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Newsweek Scotland: Never Too Late

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 14:46 UK time, Friday, 11 May 2012

There was a technical glitch with last week's blog. It's something that happens from time to time in the hurly burly of broadcasting - I forgot. I was sitting in the champagne and oyster bar at the end of a challenging day when I remembered. Too late.

Too late too for the asparagus harvest. With so much going on around the world, I find myself weighed down not with politics but with green pointy spears. The English ones are best and they're supposed to arrive this week but only a few truckloads made it. I don't buy the ones from Peru and Morocco preferring the idea of a proper season and deferred gratification. So we'll look into it and bring you a briefing in coming weeks.

But this week we hear what the broad left in Scotland is talking about with Trevor Davies whom I used to make television programmes with many moons ago. Fed up with hearing how defending wee Scotland would be too boring for young recruits we get the lowdown on life in a small country's military and the answers might surprise you.

We discuss the irony of the costs of solar power going down as nuclear costs rocket to the point where Britain's nuclear programme is threatened. We ask difficult questions about the Rochdale grooming case and the race issue. There's a briefing on collective switching. (Don't ask. Just listen and you might save a few hundred quid). How do we face up to death is the challenging topic for Gillian our reporter and Angus Macleod is with us as ever. We have politics too and a dash of foreign affairs...is al Qaeda operating in Syria?

Do join me at 8 tomorrow.

Don't forget!


  • Comment number 1.

    'The English ones are best'? Clearly you are not an asparagus connoisseur! I thought everybody knew that the best asparagus is from Lesotho? And that early harvesting is required before shoots break through to satisfy the Germans who like their asparagus to be white? Sounds too like the English haven't got their supply chains sorted either! But while you guys potter off to research this topic properly for a future programme you might be interested to see the decision issued by the PCC this afternoon in the case of 'Skintland' versus 'The Economist'? Note the finding that 'The Economist' is not found to be 'reliable' on anything not least asparagus:

    Verdict on Robertson v 'The Economist' has just arrived from The Press Complaints Commission (a "self-regulatory body"):

    Commission’s decision in the case of
    Robertson v The Economist

    The complainant considered the article, an editorial by the magazine on the economic consequences of Scottish secession, had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The complainant said that the map of Scotland on the magazine’s front cover, accompanying the editorial, had contained numerous inaccuracies that had smeared Scotland.

    The Commission had regard for the terms of Clause 1 (i) of the Code, which make clear that the press “must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information”, and the terms of Clause 1 (ii) which state that “a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected promptly and with due prominence”.

    The Commission was aware that the complainant’s concerns related to the map that had been published on the magazine’s front cover; as the complainant had acknowledged, this map was part of the magazine’s editorial on the issue of Scottish independence and its potential economic consequences; as such, when addressing the complaint the Commission had regard for this context.

    The complainant considered the labelling of a town in the Scottish borders as ‘footinmouth’ had suggested to readers that there were cases of foot and mouth disease in the Scottish borders. In this instance, the label seemed to have been a satirised version of Eyemouth, the name of a town in southern Scotland; while the Commission acknowledged the complainant’s concern, it did not agree that readers in general would have understood this name as suggesting an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Scotland. There was no breach of the Code on this point.

    The complainant said that the description of Edinburgh as ‘edinborrow’ suggested that the magazine did not understand the difference between borrowing, and funds under management. Furthermore, he also felt that it had been inaccurate to suggest that the city was twinned with Athens. However it was the magazine’s view, as outlined in the editorial, that an independent Scotland could face higher borrowing costs and difficulty obtaining credit from international markets. The editorial had ended with the magazine’s warning that an independent Scotland could face sovereign debt problems similar to those experienced by Greece; in this context, the Commission was satisfied that readers would have understood the connection, and would not have been misled.

    The Commission turned to consider the complainant’s concerns in relation to the portrayal of the climate and geography of Scotland in the map; in particular, the complainant emphasised that there had been no meteorological data provided to support the labelling of St Kilda Island as ‘st colder’, and that Arran was not ecologically barren. The Commission considered that readers would have generally understood the map as a satirical illustration of an aspect of the magazine’s argument, and not a literal representation of the geography of Scotland or the climatic conditions of its constituent territories. There was no breach of the Code.

    The complainant said that the labelling of Fair Isle as ‘unfair isle’ was inaccurate; and he emphasised that the Shetland Islands have not been leased to the Kingdom of Norway. Furthermore he considered that the label of ‘aberdown’ was inaccurate, as shown by the Chevron oil company advertisement next to the magazine editorial. While the Commission acknowledged the complainant’s concerns, it did not consider that these labels would have been understood by readers as reliable descriptions of the economies, or socio-economic conditions, of their respective locations. As such, it was satisfied that readers had not been misled and it did not establish a breach of the Code on this point

    Our reference – 121731


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