First thing; The Crown Estates. I was casting about on the BBC news website, its still good for the simple stuff - by which I mean - things like encapsulating bloody raids by soldiers or by more hands-off remote controlled methods into nice, simple-to-understand and most importantly; bloodless & corpseless diagrams and flow charts. But I digress, two reports can be found on the BBC news website about The Crown Estates, one in the 'UK' section and another in the 'Scotland' section. If you're a current affairs anorak (or even if you're not) its sometimes easy to spot when they're spinning stories to suit the audience.
The clipping above is from here, its sitting in the Business section of BBC News Online and linked from the UK front page. But how is it being reported in the Scottish section of the BBC news website?
The headline above and article in the Scottish section (here).
Very quickly, what is The Crown Estates Commission? Well, its a Quango that looks after land and property owned by the Queen, there is an explanation in the UK article:
"An analogy often used is that the Crown Estate is the property version of the Crown Jewels - held by the Queen as sovereign, but not for her personal use."
So, while the Crown Estate Commission (or CEC) manage the Queen's various properties & lands, they don't own it. But, none of it is for the Queen's personal use or gain... Yup, I don't really get it either... What is easier to grasp is this, there's a thing called The Sovereign Grant which funds the Queen's spending as head of state, at best you could call this expenses, at worst; a wage. In 2014 it'll rise from £36.1 million to £37.89 million - a 5% pay rise. (A bit jarring really with Osborne's recent spending review speech...)
Where does the money come from though? Well, if you're local to Edinburgh The Fort Kinnaird Retail Park near Musselburgh sits on land owned by the CEC as is the seabed out to the 12 mile mark around most of the UK - any pipelines or wind farms laid down or thrown up pay rent for the land they're using with proceeds going to CEC coffers. Income from forestry plantations (5000 hectares in Scotland) and loch beds is hoover up by the CEC, the local communities which overlook them get hee-haw. You could make a point about jobs in the area, which would be as valid as it was moot - all income should benefit the local community, not just a part of it - especially the part that can be most easily outsourced.
In other news, the BBC received a number of complaints about the coverage (or lack-there-of) of Holly Willoughby's breasts (pictured) during the final of The Voice.
Phillip Schofield - Willoughby's co-host on ITV's This Morning tweeted in her defence:
"139 complaints over Holly's gorgeous Voice dress. Let's hope those outraged on behalf of their kids don't take them to the beach this summer."
Meanwhile, The Voice judge Tom Jones (also pictured) was too busy counting Willoughby's most prominent features that evening to comment.
I think it's important the BBC reports such things as I understand there is an interest in certain quarters. For me, there is no unit of measure small enough to quantify the amount of crap I couldn't give about what Holly Willoughby decides to wear of an evening.
(Did you see what I did there?)
Back to the CEC and the BBC which reports that last year, revenues from Scottish Crown Estate assets increased to £13.7 million - not to be sniffed at. But in the same report it said CEC - last year - had made capital investments amounting to £9.6 million in Scotland.
Is that all & where's the rest? And why are Scottish resources being filtered through a London quango then dressed up by the BBC as a gift from a beneficent British establishment back to Scotland? (It should also be noted, a lot of that investment is in renewable power generation. One wonders what subsidies the CEC is accessing when it rents out Scottish land and seabeds...)
This is one of those 'Union Dividends' they keep telling us about - reasons for staying a part of the UK - because if we left, we'd lose out... Instead of investing £13.7 million in local communities, we get £9.7 million. The rest pays for the quango and The Sovereign Grant.
Other than that, the BBC get to spin it so it looks as if Scotland benefits from this arrangement. Meanwhile, down south - where the scream of indoctrination is most felt - they can sleep safe in the knowledge that their beloved Queen is earning a crust + 5%.
I'm fairly ambivalent when it comes to the monarchy. I see them as a living museum display or perhaps a theme park with rides and attractions (but for old people and American or Japanese tourists.) The CEC though should be scrapped and income from Scottish lands, lochs & seabeds go to the communities adjacent to those lands, lochs & seabeds.
Of course, if the Monarchy really was a theme park, think of the rides you could have. On the Prince Charles themed ride - instead of safety bars - revelers would just hang on to a pair of comedy ears. The Queen Mother's ride would be a bar that only sold gin... Prince Harry's ride - umm - would just be a bar... Prince William's ride, erm, would be really popular but secretly jealous of its sister-ride's backside... For the Duke of Edinburgh, it would just be a room which existed outside of normal space & time where every day rules of decency and political correctness would not apply, (a surprise hit I think...)
Prince Andrew and Edward would have one ride between them (if you'll excuse the mental imagery) but it wouldn't be very popular.
|We demand our own ride.|
(The last two paragraphs could be read in several different lights dependent on the depth & breadth of the reader's sense of decency. That being the case, please delete/not read the following as it applies to your view: The dirty republican bastard/Oh the banter/Will there be a Pippa Middleton ride and will it be a roller-coaster?)