World

Actions

Would An Independent Scotland Pay More For The BBC?

Scots are going to the polls next week to determine their independence, but the prospect of paying more for the BBC is giving some voters pause.
Posted at 7:33 PM, Sep 12, 2014

Scotland is less than a week away from a referendum that, if successful, would give it independence from the kingdom it has been a part of since 1707. 

And it seems like the prospect of divorce has Scottish voters split pretty much down the middle

CNBC"Get this, in their poll, 17% undecided. In other words this is way too close to call." 

Like most divorces, the potential separation is getting a little messy -- unsurprising, considering this union has lasted for over three centuries. 

"Yes" and "no" voters are battling over what an independent Scotland would look like — from what currency they would use to whether they'll still have a queen.  

And it's put the government-owned BBC in a tough spot. BBC is a service of the United Kingdom that is nonetheless sworn to cover its kingdom's possible dissolution fairly and impartially. 

And that spot gets even harder if the split actually happens. The question Yes voters have to worry about now is: will an independent Scotland be forced to pay more for the BBC?

The BBC for its part has refused to answer, saying only, "we have done no planning about the future of BBC services after the referendum, including any calculations about the level of a license fee."

But Britain isn't satisfied with the coy attitude, especially after sources within the BBC told The Guardian that there was a plan and it would raise the fee that Scots pay for the service from £145 to £300, or $488, a year.

The BBC has denied the accusation, but that hasn't stopped independence advocates from accusing the station of a "pro-no" bias. 

"I think the BBC’s credibility is complete destroyed. There’s 50% of people here that are definitely voting yes. And one of the reasons that they're voting yes is cause they know they're being lied to by the BBC"

One British official even raised the specter of cutting off the channel entirely, saying a "yes" vote is "a vote to leave the institutions of the UK and the BBC is one of those institutions."

But why the big deal over one option on a TV or radio dial? Isn't the BBC, in the end, just a TV channel? Well, not really, to the citizens of the United Kingdom.

The BBC has been the main cultural and news outlet in the United Kingdom since its creation in 1922. It's not only the home of iconic shows like "Monty Python" and "Doctor Who," but also the place where Scots tuned in generations ago to hear about D-Day, and the fall of Berlin. 

And for a country that prides itself on its culture and history, even the prospect of losing access to the station is an ominous reminder that independence has plenty of risks. (Video via