There's a lot of debate at the moment about the escalating cost of the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood. For those of you on my flist who don't know about this, Scotland has had it's own Executive government since 1999 following a referendum in which Scots were asken if we wanted to have our own legislative body. It is a little odd in a way because we refer to it as the devolved government of Scotland but we are still ultimately governed from Westminster in London.
The Parliament has been sitting in temporary accomodation in Edinburgh while a purpose built location is being prepared. In 1998, before the SP even sat for the first session, the estimated cost of the building was given as £50m. Since then, the cost has escalated to incredible figures and yet only now, six years later, has there been an official inquiry.
The building is still not complete, from BBC Scotland's website comes this comment "MSPs have been told the cost of the new parliament building remains unchanged at £431m" - that's coming up on ten times the original estimate. How have things been allowed to get to this state? And now the inquiry is trying to shift the focus of the enquiry onto the BBC themselves.
BBC Scotland are following the building process and have been since the very beginning. The inquiry is now demanding access to all of the recordings saying that the BBC are "thwarting the enquiry" by not handing them over. However, the BBC are saying the tapes are interviews with the family of Donald Dewar (our first First Minister) and promises were made that the material would never be shown outwith the documentary (which hasn't yet aired)
Basically, the argument is boiling down to whether or not the BBC is a public body and as such answerable to the government. The BBC like to think of themselves as being independant but a lot of people consider them to be in the pocket of the government. One thing is for sure, the air between the BBC and the UK government is not exactly clear - especially after the Dr Kelly fiasco. In Scotland it's a little different.
BBC Scotland is considered a "national region" by the main BBC and as such is mostly self-governed and ignored by the board of directors (who themselves are in a state of flux) for the most part. However, since the Fraser Inquiry is making national news, it can't be long before the board of directors step in.
It's long past time the BBC cut off the remaining links to the government (either in Westminster or Holyrood) and finally embraces it's indepdent nature. Straddling both sides of the fence like this is just causing more and more problems and with all the crap that's going on in the world, I really don't want the headlines on the BBC national news to focus on the BBC. That kind of thing makes the BBC, a world-recognised organisation, look like a laughing stock.