Saturday 6 March 2010


I don’t often read the Courier and Advertiser (our local newspaper) but a friend drew my attention to a little story in the Political Diary, and indeed to the rather excellent writings of Steve Bargeton. I’m glad she did; he’s really amusing.

Anyway, the little story to which I refer is one regarding the TV debates. Apparently a Dundee West constituent, living in the Perth Road area of the city, can’t get Freeview on his set. So he telephoned Conservative HQ in London to ask if David Cameron was happy that one of the broadcasts would not be available to all tv owners? He explained that the digital signal was poor in the area of Dundee where he lives.

The response from the Tory Central Office was a suggestion that he go to the pub to watch the debate.... prompting the constituent to ask himself if anyone in Tory Central Office h
ad ever been in a Dundee pub?

Picture, if you will, the scene in any one of the West End pubs where the punters are enjoying Sky Sport’s football coverage, and this lone constituent coughs nervously, and asks politely if anyone would mind if they turned over for 90 minutes as there was this really interesting discussion programme starring Nick Clegg, about to start.....

Yeah right.....


Top: Taybridge transmitter (incapable of providing digital signal across the city) Below: Millbank Tower (Tory HQ)


  1. I understand that Dundee’s digital signal comes from either the Monikie transmitters or from the Tay Bridge transmitter that you have pictured. Unfortunately the Tay bridge transmitter cannot carry the analogue and the digital signal at the same time so those households using it cannot get Freeview at all. Regrettably for the Tories this means that most of the people living in the affluent Perth Road area of the city cannot get Sky News, which is a shame really as the west end ward is one of the cities areas that returns a Tory councillor one Donald Hay.

    Incidentally the Millbank Tower is the tallest building in Westminster.

  2. Well, I get my digital signal from there Munguin, and it's pretty unwatchable most of the time. It really was a waste of the licence fee for me to buy a tv. I know that I can tune in to the analogue signal, but I really bought it so that I could watch ITV 3 and 4 and BBC 3 and a few other channels. It's true that Sky is just impossible to watch at any time in this part of the city.

    Still, going to the pub sounds like an option I guess, but definately NOT to watch a political discussion.

  3. Tbh, I can think of a lot better things to do in a pub than watch politics. Actually I'd rather do anything than watch it.
    That said, the guy is at a bit of a loss as to where he can watch the broadcasts.

  4. The most remarkable thing about this is that someone from Tory central office knew where Dundee was.

    He/she must have passed through on their way to shoot something out on the moors, like all good old Etonians do.

  5. Yeah. True QM. I think Scotland is pretty far down the list when it comes to things like digital signals. Our internet speed is prehistoric too....

    Oh well.....

  6. LOL @ Dubbieside.... Yep, you change trains here for Perthshire and the North. Apparently Queen Victoria, on her way from Balmoral in 1879, stopped at Dundee(specifically so that she could cross the old railway bridge... the longest in the world at the time). She declined to alight but had the City Fathers gather at the railway station to hear her address which she delivered from the train window. Clearly she was not too impressed with Dundee, however she did knight Thomas Bouch who had built the bridge. It fell down a few months later, some say due to shoddy materials, and the word "bouch" entered the english language as slang for a bad job.

    Oh what a mine of information is Munguin's Republic.... :¬)

  7. A mine of information indeed! Interesting that Victoria was OK with delivering speeches from a train window. I once read that when traveling to Scotland she always alighted from the train to dine. She just felt that it was not proper to dine while moving.

    Poor Dundee. A real bummer to have the longest railway bridge in the world collapse on you. Perhaps the Queen was a jinx. After the first transatlantic cable was put in service on August 5, 1858, the Queen sent the first transatlantic telegram, a message of congratulations, to President Buchanan on August 16. There was worldwide acclaim until the cable quit working the following month. (A replacement didn't go into service until 1866. Not sure if the Queen took notice of that one.)

    Surely Britain will get the digital TV thingy worked out. But why would reception in the pub be better than anywhere else?

    The digital television transition seems to have worked here in the states OK. There is no longer any analog signal being broadcast at all. It even works here in the Midwest (central USA).....considered "fly over" country by the urban sophisticates jetting between New York and LA. A friend in New York e-mailed me a message asking if some Olympic results from Vancouver had reached Kansas yet. (Kansas City is mostly in Missouri, not Kansas....but never mind.) Anyway, I assured him that we had received the information. That the stagecoach had just arrived with the eastern papers.....and had not been delayed by Indian attack.

  8. I'm surprised they did not ask him to buy a second home - it's all the rage apparently - in an area with better reception.

    Sorry I've missed out on your words of wisdom for the past couple of weeks - the ironing won't do itself, you know!

  9. Hey there Danny....

    It seems that Victoria may have been a bit of a jinx. But in the case of the Tay Bridge Danny, I suspect it was more to do with a deal that they had made to defraud the railway company by buying second rate cast iron, and charging the railway for first class, or something like that. The tragedy was that it collapsed as a train was going over it costing the lives of 75 people.

    You know a couple of years ago I bet you that the UK would make a worse job of the digital switch over... and it appears that I was right. It was entrusted to the BBC and they have done their usual cack handed job of it. I imagine that it is more reliable in pubs because they use cable or satellite rather than the ordinary run of the mill thing.... I know you’ll understand this much more than I do.... me not being overly scientific by nature.

    I’m always intrigued by the fact that Kansas City is largely in Missouri though. I bet that’s another thing that will have been learned today Munguin’s Republic readers. I’m pleased there are fewer Indian attacks on the stage though. Maybe you’ll get this message ok.....

  10. LOL @ Brownlie....

    Maybe they assumed that one had a second heise in the country anyway and that the reception was no better there... Who knows...

    For sure it is frustrating to know that a good programme (not the debates, which I shall undoubtedly miss) is on, and yet to be able to get only snatches of it, between pops and crackles and screens going blue...

    Anyways Brownlie, don't think that your absence wasn't missed.... I said to Munguin, where's that Brownlie fellow?.. and he said to me.... Doing the ironing I reckon!

    Whatever.... it's nice to see you back. :)

    PS I have a few shirts here... I don't No? OK then.

  11. tris,

    sorry, mate, I've got a more pressing engagement! I've even blogged for the second time this year - must be a record!

  12. Och well, god loves a trier, or so they say...

    I'll be at your place shortly to read your latest pearls of wit and wisdom... I usually learn something or get a good belly laugh, and sometimes both...

    Now.... you are sure about these shirts....?

  13. for your comment about the Kansas City name, the readers of Munguin's Republic are now probably more knowledgeable on the subject (of which they care nothing) than Americans outside the Midwest. Kansas Citians enjoy telling New Yorkers (for example) that there was a "Kansas City" long before there even a Territory of Kansas, much less a State of Kansas. (Essays about the disastrous Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the resulting founding of the Republican Party and Civil War, available from the writer upon request...LOL.)

    But I digress. Your comment that pubs are more likely to have good reception due to satellite or cable hookups reminded me that may be one reason why the American switchover happened fairly smoothly. With the large distances and relatively few television stations (broadcast transmitters) outside of the big eastern cities, the Midwest, the Great Plains, and the mountain states of the West came to depend largely on cable, and then satellite, for television reception. (Electrical service didn't even reach some of these remote regions until the 1950's.) To this day, huge areas of the plains and mountains get their "local" evening news on cable from Denver, Salt Lake City, or Albuquerque. That pretty much covers the big cities of the Plains and Mountain West. So although they have always had the monthly charge from the cable or satellite company, people got good reception after the digital changeover without even buying a new digital TV set or converter box. With the population density and compact territory of the UK, I doubt that cable and satellite television was historically a big player in the development of TV service there.

  14. The chap could easily contact Vigin Media as that part of the city has cable TV.

  15. Well, that would cost the poor chap rather a lot of money.... all to see a pile of lying shits.

    Maybe he can't afford that, given that he's already bought a freeview box which was supposed to deal with that problem.