Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Ultimate Argument Against Scottish Independence

If you ever wanted a good argument against Scottish independence, all you need to do is spend a night in a hotel room in Ireland and try and watch the telly...

I'm currently in Dublin for three day's teaching comics in schools, and Hev's with me celebrating her birthday with her first trip to the fair city, and so far we're loving it. But who doesn't like to watch a bit of telly when you get back to the room? Well, don't get your hopes up when you're in Ireland because, even if your choice isn't as limited as the Charles Stewart Guesthouse which has managed to dodge the digital switchover and is offering us three TV channels (four if you count the gaelic one), one of which is a grainy and barely perceptible RTE2.

Suddenly it strikes me, this is what it will be like if Scotland votes for independence. No BBC!!!!

Check out BBC iPLayer (above). Well tough, you can't. And the same goes for ITVplayer. Yes, you might be in a country that's right next door to the one you're used to, one that supplies half the comedians and most of the musicians, but you try watching Doctor Who The Ultimate Guide or (tomorrow night) An Adventure In Time & Space, and you can forget it. Once Scotland cuts itself off from the BBC it can wave goodbye to all the great TV you get to make when you have 60 million punters' licence fees to draw on. We'll have to get used to the level of telly you can afford to make with 5 million peoples' money. Ever watched Australian TV? Or RTE? Well, it'll be like that, but with more White Heather Club.

And do you know I didn't have an opinion on the Independence debate till now. Well now I do. Lord Reith was Scottish, think on't.

(Here's Mitch Benn's Proud Of The BBC song again. Now imagine it with every non-Scottish programme taken out. Shudder. Oh and did I mention Doctor Who can't get arrested in Ireland?)

Update (Tuesday): Courtesy of Ian Ellery on Facebook I have been alerted to Hola.org which enables you to unblock sites from foreign countries, so now I can watch BBC iPlayer. I take it all back. Scotland may vote freely knowing they're not going to lose the BBC after all, they can always sneak under the fence and nick it. It won't mention Scotland ever, and you'll never see another Scottish MSP on Question Time, but at least it'll be there. Tonight we shall catch up on Only Connect and University Challenge, yes that's how exciting my life is.

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