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Newsweek Scotland: Ken MacDonald in for Derek Bateman

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 16:45 UK time, Friday, 10 June 2011

Ken MacDonald will be tackling the issues of the day on Newsweek Scotland for the next couple of weeks while Derek's on leave, he's written this post introducing the subjects up for discussion on this week's show.


Ken MacDonald

Ken MacDonald

When Derek Bateman is away getting his bicycle serviced and Isabel Fraser wants to spend more time with her dahlias, a wee man in protective clothing is dispatched to remove the garlic blossoms from around the door of the lead-lined former Cold War bunker beneath the Clyde where I hang upside-down, wings furled against the light, awaiting my moment to present Newsweek Scotland. So it was this week.


As a Radio Scotland listener I've always considered Newsweek to be the answer to the question, "what's the opposite of dumbing down?" That makes it a particular intellectual challenge when you're asked to present it. It's always struck me as everything a Scottish current affairs programme should be: intelligent, reflective, non-parochial. (Amazing, then, that they let me anywhere near it.) These are the qualities the Scottish media will need in spades if it's to perform its public duty in this, the most significant period in our politics since 1707.

A pity, then, that the once-mighty Daily Record and Sunday Mail has chosen this week to begin dispensing with the services of more than one-third of its journalists. More content will be provided from the Daily Mirror in London. Is this is a further step in the Britishing of the Scottish media - and if so, does it matter? That's one of the questions we'll be asking this week.

As the Arab Spring slides into summer, we'll be questioning whether the millions in aid being promised to some of these emerging democracies is doing more harm than good.

The US presidential election is well over a year away, which means the campaign is already approaching full throttle. It's the American way. We'll be assessing the Republican runners and riders to oppose Obama: Romney? Palin? Newt "Nae Mates" Gingrich?

We'll also be hearing about the trial of a former Prime Minister. He's accused of failing to regulate the banks - and failing to cope with the inevitable collapse of a costly (to the taxpayer, naturally) experiment in casino capitalism. Theoretically he could be jailed for his negligence. But don't get your hopes up, Blair-haters: we'll be on the line to Reykjavik.

Join Ken and the Newsweek Scotland team tomorrow morning at 8.

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