Gamely speaking

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I believe Margaret Mary Murray is disingenuous in her letter (17 October) about BBC Alba funding, when she corrects Allan Massie on the amount of BBC Scotland’s funding of the Gaelic station.

By saying the bulk of Alba’s funding (apparently £10 million) comes from “our partners MG Alba” and not BBC Scotland, she implies that MG Alba is some kind of independent commercial organisation.

It is in fact wholly funded by the Scottish Government, ie the taxpayer. Most people will not have heard of MG Alba, and you will be none the wiser if you consult its website, since it is in Gaelic.

Whether BBC Alba is popular or not is difficult to judge, because its audience figures are not collected by the usual commercial measurement organisations.

Even if they were, they would be misleading, because Alba artificially inflates its audience by covering Scottish rugby and first division football.

Allan Massie will be, like me, forced to watch Edinburgh and Glasgow rugby on Alba with the sound turned off, when it should be on normal stations. None of the players, of course, speak Gaelic. In short, everything about BBC Alba is a con.

Crawford Mackie

Loughborough Road

Kirkcaldy

I have my own opinion of Allan Massie’s intellect and judgment, and do not wish to comment here on his criticisms of Gaelic (Perspective, 16 October).

However, it is incumbent on him to justify his dogmatic statement, “Prose is translatable as poetry isn’t.” Has he forgotten Schlegel and Tieck or Edward Fitzgerald or Gavin Douglas or our own virtuosic contemporary Derrick McClure?

J M Y Simpson

Sunnyside Road

Aberdeen

As the saying goes, it’s only a game, but I wonder how members of the Better Together campaign feel about our uninational broadcaster the BBC’s Six O’Clock News report (16 October) on England’s qualification for the next World Cup.

The presenter could hardly contain his delight, already almost salivating at the prospect of actually winning the trophy.

Meanwhile – completely unremarked on – a certain other member of the supposed Union had also been playing, also won, and also might qualify, therefore might also win the cup. The efforts of the two remaining units of our UK togetherness, out of the qualification running, were similarly ignored.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road

Tranent, East Lothian