Two versions of the same map?

This is a map to warm the hearts of everyone who wants to see an independent Scotland. A truly stunning victory for the SNP, and one to make everyone who wants to see an independent Wales more than a little envious.

     

But one thing struck me immediately: the solid block of support for unionist parties in southern Scotland. As I'm sure most people already know, Scotland is split into two ITV franchise areas. STV, an amalgamation of what used to be Scottish TV and Grampian TV, serves most of Scotland, but the southern part is in a franchise area served by Border TV which includes a large chunk of England.

     

As we can see, the voting pattern almost exactly reflects the franchise boundary. To me, this suggests that the broadcast media play an enormous role in determining the political agenda of the areas they serve. STV serves only Scotland, and therefore is able to focus more on Scottish issues than UK issues. But Border TV, because it serves parts of both England and Scotland, is of necessity going to have a different focus, centred more on UK issues than Scottish issues.

If we're looking for reasons to explain why the political agenda in Scotland is more focused on Scotland than is the case in Wales, this is probably one of the them. For how many parts of eastern Wales get their regional TV from England?

If we want our next general election in Wales to be fought on Welsh issues rather than the UK issues that this one has been fought on, one of the keys will be to ensure that all parts of Wales are served by broadcast media that can focus properly on Welsh issues.

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8 comments:

Welshguy said...

I agree re: Wales, & the broad thrust of your argument, but I'm sure there are many more reasons why those areas might have voted for unionist parties - as border regions the percentage of non-scots is presumably higher. Galloway voted SNP in 1999, so it's a more complicated picture than just the media.

Anonymous said...

The map does look nice doesn't it. How do I applky to become a Scotish citizen?

welshguru said...

I can get both welsh TV and English TV. But I very rarely bother to watch English TV.

stay said...

As a former Granada journalist specialising in coverage of north Wales, I'd like to be persuaded - but ... if you apply the model to Wales, the solid blue of Pembrokeshire does rather stand out. No cross-border TV spillover here - unless we're all tuning to RTE in Haverfordwest.
Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike - you're right about Pembrokeshire, but the southern part is also been known as 'little England beyond Wales' since the Welsh were driven out by genocide in the 12th century.

The media plays a big part.

Siônnyn said...

It is time for the rest of us to start planning for what happens AFTER Scotland dissolve the United Kingdom. It may not happen for 10 or 15 years, but it looks inevitable, and it could happen in 4 years. What will the rest of us do? The unionist parties are behaving as though nothing other than having bad day in Scotland happened on Thursday, and that things will get back to normal in time. They need to wake up and start drawing up plans for the day after. A great chance for Plaid to present an alternative vision, now that the Union Jack looks in jeopardy.

simondyda said...

The media in Wales is what it is, and has been since before assembly elections began. It's time to come up with a campaign strategy that adapts to the situation, rather than vice versa.

For example, virtually nobody reads the Western Mail, and a minority read the Daily Post in North Wales, but everybody gets their free local weekly rag delivered to their door (at least in North Wales). Local AMs and MPs usually have their own, largely uninspired column in these local papers, but they could theoretically be used to greater advantage and greater effect.

MH said...

In response to some of the comments, I should say that I was simply making an obsevation about something that struck me, and certainly didn't want to make out that this was the only reason or even the main reason for why the Welsh general election was not fought on Welsh issues.

We need to fight to change that not just in the broadcast media but in print. There is no reason why we should not have Welsh papers or Welsh editions of papers as in Scotland ... though we need to be aware that we'll probably end up with the gutter end of the spectrum, as in the Welsh Mirror.

I'd agree with Simon about making better use of what we have in the local papers. Perhaps the difficulty is that these tend to concentrate just on local issues rather than issues affecting the whole of Wales.

It also amazes me just how few AMs use the internet as a means of getting their message across.

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