A funny thing happened on the way to the Referendum…

So, the Scottish referendum debate and the release of the SNP’s white paper on why an independent Scotland would be a good idea dominated the broadcast news bulletins morning, noon and night yesterday; the 648-page snooze-fest was pounced on and devoured ad nauseam by the various “breaking news” battalions of the UK press corps.

It wasn’t until lunchtime, and a chat with a colleague discussing Jim Naughtie’s slavering over another PhD-length question to some poor bemused politician on the Today programme, that a few questions began to be asked.

It was the BBC who actually let the cat out of the bag: only people resident in Scotland can take part in this referendum. People born in Scotland, but not living there, won’t get a say, but if you’re Welsh and live in Glasgow – have a ballot paper and join the queue.

Which all raises a rather interesting question about the editorial priorities of the suits who now run the broadcast newsrooms of the BBC and Sky.

Why were those of us in the rest of the union subjected to 24 hours of wall-to-wall speculation, pontification, obfuscation, hot air and repetitive filling of air-time when we won’t actually get a say in the matter?

Any newspaper editor will tell you that what leads in Lothian doesn’t necessarily lead in London, so why weren’t the BBC and Sky reflecting that?

Discuss (and if anyone utters those immortal words “public interest”, be prepared for a very disinterested and public poke in the eye).

PS: We also discussed what would happen to the “national broadcasters” in the event of Scotland rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall, but in the case of the BBC and Channel 4 the question was eventually answered, with the proposals for a Scottish Broadcasting Service buried deep within the SNP’s white paper.

Rather interestingly the SNP says this would be funded by the Scottish portion of the licence fee, which will come as a disappointment to the anti-licence fee brigade north of the border. Maybe there’s more to the complaints about SNP/BBC Scotland complicity than just pre-referendum rhetoric?

However there’s still no word on whether a new McSky News would be part of News UK’s plan, or indeed whether they would need another corporate re-organisation to form a new Scottish subsidiary.

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