Newsweek Scotland: In the Eurozone
I made a film in Berlin, in about 1990 I think, with Margo Macdonald, looking at the unhappy relationship the immigrant Turkish community had with the Germans. This coming so soon after the fall of the Wall, we filmed at the site where it used to stand.
The blocks of flats in East Berlin had no windows facing west so the residents couldn't look out and pine for the lifestyle of the West Berliners. Naturally I picked up a piece of masonry and took it home along as a momento of the Wall along with the obligatory toy Trabbi car. I have no idea where either is now... buried under junk in the basement I suppose. I mention it because we're talking to a German commentator on the anniversary of the Wall being built and relating it to the state of Germany today and its central role in the Eurozone. They will drive the currency recovery but they also helped cause the problem by making so many goods and lending money to Greece and Portugal to buy the stuff.
I remember flying out of Templehof, Hitler's airport, which you can see on the old newsreels festooned with giant banners and swastikas. It's a sign of the times that it is now closed down.
Also we will challenge the Government view that there is no social or economic context to the riots. (English, mind you, not British). Is it possible to have thousands of young people rampaging through cities looting and, in come cases, killing, without there being some sociological perspective? You can see why the government wants to keep it fixed in tram tracks, in order to avoid awkward questions about public policy. But our job is to be awkward. So we will be - with Mike Nellis of Strathclyde University and Neil Alldred of the University of Ulster who study such things. Also, does the media have something to answer for? Does constantly replaying film of rioting and showing how thrilling it all is, encourage copy cat behaviour?
We will also enter the world of the think tanks. Do we need them and what ideas have they actually produced? Why has it taken so long for a left-wing think tank, the Jimmy Reid Foundation, to start up? Jimmy Reid and Margo, eh? There's a couple of commentators for you. Where are their likes today? (Although I can't resist pointing out that in Berlin we lost Margo in the shopping district when she was supposed to be filming only for her to appear raving about the choice of handbags she'd found in a shop. You can see how dedicated we were to our journalism.) I hope she's listening in the morning. 8am. Join me then.