By Maximilian Bartie
I HAVE previously mentioned the fact that producers of television programmes often patronise their audience and treat it as though it has the IQ of kelp.
Another example of this phenomenon presented itself recently with the broadcast of a show interestingly entitled Botany – A Blooming History.
This, as the label suggests, was all about plant biologists and their attempts to improve crop yields in order to feed a starving world – a laudable endeavour and one that should be of interest to us all.
Of course, with the wonderful clarity of scientific hindsight, we now know that plants, like animal life forms, have genetic structures that can be manipulated to change their primary characteristics.
Now, I accept that discussions involving the double helix and how to tamper with it can require an appreciation of complex technical concepts.
I also believe that anyone bothered to tune in to this type of programme will probably be smart enough to grasp the general principles if not the detailed applications.
So why was it necessary, when using the analogy of a light bulb to represent life, the producer had to show us a light bulb?
Why, when suggesting that the wiring to the light bulb might become disconnected, were we shown two electric wires obviously disconnected?
And why, when we were told that scientists would like to switch genetic signals on and off, were we shown a domestic light switch as would control a table lamp?
Are these television producers so far up their own double helixes that they think we cannot understand anything without being shown a picture?
Do they think that we are all Homer Simpson?
I won’t bother commenting on the use of out of focus photography, silly special effects and ridiculous camera angles.
The producers had already managed to spoil what would have been a very interesting programme without the need to resort to technical wizardry.
THERE is a chap called Alex Salmond who became Scotland’s First Minister in 2007 since when he has been banging a drum about making Scotland an independent nation, i.e. withdrawing from the Disunited Kingdom.
Pollsters on both sides of Hadrian’s Wall report various levels of enthusiasm for the proposal and, interestingly, those in the south appear to be quite keen to be rid of their kilted northern neighbours.
I suspect that Mr Salmond’s plans are underwritten by North Sea oil, much of which is processed through the port of Aberdeen, but is he aware that this is a finite resource.
Maybe he will pin future economic success on exports of whisky and haggis, both of which have their charms, neither of which guarantee long-term prosperity.
Will he take Scotland into the European Union and adopt the Euro? Under the prevailing circumstances this would be slightly less attractive than an epidemic of amoebic dysentery.
What about defence and all of the other services and facilities that flourish in what is undeniably part of an island state?
It has already been suggested that the remains of NSGB would be forced to impose border controls to stop illegal immigration via an independent Scotland. No doubt stringent financial controls would also be required.
Personally, I am not in favour of splitting the Union.
I believe that together we are stronger than the sum of the individual components.
I would like to see less government not more, without duplication on both sides of the border. There is much to lose by separation and, as far as I can see, very little to gain unless you happen to be Alex Salmond.
Having said all of that, if it stops Andy Murray pretending to be British then we should give Scotland its independence tomorrow.