The comments by Blair Jenkins to MSPs yesterday afternoon at the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee – promising to investigate the “steep decline” in investment in television production north of the border – highlight the significant shift in fortunes for the head of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission.
Members of the National Union of Journalists will recall Jenkins’ previous appearance before a parliamentary committee, two years ago, when he accompanied the Controller of BBC Scotland, Ken MacQuarrie, as he sought to justify the first round of the BBC’s assault on jobs and programme-making capacity at the BBC.
Certainly, NUJ members and most readers of these columns would welcome Blair Jenkins’ new campaign to stem what he describes as the “market decline” in the industry in Scotland. While every contributor to this debate has agreed that Scottish broadcasting does matter in some form, it is clear to the NUJ, and others in the industry, that BBC managers and executives cannot be trusted to safeguard the future of of public service broadcasting on either side of the border.
Indeed, only last week, the BBC’s Public Policy Officer, Ian Small, wrote on this website (here) that people must expect ten per cent less original programmes on the BBC in the coming years.