Honey I shrunk the Scots?

Has Accountability Bloke (aka Mel Dubnick) has found some evidence of strains in the Kingdom? Some Scots are not happy with the new map projection which seems to shrink the physical size of Scotland on the new BBC weather forecast. Another fiendish conspiracy hatched in the South East of England? (Well, actually the Met Office headquarters is now firmly ensconced in the West Country)

  • peteb

    I think the Met Office, who create the visuals, have already reacted to the overly-sensitive criticism.

  • Mick

    Link Pete?

  • peteb

    Yeah.. I’ll have to see if I can back up that claim..

  • peteb

    Here you go, Mick.. I’d prefer a before and after image myself.. but my dinner’s going to be burnt..

  • Mick

    There’s no news like old news!

  • Jeremy

    There is a before and after on the BBC news site under scotland somewhere. Unlike Peteb I have yet to start cooking so dont have time to search.
    well done the scots. why the hell should they have to squint at the map to see what the weather is like

  • peteb


    They could look outside… with glasses if necessary. 🙂

  • peteb

    The link, mentioned by Jeremy, to a view of the two ‘improved’ maps side-by-side is available here – New BBC weather map gets facelift

    BTW, I see it’s in the BBC’s “Entertainment” archive.. heh heh

  • Alex

    I think we should start a campaign to stop forecasters standing on top of our little land!

  • IJP

    This sort of petty nonsense doesn’t win the Scots any friends.

    What next? Rathlin Islanders in result at downsizing on Newsline?

  • Davros

    I’d make a plea for something to be done about Wales except I remember the fuss over Ann Robinson’s comments LOL

  • fair_deal

    The Scots grip is legitimate especially for those in the most northernly parts. You can barely see the Orkneys or the Highlands so how you’re supposed to see the weather I don’t know. The BBC is a national broadcaster after all.

    I am amazed in the preparations that this did not come up. The first time I saw it I knew there would be lots of complaints from Scotland.

    This also reminds me of the west wing episode about the impact of map-making on social perceptions.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Sounds fair enough, but why are the SNP treating this like some sort of crusade?

    “SNP leader Alex Salmond said the BBC had been ‘undone by the Western Isles whirlwind’. It is great to see that Scottish pressure has made the BBC think again.”

    For Christ’s sake grow the f**k up.

  • fair_deal


    SNP simply trying to raise their profile after disappointing election results. Plus I have always found in politics it is amazing how it is the little things that gets lots of people motivated.

  • Downsized Scot

    To be honest, the new map is still somewhat distorted- the Isle of Wight, Kent etc. still command more attention than places at the top of the map. The Western Isles are 180 miles north to south but you’d never think it to look at the map. The distance from the northern tip of Shetland to the Southern tip is longer than that from Dublin to Belfast, yet you can hardly see the place on the map.

    All the fancy graphics tend to distract from the basic message- I don’t find them at all useful. Why do they need to view the map from the south at all? It makes it look as though Belgium is the size of Siberia, when it actually fits comfortably into the old Highlands and Islands Euro seat.

    The SNP won back the Western Isles and Dundee East seats, so their campaign was hardly a disaster. More open goals like the BBC weather are grist to their mill.

  • martin

    did the rightful Stuart king give an interview during his lunchbreak at the library where he works part -time,

  • downsizedscot

    “”This sort of petty nonsense doesn’t win the Scots any friends.

    What next? Rathlin Islanders in result at downsizing on Newsline?””

    OK, I’ll take the bait. Scotland is one-third of the land mass of GB, and yet you compare it to Rathlin Island.

    You don’t win friends by standing up for yourselves- I thought the Ulster-Scots would know that by now.

  • James Orr

    Downsized Scot,
    You have my sympathy and support. London-centric English arrogance strikes again. And an ironic shame that it’s IJP who has mocked the Scots quite legitimate complaints – he being a regular Ulster-Scots commentator and all that.

    Mind you, it further reinforces precisely why the BBC has become an irrelevance for the broadcasting future. Narrowcasting is the way forward – bye bye BBC and bye bye licence fee.

  • IJP

    Presumably that’s the same ‘London-centric arrogant BBC’ which recently placed ads for a Blue Peter presenter in mainstream regional press only in Scotland and NI?

    But I doubt the same people were complaining about that – indeed, I daresay they were joining in the mocking of the clown from the West Country who brought it up.

    Ulster Scots and my admiration for Scottish history have nothing to do with the fact that in both cases (one pro-Scot, one anti-Scot) petty moaning won few friends.

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I like to be consistent.

  • Downsized Scot

    How else do we get what we want other than via “petty moaning”?

    One way I remember from time resident in Shetland is via sarcasm. A popular line of local T-shirts had a map of Shetland emblazoned on the front with a small box to the bottom left containing the rest of the British Isles. I wonder if they ever sent one to the Met Office?

  • James Orr

    After your recent exchange on the letters page of the News Letter, you like the rest of us are obviously adept at the occasional petty moan! 😉

  • James Orr

    Maps are important pieces of emotional communication as much as they are geographical information. Why else is it that world maps produced in North America have that continent in the middle, and ours have Europe/Africa in the middle? People are interested in their own home. When you see a map of your own general locality, who can resist looking for their own town/street/village?

    Remember the recent E.U. publication which left Wales out?

    And the usual oh-so-superior Euro outcry when its claimed that the citizens of the USA cant point out Canada or China on a world map, and the standard punchilne of “makes you wonder where their missiles are pointed”. Boom boom.

    Maps matter. They’re important to people everywhere, hence the outcry.

  • Davros

    My thoughts on this – Maps have various functions.
    They aren’t just for displaying physical reality of geography. Weather maps have a function to visually inform people of weather – therefor I don’t see a problem in a map reflecting population distribution.
    Scotland may be geographically a large proportion of the UK land mass, but it’s a small part of the UK population.

  • downsized scot

    Davros, that’s what I assumed the BBC had in mind. The question is, why? The previous map allowed you to see your locality and pretty much ignore the rest, whereas now I can’t stop looking at the South coast of England.

    The thing is, there is somewhat more weather variability between Stranraer and Shetland (up to 500 miles by road and sea) than in the small patch of Southern England that seems to command as much attention on screen despite limited variation in weather locally.

    Why not bring back a straightforward map similar to what is on the BBC website?

    The techie nerds just want to show off their whizz-bang graphics with no discernible improvement in clarity or understanding for the public and an impairment for many.

    If you want a map based on pure population, than half of it will cover an area within 70 miles of London- not even as far as Birmingham. Of course, the Republic of Ireland etc, would have to go and Northern Ireland could go in a wee box less than a quarter the size of London.

    Still, at least they’d have to shrink the Isle of Wight.

  • IJP



    No, in fact I am not moaning in the Newsletter at all. I’m very careful never to do that. I will raise queries (in this case: is it a good idea to be openly political?), I will challenge assumptions (the Society is ‘non-sectarian’), and I will suggest solutions (withdrawal of Society spokespeople from open political comment). It’s a serious point – in a divided society being ‘inclusive’ and/or ‘non-sectarian’ takes rather more than blythely saying ‘I’m not political’ – you have to be active about it. And it’s not always easy.

    But I never moan – so there! 🙂


    Agreed 100%.

  • Davros

    The previous map allowed you to see your locality and pretty much ignore the rest, whereas now I can’t stop looking at the South coast of England.

    D-Scot – follwing the National Weather forecast ( aimed at 60 Million odd ) there should usually be a Local weather forecast – doesn’t that address your concerns ?