Devolution spotlight on broadcasting

Members of the arts community have been having their say over Scotland's future. Words Stephen Naysmith

THE FUTURE OF Scottish broadcasting under a Scottish parliament was the key issue addressed when Government culture minister Chris Smith visnerl the Edinburgh Festival for the sixth annual arts breakfast

There was a noticeably lukewarm response when he told the audience, including many representatives from Scottish broadcasting: ’No one wants to see the break-up of the BBC.’

lvlr Smith argued that radio and television would (Oine into the same category as other areas l)r’(‘-v::?itisly controlled solely from Westminster. ’What is presently the provmce of the Scottish Office Will he he prcmnce of a Scottish parliament after devolution At the moment, the Scottish Office doeSn't have responsibility for broadcasting.’

When pressed on the pomt, he added: ’Nothing is pt‘l'lildllfllllly set in stone. However, the BBC has been able to Maintain the strength and quality of its puhlx servige broadcasting because of its UK—WIde base and global strength and presence. It has been a l)?§".(i"..’lh‘:ll; (it :iuality‘ for more than 50 years and a Smiths": Brunt risting Corporation might run the risk of losinr; ti‘at strength.’

The iinnister reassured members of the arts coiiiniirnity that their pi‘oleSSIon was highly valued

t :1'.':'!."i.’lt"‘.'lll ‘The arts in Britain produce {SC i::.’l:t>" n" econoiinc actiVity every year. That is

lit’ '4?” \

rititie t‘an In: palm-it: of the manufacturing industry.’ He u":-:«:i ’zreatei use of private finance and l)!".)llll‘.-§‘\} .‘zrirl'p’s in the administration of lottery


inst; has been a benchmark of

urinary ’i'fit‘ more than 50 years and a

;~.:._,:._i'r.:;ish ixéroadcasting Corporation :7: ml fie risk of losing that

t'zii‘itii t‘ minister Chris Smith

urns {lit}. to make a quantum leap towards ".'.i">'..'llvf‘-.'il 'n the arts,’ he claimed. Iltfie new cash promised, however, and

nix; h 't. (ii';)f?'ltl on the lottery, ’There Will be

Government culture minister Chris Smith (left) argues for a united Broadcasting Corporation; while poet/playwright Liz Lochhead is keen to address the sleaze issue in Scottish politics

new legislation to enable us to be more proactive about lottery money', Mr Smith explained. Meanwhile at the Edinburgh Book Festival, a large, if not disorganised gathering of Scottish writers took time out to back the Scotland Forward campaign for a 'Yes, Yes’ vote in the referendum.

Many also had concerns about limits on the role of a devolved parliament ’Controlling something like broadcasting is exactly what a Scottish parliament should be there to address', Carl lvchougall argued ’However, we are saying that we are in favour of the principle there is not much else to be in favour of at the moment. It is not a question

of taking what we get, we have to argue about the kind of parliament we want.’

Donny O’Rourke, writer and former senior producer of arts programming for Scottish

TeleVision claimed debate over the future of televi3ion was not the most important issue. ’In due course, a Scottish parliament should have control over all aspects of life in Scotland. Scotland will make this parliament work because until recently, we've been governed contemptuously.’

Alasdair Gray, Aileen Paterson, lain Crichton Smith and Edwm Morgan were among those Signing pledges to vote for a Scottish Assembly with tax— raising powers.

Liz Lochhead was just one to address the sleaze issue, which has troubled the Labour Party in the early campaign. ‘Now we have a Labour Government, internal problems are coming to the surface, shameful things. Small scale corruption comes about because we don’t really have any power,’ she argued. ’We will have to look at ourselves as Scots, better ourselves. But that is far better than keeping it suppressed,’ she said.

And finally.. . ‘No No’ camp opts for negative campaigning

A ’YES, YES’ VOTE in the referendum or ’Yesh, Yesh‘ as it has been dubbed since getting King Sean's hairy thumbs up is facing an increasing list of obstacles. Suicide, sleaze, suspended MP’s and disapproving bank managers seem to be throwing Labour‘s shiny, bright vision of Britain into disarray. So, have their opponents‘ team been sympathetic? Not really. Mohammed Sarwar and Tommy Graham's mugs

publicans, a Mr Paul Waterson. He is proposing that sixteen year olds will be allowed to run rampage, sorry, I mean have a quiet drink, in the nation's boozers. ’There is a need to get kids off the streets and teach them sensible drinking habits and get them accustomed to pub culture,’ the president of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association argued. I can just picture the kids abandoning bottles of Buckie in the nation’s pedestrian precincts for chats about Ulysses over a tumbler of port. Sounds like another 'Yesh, Yesh’

previous fortnight. The 71-year-old blond bombshell coffin-dodger was understandably miffed he had not missed the event since 1981. ‘There's always next year.’ Clearly a case of listening to doctors’ bad advice. (Brian Donaldson)

AS THE DISAGREEMENT rumbles on between Edinburgh‘s Fringe and International Festival over an intended change of dates, Glasgow's Mayfest which can at least be depended upon to happen in May is showing signs of resurrection,

feature as the 0’s in ’No, No‘ on the Tories' poster. We would of course be much safer with the likes of ‘trusty' Jonathan Aitken, Alan ‘diaries’ Clarke, Neil ‘biscuit’ Hamilton and David ’toes’ Mellor.

LESS LIKELY TO be explored, are comments by the leader of Scotland's


TV LEGEND Sir Jimmy Saville decided to bow out of the Great Scottish Run at the very last minute after his quacks told him that certain death would be imminent if he put his shorts on, having just recovered from a quadruple heart bypass in the

Sean Connery: yesh, yesh what elshe?

despite confident assertions from certain quarters that we had forever seen its back. The question (which may not be resolved until 1999, when the next Mayfest is provision- ally scheduled to happen) is whether the revived event will more resemble Lazarus the Risen or Nosferatu the Undead. (Andrew Burnet)

29 Aug—ll Sep 1997 THE usrs