THERE is one consolation for BBC Scotland's Jim Spence in ruminating over the embarrassment of having an apology issued by the corporation for his remarks on Rangers' status.
It is unlikely he will be called upon to act as chairman in any forthcoming referendum debate, where accusations of bias are already being given a dry run and are guaranteed to attempt to ruin reputations in the coming months.
An apologies department might easily be about to be set up at the corporation in the near future to add even further to the bureaucratic layers, if a few not-exactly-terrifying words from Spence can elicit such a response.
I encountered BBC Scotland's excellent Political Editor Brian Taylor not so long ago and tried to offer him advice as one who was entrusted on many an occasion with coping with the sensitivities of an Old Firm audience, one side of which or the other had ears on them that could interpret a split infinitive in commentary as an attack on their kind.
And as one who suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune for having had the temerity to wear a Fiorentina lapel badge on camera which was equally misidentified as the Red Hand of Ulster or the Sacred Heart by that same factional lunacy, I felt I might have some comforting words for him.
I am not sure if he left me with a spring in his step for I think he felt that any apprehension about the coming year is not strictly about his own performance or any other individual, but about the status of his organisation and its willingness not to succumb too easily to loudmouths or the cowboys on the social media. Or even being rubbished by respected media onlookers.
It is clear the BBC is manifestly, structurally flawed, as unfolding events have recently exposed, with former director-general Mark Thompson before MPs again this week defending huge pay-offs to colleagues. From my own long and happy experience of working with them I could sense, on too many occasions, an almost casual and complacent detachment from the real commercial world where employment, and the very existence of an institution, was dependent on results.
This could be felt even at the time when I was finding my feet when Lord Thomson was proclaiming his new independent station was a licence to print money and we became victims of a BBC Scotland penury phase This was at a time when the public was screaming at the exorbitant expense laid out for 10 gown changes for a Shirley Bassey spectacular.
Could they not have held it in Glasgow Green and had Ralph Slater donate the costumes? That was the tenor of the abuse and it suggested to me that at the highest level of performance, television by opinion poll might please the accountants and the licence payer but give us something akin to prime-time in Pyongyang.
In other words, there would be excesses. Indeed, there should be excesses in the thrust of artistic creativity which not only pandered to the tastes of those people I knew who produced Stanley Baxter's great programmes at considerable cost, but at the same time keep major orchestras alive and could produce the Proms.
The problem was the in-bred culture that felt immune from public scrutiny. Too many felt beyond the touch of reality and laboured under the fantasy licence money was untouchable manna from heaven.
The BBC does retain, sometimes reluctantly, a respect that would cause convulsions even amongst some of the abusers if it disappeared as institution. Despite the infighting at the highest level that resembles a Mexican cockfight; despite the flaws which have exposed lack of due diligence over Saville, in the coming months the BBC will have to hold its nerve and supply a life-support system to their political frontmen that looked sadly lacking with someone who merely passed a few words about Rangers.
So there you are. That's my view and I'm sticking to it. The BBC should have spurned the Rangers apology and said something of the same of their correspondent as a litmus test for the fun and games about to start over where a cross will be placed on a ballot.
Archie Macpherson is a broadcaster who worked for the BBC for more than 20 years.
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