TOMORROW, Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC and shortbread tin packer-in-chief of Scottish broadcasting aspirations, will be appearing before MSPs of Holyrood’s Culture Committee to explain why it’s really in our best interests to subject the populace to 30 minutes of UK news that doesn’t affect Scotland and to tell us all about the England cricket team.

After decades of suggestions, pilot programmes, and promises, BBC management in London has reportedly ruled out allowing Scotland a grown-up, hour-long news programme instead of the current 30 minutes of world and Anglocentric news followed by 30 minutes of couthiness, kittens and fitba’ on Reporting Scotland.

On the rare occasions that a Scottish story makes the proper grown-up news, we get it again in Reporting Scotland, usually with the exact same footage. Now we know that, according to BBC management, this is the most efficient and reasonable means of fulfilling their obligations to the Scottish public.

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Likewise, BBC traffic advice tells us that the most efficient and reasonable way of getting from Glasgow to Edinburgh is to go to Carlisle first, then back to Glasgow, then go and visit a kitten playing fitba’ in Carrour, and then on to Edinburgh. Thankfully, according to the BBC weather map the total distance is only about 500 metres.

Scotland is appallingly served by our so-called national broadcaster. Scotland is a cash cow for the BBC, a where-you-are which raises over £320 million annually in return for a few hours of specifically Scottish programming each week.

For decades the discussion on improving this pathetic state of affairs has centred around the sop of a Scottish Six. We’ve now got the London management of the BBC to thank for removing that distraction. Scotland and its political representatives should instead focus on the real issue, which is that Scotland has no national public service broadcaster of its own.

If you listened to the Unionist parties, you’d think that a demand for a Scottish national public service broadcaster was as outrageous as demanding that the presenters of Bake Off were baked in a Victoria sponge and Nicholas Witchell was stripped naked and tied up with bunting while being lectured by republicans on royal scandals and greed. Although that second one isn’t that outrageous after all.

The truth is that it’s not remotely remarkable to expect Scotland to have its own dedicated national public broadcaster, what’s remarkable is that Scotland doesn’t have one already. What’s even more remarkable is that there is a body of Scottish Unionist opinion that doesn’t think Scotland should have one, and what’s most remarkable of all is that many in the Scottish media support this position. Just think on that for a minute. There are Scottish journalists who think there’s no need for any more Scottish journalism.

Other countries of a comparable population size to Scotland, and with comparable budgets, manage to provide their viewing publics with considerably more home produced broadcasting than Scotland does.

Scotland contributes somewhat more than £320m every year to the BBC, and in the financial year 2016-17 BBC Scotland is due to receive funding of £86m for local content, a reduction on previous years. Scottish programmes are known in BBC jargon as “opt-out” programmes, as they’re considered a diversion from the BBC’s main diet of British themed baked goods programmes, history shows with David Starkey being snide, and a total output of programming about the First World War which is actually longer than WWI itself.

However the figure of £86m for Scottish programming is somewhat misleading as a significant number of programmes, which by no stretch of the imagination can be considered Scottish, are produced by BBC Scotland. BBC Question Time is in theory a BBC Scotland production, but no one, with the possible exception of a Conservative politician, would claim that an edition of BBC Question Time from Ukipshire in the south of England was “Scottish programming”.

Mind you, David Dimbleby did once slap down a Scottish MP for daring to talk about Scotland, so that probably counts towards Scottish programme content.

UK politicians are fond of telling us that Scotland has the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. Which is only true if you ignore the more than 100 non-independent countries, provinces, territories, and states with more power of self-government than Scotland has. Catalonia not only has greater control over its tax and revenue policies than Scotland does, it also has control of broadcasting.

As well as receiving output from the Spanish national broadcasting service RTVE and the main Spanish national channels, Catalonia has a range of channels broadcast by the Catalan public service broadcaster Televisió de Catalunya.

Whereas in Scotland we’re reduced to complaining about the BBC not permitting Scotland to have an hour-long news programme, in Catalonia they have their own dedicated 24 hour news channel. That’s something to consider the next time you’re watching Reporting Scotland act like it’s the local news programme of a regional opt-out.

Catalans also enjoy a general channel, TV3, a second channel broadcasting cultural programmes and documentaries, and political debates, their own sports channel Esport 3, and a children’s channel Canal Super3. In addition there’s a satellite channel broadcasting to Catalans outside of Catalonia, and four radio stations. All this is on top of the national Spanish broadcasting output.

The service costs the Catalan government approximately £293m annually, over £27m a year less than Scotland pays for our comparative lack of provision. As well as receiving funding from the Catalan government, Catalan broadcasting also derives revenues from advertising, sponsorship, and the sale of programming, avenues closed to broadcasting in Scotland.

The example of Catalonia proves that there is absolutely no reason why Scotland cannot have its own broadcasting service while continuing to receive the BBC’s UK output. Scotland has a wealth of talent and skills which are not currently being tapped. Only those with a raging case of the cringe and a paucity of imagination believe that a country with the capabilities of Scotland cannot produce world class television.

The country which invented television instead is lumbered with a television service which isn’t even third-rate, it scarcely exists at all. The time for begging the BBC for crumbs from the table in the form of a Scottish Six is over, we should be campaigning for a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation of our own.