Eight SNP MSPs from the Highlands and Islands have signed a letter of protest to BBC Scotland protesting at ‘destructive’ job cuts which the Corporation is planning throughout the region.
They are: Michael Russell (Argyll and Bute); Fergus Ewing (Inverness and Nairn); Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross); Alasdair Allan (Western Isles); Dave Thomson (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch); and Highlands and Islands regional MSPs Jean Urquhart, John Finnie and Mike MacKenzie.
As they have told the BBC, they believe its actions threaten to ‘greatly diminish the essential service’ which the BBC provides throughout the Highlands and islands.
Alasdair Allan MSP says: ‘It’s not just BBC staff themselves who are unhappy about the proposed cuts – everyone who cares about local broadcasting should be concerned that the BBC bosses propose to diminish its number of staff available throughout a huge swathe of Scotland.
‘We are also unconvinced that it represents progress for Gaelic broadcasting to cut English language journalists and then ask Gaelic journalists to pick up the slack in addition to their own Gaelic work.
‘We are now all seeking a meeting with the chair of the BBC Trust, to ask why, at a time when BBC Scotland should be showing ambition, and developing itself as a real national broadcaster, it is cutting back on such basic services.’
It is certainly hard to see how the omnipresent BBC ALBA journalist/cameraman, the genial Andreas Wolff, could get around any faster to cover any more events and present any more documentaries than he does at the moment.
The planned intensive farming of the Gaelic service team can only dilute the substantial success of the programming of the BBC ALBA service, which has been wonderfully eclectic from its outset and has a significant English speaking audience who find the main channel’s programming fairly tedious and uninspiring.