THE best thing you can say about BBC Scotland appointing Muriel Gray as a board member is that it could have been a lot worse. It could have been Neil Oliver.

You might think that appointing a woman who presided over Glasgow School of Art burning to the ground not once but twice was tempting fate, so let's just hope that whoever is in charge of installing Pacific Quay's fire sprinklers isn't also the same person who is responsible for their complaints department. The latter is most definitely not a functioning entity.

In her new position, Gray will play a significant role in setting and overseeing the strategic direction of the corporation north of the Border - potentially for next four years. She will be paid £33,000 a year for working the equivalent of two days a week, plus another £5000 for chairing the board’s Scotland committee.

READ MORE: Kevin McKenna: Here’s what Muriel Gray will be bringing us more of at the BBC

Broadcasting is reserved to Westminster. The appointment of a woman who is well known in Scotland as a strong opponent of independence was made by ministers in the British Government. They are clearly keen to see the BBC in Scotland double down on its role as the propagandist in chief for British nationalism (which can't be nationalist because it's British) as the country moves towards a second independence referendum.

Gray's job description says that her role is to support the BBC in order to help it meet its aims as an impartial public broadcaster, yet she has very firmly nailed her colours to the mast on the single most important issue in Scottish politics.

It is further confirmation that for the BBC, support for the British state is the default setting. It automatically regards such a position as neutrality. That might suffice in England, but it is most certainly not the case in a Scotland where the nature of the country's relationship to the Westminster Parliament is very much a live issue.

It indicates yet again that an organisation which sees its primary role as fostering and maintaining a British identity is institutionally incapable of reporting in a neutral and unbiased manner on the Scottish constitutional debate. This new appointment shows that the BBC isn't even trying, safe as it is in the knowledge that there is nothing anyone in Scotland can do about it.

The National:

Gray’s appointment will do absolutely nothing to restore public trust in BBC Scotland among that half of the Scottish population whom it pleases Muriel to dismiss as separatists.

It is a sign of how far the BBC's reputation in Scotland has already fallen that the appointment of confirmed Unionist Muriel Gray to the board of a supposedly politically neutral public service broadcaster merely confirms what we already knew, rather than causing it any greater reputational damage.

On Muriel's part, it will be an easy and seamless transition, she's just moving from one burned out husk that's a shell of its former self to another. It might be possible to restore the Glasgow School of Art to something approaching its past glory, but the BBC in Scotland is beyond redemption.

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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