Arc of Prosperity

Scottish Independence within the EU – with a Scandinavian Slant


Did the creation of the BBC go against the Acts of Union?

The Acts of Union went to great lengths to guarantee the separateness of Scotland. In the words of Wikipedia, “[it] guaranteed that the Church of Scotland would ‘remain the established church in Scotland, that the Court of Session would remain in all time coming within Scotland,’ and that Scots law would ‘remain in the same force as before’.” Although a separate education system wasn’t explicitly mentioned, I presume it was an automatic consequence of keeping an independent church and a separate legal system.

In other words, the Acts of Union did a decent job at establishing a monetary and fiscal union while keeping the nations culturally distinct.

In this light, it’s natural to wonder whether the establishment of the BBC under a Royal Charter in 1927 was contrary to the spirit (if not the words) of the Acts of Union. Even its original motto, “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation”, seems bizarre for a union of four nations.

There’s not much we can do about it now (apart from voting Yes in 2014), but it seems obvious that the UK would have looked very different at the moment if there had never been British radio and TV channels, but only separate ones for each nation.

4 thoughts on “Did the creation of the BBC go against the Acts of Union?

  • The founding of the Corporation was done in rather a hurry. The partners in the predecessor British Broadcasting Company were falling apart, and the repercussions of the General Strike made the creation of a single nationally-owned national broadcaster a priority.

    • That’s the problem with not having a UK-wide constitutional court to ensure that Westminster doesn’t undermine the Acts of Union.


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