Sky’s the limit

On Friday morning I thought it would be interesting to see the start of the Ryder Cup on TV, however, to my horror I discovered that the TV rights had been bought up by Sky.

As Rupert Murdoch eloquently put it many years ago: “We will use sport as a battering ram to drive up subscriber numbers.”

So here we have one of the most important sporting events that Scotland has ever hosted, secured by public money, being watched on TV all over the world but not seen live by the big majority of Scots who don’t have Sky.

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When I was an MEP I helped put through a European directive which gave the member states the right to designate certain sporting events as “free to air events”.

Unfortunately for Scotland, the member state is the UK, ie the Westminster government, which seems remarkably uninterested in what can be seen in Scotland; hence we don’t even get to see Scotland’s home football games or the Ryder Cup on TV.

I have a suggestion to make: in the negotiations over “devo-max” or “home rule” we demand the right of the Scottish Government to control what Scottish people can see on their TV.

If we don’t get that we may conclude that devolution is more form than substance.

Hugh Kerr

(MEP 1994-99) 

Wharton Square