an independent Scotland in the EU that it would mean Scots free to work and trade across Europe and the many amazing Europeans who choose to live and contribute here could do so with confidence.

I carry on with the climb, looking over as a shaft of cool, northern light illuminates the huge dome of Edinburgh University’s McEwen Hall. This place sees an increasing number of Europeans in graduation gowns; it is popular with EU students who can study on more favourable terms than south of the border, and they are now more than ten percent of the intake. Edinburgh’s resounding 75% vote to remain in the European Union, higher than anywhere in the UK, adds to the sense of welcome.

There is a sense of shared belief, shared purpose, shared goals with other European countries. The European project to work closely together to avoid conflict on our continent, to guarantee human rights and to treat people equally, chimes with Edinburgh’s values. Over in the west of the city, I can see the top of another impressively-domed building, the Usher Hall. At the International Festival founded in 1947, when the musicians and artists of the continent strived to replace the guns of war with the language of culture, the Austrian Jewish pianist Artur Schnabel returned from the US to play there. And the Vienna Philharmonic, which contained 60 former members of the Nazi Party, played there too.

I carry on up the hill, this time tuning into the conversation of two locals entertaining a European visitor. “It’s only an hours drive to England, but London is eight hours drive.” They tell their friend that the north of England is being badly managed from the south of England. “They are on the point of rebelling.”

That may be wishful thinking. But it is a reminder of another concern for me: that the current Westminster government is led by the right-wing of the Conservative party and that it’s approach to Brexit is ideological and rankly reckless.

While breakfasting on porridge and tea this morning, I listened to the Director of the Centre for European Reform Charles Grant tell Good Morning Scotland that not enough people in London understand the legal, financial and technical complexity of Brexit: “Our partners in Europe worry that the people with the most influential positions around number 10 and the Prime Minister are not great EU experts, and they worry that the British don’t know what they are getting into. You can’t just cut through all this boring bureaucratic stuff. You can just leave the EU. But then there’s no law governing contracts, there’s no law governing companies working in the EU but based in Britain or vice versa, or the rights of individuals living in the EU or vice versa.”

Boris Johnson is still saying all this will be easy. Does he know what he’s talking about? Johnson and his colleagues are burning bridges and damaging alliances across the continent. Perception is important and they are creating the impression that England is not friendly to Europe.

The Westminster government is also ignoring the spirit of the devolution settlement and all that was said in the run up to the last independence referendum about the UK being a union of equals. In a union of equal nations, the fact that one of them clearly voted a different way would be regarded as an important issue, not dismissed as if this were the same as an equivalent number of voters in the other country. Appearing to treat Scotland’s institutions with contempt may be a dangerous course.

Taking a breather on the edge of the path, I hear a cough and an “Excuse me”, right behind me. A middle-aged English couple, lightly dressed for a muddy afternoon on the hill, seem to be in some difficulty getting out of a rocky dip up onto the path where I am standing. I stretch out a hand and help the woman, who is ahead, up onto firmer ground. They smile and thank me.

My third issue in terms of a second Scottish independence referendum is that the prospect of Scottish independence would be a cause for regret in many ways. We have had a long alliance with the other UK countries, I feel at home down south and would be reluctant to give up my share in it. It seems to me it would be worth considering this challenging course only to preserve our membership of the EU. A future being out of both the EU and the UK sounds like isolation. But I also wonder if Scotland can best exert its influence on the situation by holding a second referendum. If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ this could be grounds for a second referendum on EU membership.

The UK will likely dissolve. If there is a hard Brexit, surely it would be folly for the Westminster government to try to maintain a hard border across 300 miles of Ireland. And Dublin presumably would be reluctant to do so. The obvious answer would be to move the border to the mainland, and create a united Ireland.

For England, if an independent Scotland were going to remain part of Europe, the best hope of managing the future relationships of the former UK countries would be for all to be part of the EU. That would allow the common travel zone to continue, free trade and so on. Surely, England would have to think again?

I reach the rocky summit, worn smooth by legions of feet over the centuries, and look across the city to the blue of the Firth of Forth and Fife beyond. Here is gathered a polyglot crowd of – mostly – the jeunesse of Europe.

Something has shifted in the emotional landscape. In 2014, Scottish independence would not have been welcomed in other EU capitals. It was viewed as divisive. But now, Scotland’s civic nationalism is seen more positively in contrast with the right-wing views populism of ‘Les Brexiteers”.

As I stand here, my dog resting after the walk, looking down towards the port of Leith and the Firth beyond where ships once brought wine from France and oranges from Spain, where a new bridge spans the waterway, I feel perhaps Scotland should seize this moment. I was a No voter in 2014, but if Nicola Sturgeon triggers another independence referendum next year, while Scotland is still a member of the EU, I will vote ‘Yes’. The situation has changed, and I have changed my view.

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Start Talking

I imagine the Leader sweeping into the room, mouth in a tight smile, eyes glinting within intent. She is flanked by officials, carefully fanning out abreast and a step or two behind. ‘M. Barnier. I am here to present the case for leaving the EU on behalf of Britain.’

‘On behalf of Britain, perhaps, Prime Minister. But not surely the case on behalf of the United Kingdom. The people of Northern Ireland voted to remain and have since endorsed that position by returning a majority of pro-EU politicians in the Stormont elections. The people of Scotland also voted to remain and now their government is awaiting your reply to their request for an independence vote in order to assume your place in the European Union. You represent the case of the English people only…and of course the Welsh.’

‘Nevertheless, I speak for my country. I will not tolerate any divide and rule tactics.’

‘But surely division is exactly what your policy amounts to…dividing Europe. And the legacy of history demands that you also address the interests of the Irish people whose peace and prosperity have been anchored by the EU treaties. I must warn you that all of us on this side have very much the interests of all those wishing to retain European citizenship at heart and in mind.’

If Nicola Sturgeon does announce a referendum plan (without date) before the end of March, the unity of the British government position on Brexit will be further undermined. Division within Theresa May’s ‘own country’ vocalised into outright doubt about her strategy, will be a seriously debilitating handicap in the EU talks.

Such a huge undertaking, while inevitably splitting opinion, really needs some mutual accommodation before a united front can confidently be presented. It would be the same if the EU negotiators arrived at the table with a handful of dissenting countries proclaiming their resistance to the EU’s terms. The British problem is that there is no healing, no resolution among the constituent parts of the kingdom. Nicola Sturgeon’s acceptance of the British vote is (was) dependent on a separate arrangement for Scotland which is not forthcoming.  Now we find that the lifeline from political and economic blight still afflicting parts of Northern Ireland that European membership represents is a powerful magnet for voters. The relative decline of Unionism in the North is a stinging reminder to a British nationalist Prime Minister that her country is far from united.

This hands leverage to the Brussels deal-makers who can ask at every stage how arrangements will go down in the unsettled parts of the country in the knowledge that most of it will be rejected. It allows too for mischief-making. How does the May team respond if, out of the blue, Brussels suggests a bespoke deal for Ulster and Scotland?

Worse, the British team will know they don’t speak for the whole country and their efforts are likely to be dogged by protest and demonstration at home.

The Chancellor’s diversion of funds away from public services into a Brexit fund is the clearest sign that sabre rattling has already caused wobbles at Westminster. The very public demands for reparations of up to £60bn as the  cost of leaving – and quite possibly the price of any progress in the talks at all – has forced the government to concede the point without the talks even starting or Article 50 being triggered. (Remember how £350m would go to the NHS each week?)

There  will be no hiding the decisions made as the talks proceed – the 27 will see to that – and the full reality of Brexit will be slowly revealed to the British public. Across the North of England, heartland of Leave voters, opinion has already moved, in some cases dramatically with some polls finding 60 per cent of Leavers now reverting to 60 per cent Remainers.

The scandals of EU nationals being forced to leave and the impact on public services will gather pace at the same time as shop prices, including food, rise noticeably. A fall in net migration is likely but at a cost of lost business and higher prices. Meanwhile the racists will realise that immigration from the rest of the world, notably the Commonwealth, continues.

If May’s intransigence and arrogance thus far are carried over into the negotiations, they could go very badly indeed. Needling the Commission with threats ignores the sheer scope for retaliation that could be forthcoming. Noises off in Brussels could include clear indications that a seamless establishment of Scotland as successor nation was under active consideration. Even – imagine – a joint Scotland-Ulster membership which recognises both in a curtailed Union and removes the need for a border with the Republic.

Instead of Global Britain, we might soon see Little Britain, shorn of all that makes it united, and the decline of the UK as a European nation.

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Zulu!

Much activity at Castle Bateman including a visit by a friend from Oxford who didn’t mind staying with an anti English racist. I’m working on all my English pals and family in readiness for the end of devolution which has about two years left to run. There will be little point in staying in Scotland when all the [powers that make us different have been repatriated. And there will be lots of employment opportunities in London at the head of Empire2. Luckily I’ve been reading up on the Zulu wars so will be well placed as head of the Africa Desk. In the spirit of Empire, I know how to talk to the natives and have mastered the  process of smile, promise, proffer coloured beads followed by gunpoint in chest.

I used to worry about docile Scots pretending not to notice when their country was being humiliated because it was easier than actually doing something about it. But you know what? We’ve kind of learned to get used to it, so long as it happens a wee bit at a time. And if we’re not exactly on our knees, well, we’ve taught ourselves how to hirple with dignity.

Part of the process is silence. As it always is with insidious movements. I was struck by the deafening sound of nothingness from Labour circles when Ian Taylor put his £500,000 into Better Together. His rapacious company and his links to the Tories – which prompted public alarm from Douglas Alexander prior to the indyref – were quietly forgotten when his money was put to the cause of fighting self government. The same voices were silent or even supportive over Khan’s snake-like intervention in our politics.

Of course, the usual voices were raised in condemnation (with Paul Kavanagh especially prominent in my timeline) but where was the wider progressive movement in Scotland? Did I miss the STUC chipping in? What about the professional organisations – the doctors, architects, academics and all those groupings who want to be heard  on issues they think to be of importance? They all dally and schmooz with the nationalist government in their own interest. So when the dominant political credo and half the voting public are traduced in this way, why the shyness?

And isn’t it strange that our media can pump itself up with outrage at tittle tattle on Twitter yet remain cowed when the very basis of the constitutional settlement is ripped up. I recall the rallying call of the brave ‘Scottish media’ during the devolution years when we campaigned for an Assembly and a Parliament. It was at times like the warm-up to the World Cup[ (when we qualified). Everybody was a patriot. There was high dudgeon in the leader columns. No shirking, Blair! We’re watching you…

Only the Tories stood against, betraying their true instincts which are returning now as they feel the adrenaline of Churchillian Britain course in their blood with each Labour convert. With Labour behind the Assembly plan, it was safe for the papers to play along and of course, behind it lay the notion that devolution would leave the SNP bandwagon up on bricks.

What we  witness today is the welching on that commitment to which the Tories were never truly wedded. Devolution saved their skin and now they will murder the very thing that kept them alive. They will do so with no mandate. The infusion of die-hard Unionist votes deserting Labour has acted like heroin on the Tories giving them delusions. To imagine Davidson as First Minister is the political equivalent of Renton emerging from the lavvy pan.

Here we are haunted by our own words from 2014. If we hand back control we will lose it all. We will be at the mercy of every Labour careerist and neo-con crank that English voters elect. And here we are, not a generation later but a mere three years, heading out of Europe on a wave of jingoism, GDP losing £2400, the pound falling, eternal Tory government, ballooning national debt, Trident renewal, renewables halted, Sewell revealed as hot air and powers to be repatriated.

But you know all this. Here’s the bit that has frightened me.

In recent months I’ve listened to voices outside the bubble. Conversations, observations, overhearings and the anecdotal assimilation of remarks – social osmosis if you like. What do people really think who aren’t on Twitter and regularly engaged because, you know politics is boring. Or those who are a million miles removed from my opinions – what do they feel that I don’t.

Well, it’s clear to me they hate the SNP. Not surprised? You may have been subjected to more of it than I have but I can only say the degree of venom reserved for nationalism has surprised and depressed me. What I think of as a progressive, outward, democratic, justice-centred ideal based on the fundamental human right of self-determination is, in their eyes, a terrifying and dangerous experiment by people who don’t know what they’re doing. The SNP is dictatorial, doesn’t allow dissent, isn’t interested in alternative views. It is unbending and, even if the facts don’t fit, it doesn’t matter, it behaves like a one party state. It is turning society upside down. It is rallying every ne’er-do-well and social misfit to rise up. It is shouty and pushy. It is disrespectful. There are no words adequately to encompass the sheer evil empire of Sturgeon and ‘That man’ (Salmond).

It is reminiscent of the public vilification of the Tories under Thatcher which at least had the benefit of justification in my view because of the policies which were manifestly disabling and not supported by the voters. For some Scots it seems that the SNP and the Yes movement is the Black Death.

I’m not entirely sure on what all this is based as it seems to be incoherent. Even policies the speaker might support are somehow ‘typical of the SNP’. Asked if they’d prefer an alternative like Labour or leaving the EU, they dismiss it as besides the point. It is fascinating to realise that the same ill-feeling does not always transmit to the British government. Any rational assessment of the Tories with their state snooping, brutal austerity, child poverty, money for nukes and Royals, accumulation of enormous debt and casual contempt for the nations of the UK, is seen as part of the problems a government has to wrestle with. It’s as if anything said in a plummy voice after the bongs of Big Ben must be Britain gamely doing its best. But who do these upstarts at Holyrood think they’re kidding…

There may be an issue that none of the non-SNP [parties are led by anyone of stature or intellect, so if you’re biased against the nationalists, you’ve nothing much to hold on to. But it’s beginning to feel like Brussels, an institution that struggles to sell itself and which people find it hard to relate to. They wonder what it does when there is a real government in London. This is partly the harvest of success. It breeds resentment and for many not these folk, they can’t see anything that will stop it. Fear therefore is one of the triggers. Almost anything Westminster does they can handle because its familiar but they have no sense of Scotland (other than as part of the UK) which can replicate that. Against rational thought they have opted for default antipathy and will endure anything, including Brexit, to see the nats  put back in their box.

British behaviour in Zululand was irrational too as soon as they realised the Zulu weren’t falling for their blandishments. The British reverted to form and deployed massive force to get their way.  So, Assegais at the ready, friends…Usuthu! Usuthu!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello Good Evening and Welcome

I’ve just been interviewed by BBC Scotland for their new digital channel.

‘So, Derek. What do you think of our plans for a dedicated nightly channel with a full bulletin of international news?’

‘Well, Jackie, I’m overwhelmed. Frankly, I didn’t think they’d have the guts to do it. But I was wrong. This will definitely settle the Nationalists’ hash.’

‘Have you seen the running order?’

‘I certainly have and I’m delighted to see that three of the five hours will be filmed in your lovely home interviewing celebrity guests like Lulu and John Barrowman under the title At Home with Jackie. I also think it’s a real media coup to get David Mundell to present the news hour so we can get his unique take on current affairs. I hear his first exclusive is how he shared an office suite with Alistair Carmichael for all those months but never heard a word about a plan to leak a memo claiming Sturgeon wanted the Tories to win the last election. Apparently Mundell used to dive into cupboards when he saw him coming and locked himself in the loo shouting la la la when Carmichael tried to tell him. Amazing story…’

‘Critics have said it will be parochial and will be used to project a British Unionist view of the country. That can’t be true, can it?’

‘Certainly not. If you can extrapolate the price of oil into an international story affecting Scotland, you can do the same with the price of mince in Auchtermuchty which I understand is £2 a kilo at the Co-op but only £1.75 at Lidl – and they’re German so the Brexit equation looms large there, Jackie.’

‘Eh…I see. But will it do enough to silence SNP critics?’

‘Absolutely, especially the interactive idea. I think fastening GA Ponsonby into an electric chair and asking viewers to press the Red Button to send 300 volts through him will be a ratings hit. And, of course, it will also engage the European Court of Human Rights and possibly the Geneva Convention so there’s an international angle right there.’

‘Are there any drawbacks?’

‘Well, I think naming the channel the Queen Elizabeth Memorial BBC North British BBC One will alienate some and not everyone will wait to hear God Save the Queen played out at midnight but then people said that late night show with Sarah Smith wouldn’t last and look at it now…’

‘I must say, it’s great to have you back in the studio, Derek.’

‘Thanks, Jackie. You don’t think the Union Jack waistcoat is too much then…?’

 

Now, if the BBC really did ask me I’d say what we have here is a platform to launch a whole new look at current affairs, not just Scottish-related news. The danger of the Scottish Six was that it would necessarily follow a certain low-key, hum drum path well worn over the years because it’s tea-time (families!) and the tone has to fit broadly with the UK news which proceeds it. In other words, international or not, it would, if it did its job, merely reflect the normal BBC news agenda – and repeat stories you’d already seen if you watched both.

But starting at 7pm and with news not on air until 9pm when children are abed – well, certainly mine are – there is a chance for some proper grown-up broadcasting. It could even be edgy, you know, challenging and eye-opening. There could even be adult themes which right now are regarded as taboo in BBC land unless handled by an ironic London presenter. If you have a blank page which this pretty much is apart from the news itself, you have space for the stories that lie outwith the diary-led, PR company, corporate spin machine – and you can get indy people to make them. (That’s independent producers, not freedom fighters). The BBC blurb wants to work with the creative sector. Well here is the chance to commission a whole panorama (pun, there) of ideas from budding film makers who can use today’s accessible technology to tell stories that fall outside the predictable purview of the BBC tram tracks.

They needn’t be 30 minutes but maybe seven minute injects or quarter hours. When you’ve got time to use, you don’t need to be tied down to standard durations.

I do hope they don’t rely on too many existing staff who will bring that deadly sense of familiarity. This is a chance to break with the past and uncover new talent, to take a different approach. The charter will demand balance (ahem) but that doesn’t mean that people with opinions shouldn’t be commissioned to make programmes from their standpoint – so long as someone with an alternative view also has access.

This excites me like the year of the indyref did. I wanted BBC Scotland to step up and project our broadcasters as the best there is. We should have produced the gold standard in reporting in 2014 and made the BBC the must-go place for what was an international story. It didn’t happen that way but here is another opportunity that really can’t be allowed to have the BBC’s corporate chloroform clamped over its mouth.

Let’s start firing in ideas for programmes. Demand access. Insist on new formats and proper budgets. If it’s our BBC channel, let’s claim it. And I’d like it to dovetail closely with Alba because it is through an overlap between the two that a sustained renaissance in Gaelic can grow right across the Scottish media and find its way into every home and laptop.

I know, I know. I’m going to be disappointed. Bound to be. But there can be no excuses for Donalda Mackinnon now. She has the basic kit with which to win back an audience and, with such a low budget compared to Scotland’s licence fee take, plenty of scope for claiming more resources – if she an make a success of it. Come on, Donalda. ‘S urrainn dhut a dhèanamh!

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