Monday, 16 June 2008

Skotgaela Radio The Herald:

Gaelic broadcasters seem to lack the inhibitions of their English language counterparts. While the rest of BBC Scotland is mired in apathy and despair over endless financial cuts, the Gaelic crowd is full of confidence. The big broadcasting event of the year in Scotland is the launch this summer of a Gaelic television channel for which BBC Scotland is training legions of young Gaelic broadcasters.

This is great for the language, but I can't help feeling there is a bit of a cultural deficit opening up with those of us unfortunate enough not to speak it. The proposal to perhaps put some English language programmes on the Gaelic TV channel doesn't quite fill it.

Now, can I say again - because feelings are very raw here - that I am not posing this as a Gaelic versus English-language issue. The problem is the weakness of the mainstream service rather than the influence of the Gaelic lobby. All power to it. Gaelic has flourished because it has essentially been devolved and is governed by the Gaelic Media Service which has its own independent funding and a remit to promote the language.

In the wake of the King Report, which confirmed what we all knew - namely that Scotland is not being served by the BBC - BBC Scotland's constitutional status also needs to be addressed.

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