Saturday, May 05, 2007

Beeb-based observations

Ordinarily I ignore local elections. There seems to be a pretty good case for ignoring the most recent ones. That, one can imagine, is what the attuned folks at the Beeb concluded when they analysed the Conservative performance primarily through the prism of a notional national voting percentage barely increased on the previous year's less comprehensive local elections results (40ish percent versus 40ish percent). Yet there I was on Thursday night poring over the results at 3 in the morning. True, it was really just the consequence of insomnia- but somehow I had begun to care.

I wonder if others are beginning to feel that way? The Beeb are probably shuddering at the thought. A litmus test though of whether Cameron is really a statist or is actually a pretty good conservative liar would be whether (assuming- big assumption- his election in three years' time) the BBC was permitted to continue as the state sponsored global broadcasting monster which it has evolved into, or whether Cameron would engage in some conservative-minded natural selection of BBC functions, with the aim of stimulating the free media market.

Also in my mind during the coverage was the Beeb's very own Lothian question- where they gave primacy to the decision making processes of less than an eighth of the British population by headlining the elections to the assemblies in Scotland and Wales.

I wonder if that would have happened had Labour enjoyed a relatively relaxed Thursday night south of the border? It must be a comfort to lefty Beebites that they can always retreat to covering a truly leftist country when they need to get their breath back. Something similar has usually been true of conservatives in England- there was always the South East. Though we never had a giant broadcaster to cater for such escapism, news tends to follow the money, so...

I very much like Scotland, actually. The main reason, aside from motive, that I can't imagine ever locating there is the suffocating essentialness of the state to people's existences there. The same for me would apply to Sweden, probably Norway too. Where I currently reside, in the Czech Republic, the state has a bit of an image problem, having had a forty year term of office statifying (stultifying?) everything. The roll back from that is therefore instinctive and there's an instinct to leave alone; as well as the imperative of not actually being a very rich state to begin with.

I fear for Scotland though, or rather for its people. A retreat from the Union would be a fundamentally unserious step, a step towards EUification and away paradoxically from national identity. The fact that the deciding factor would be the opposition of the Lib Dems to such a move says it all really.

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