FAR be it for me to rain on Stuart Cosgrove’s parade, and his praise of the new BBC Scotland news at nine (My advice to the BBC: Reach out to the Scotland of now rather than the Britain of yesteryear, December 2). While I rather suspect I too might tune in to its first broadcast – and maybe some after that – is its timing not such that it is simply destined to fail?

We already have an hour of news at 6pm. One can have national news followed by “the news where you are”, or the other way around depending on whether you are on BBC or STV. If you are “news dependent” you can then switch over to Channel 4 News for a further hour of coverage of much the same events that have been covered in the previous hour. At 10pm the 6pm order is repeated (though a bit less of the “news where you are” on the BBC). So, over a period of five hours, there is already three hours of news. How much do we need another hour?

However, in my view the killer for this (certainly well-intended) offering by BBC Scotland is what it will be up against, for 9pm is peak viewing. If it were being broadcast this coming week, it would be up against, on BBC1, The Rise of the Clans, a mystery series Mrs Wilson (which has had big advertising licks in the last few weeks), The Apprentice, a documentary about the ambulance service, Have I Got News For You and Mrs Brown’s Boys. While on BBC2 its competitors would be Babies: Their Wonderful World; a documentary called School; Death and Nightingales; Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess; and Made in Great Britain. And that is just the BBC. There will, of courses be other attractions on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

In short, it seems to me that this programme is being set up to fail, but at the same time to condemn the argument for the “Scottish 6”. If the audience for a “Scottish 9” is poor, I suspect the argument would go, what does that say about support for a “Scottish 6”? However, a “Scottish 6” would be a completely different beast – it would, for one thing, be scheduled at the time when most people “consume” TV news. It would mean, though, the Scottish population not “consuming” its daily diet of the news through from the metropolitan/London/British perspective, but from a Scottish perspective. Goodness knows where that might lead.

Alasdair Galloway

READ MORE: Stuart Cosgrove: Here's who BBC Scotland should be targeting

I WRITE further to previous letters regarding Freemasonary (in Scotland) and in particular to TP McCluskey’s letter (November 28). It was unfortunate that their visit to Northern Ireland coincided with an Orange Parade and if I may say so, somewhat ironic. I would reiterate that the Orange Lodge and the Masonic Lodge are separate organisations. If not, why would they use separate buildings? Nor have I ever seen a Masonic Parade!

If the argument is a semiotic one, then the most common symbol of Freemasonry is the compass and squared rule, with or without the stylised “G”, which represents The Grand Architect of the Universe. This symbol is not unique to Freemasonary and is used by the following organisations, though the list is not exhaustive: The Order of Free Gardeners; The Junior Order of United American Mechanics; The Royal Black Institution; The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia; The Incorporation of Wrights and Masons (Edinburgh Trades); and the Arms of the Former Allan Glen’s School and Rugby Club, Allan Glen himself having been a wright.

I would also point out that Masonic meeting standing orders forbid discussion of religion (except that members must acknowledge a superior being) and politics, which make their meetings somewhat incompatible with the Orange Order. Masonic Lodges display a holy book such as the Bible, Talmud, Koran and Vedas in their halls and again this reinforces its ecumenical nature. There are also French and Italian Masonic Lodges, and both are predominantly Roman Catholic countries.

READ MORE: Letters, November 28

With regard to TP McCluskey’s curiosity about Freemasonary and the Vatican, there are many texts on the subject, but perhaps two of particular interest would be “Most of us would laugh at the idea of a Masonic Mafia at work in the Vatican. I’m not sure that we should” (Catholic Herald, 30/07/2013) and “God’s banker, the Mafia, the Masons and Vatican fraud” (BBC, 06/12/2013).

The Masons have always maintained that Roman Catholics are eligible for membership. So if Freemasons have no bar on Roman Catholics, could something else be discouraging them from seeking membership? There have been three Papal Edicts regarding Freemasonry and the Roman Church, the most recent being CDF

1983 on Masonic Association. This states: “Catholics as Freemasons are in a state of great sin and may not receive Holy Communion”. It would appear that the only thing barring Catholics from Freemasonary is the Roman Church itself.

In fact, BBC News ran a story on 24 May 2013, about the Vatican punishing a French priest for being a Freemason.

Lastly, and on a more personal note, the tone of TP’s letter suggested that I am a Freemason. I am not. In 1998 I became a Roman Catholic. I do, however, go to the Masonic lunch club at the local lodge. I made no secret of where I went on Sundays, and in just over a year I was asked three times if I would like to consider membership.

I declined pleading the Groucho Marx amendment that I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member!

WJ Graham
East Kilbride

READ MORE: Letters, November 22