Sunday, 13 April 2008

Visit Bonny Scotland plc

Following up a link from Chasrle's blog, I end up at a blog packed with exciting reports about adventuresome times in Scotland. I read about mountain biking in the Castle Grounds, some canoeing with a guy who lives down the road from my folks (who's surname is familiar from my school days). All fun, until I thought about it - or rather, about the authors - here's the list:

They are all running their own businesses. Yup, the blog is a wee advert for their company. More power to their elbow, but is it really any different from, say, the BBC Scotland's "Adventure Show" or Radio Scotland's "Out of Doors", where they regularly promote private businesses. They can't help but do this.

In this case, is partly owned by - which is the national tourist board. Obviously the similarities in name are purely coincidental, as the .com business is partly funded three private companies as well as the .org body.

I'm sure all the funding is above board and my taxes aren't paying for anything that a private business should be paying for themselves. In the meantime, I'm off to have a look at and see if the same is true there. Lessee how this works - my taxes paid for the photographs used in VisitScotland (excluding those paid for by the private investors), which are now being hosted on a private site, where I (a taxpayer) can buy them... strangely, lists the registrar as Tucows Inc. No mention of a Scottish government body (in part or whole). Hey ho. Nice photos, whoever is making money from them.

I think this gets filed under "transparency". Maybe a quick call from Big Eck will sort it all out?

ps - I had to laugh when I noticed that folk know so little about Scottish history that they used the text from the Rough Guide (accredited on the site). I'd have thought that somewhere in all the ScotGov departments, my taxes would have already paid someone to have written articles on Scottish history without having to pay an outside agency for permission. Here's a famous extract from Scottish History. 100% accurate too.