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Newsweek Scotland: Join up to Witter

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 16:50 UK time, Friday, 27 January 2012

The landscape is still clogged with the weeds of constitution... something new or nasty springs up every day and sometimes several times in the same day. In fact there's so much to deal with we could fill two hours. I've been hacking my way through the undergrowth with the Newsweek machete and I think we have reached a clearing where we can take a breather. You may not have taken in all of the referendum consultation so we'll update you on what you need to know and, as ever, examine the real motives and possible consequences.

Edinburgh and London are making purring noises at each other but you sense it won't last and they will be flying in again like wildcats. Talks are scheduled between First Minister and Scottish Secretary - currently more or less quarantined with chicken pox - and then with Prime Minister as the consultations get under way.

If you thought the question was commendably unfussy and to the point, you'd be surprised at the hostility it engendered in some quarters with claims it was being fiddled and fixed. It demonstrates just how heated and momentous this whole event is. We will dissect the week with Angus Macleod and George Kerevan.

You may have been taken aback at some of the language used in the debate such as "absolutely ludicrous" (use of sterling), "devious, cunning, manipulative" (of the First Minister) "laughable" (Scottish army plans), even that a defence force would be "a Third World militia". Every opinion has validity and I can remember a time not so many years ago before government when SNP news releases read like Sun headlines screaming foul. But we wondered if the tone of debate is counter-productive... that if you overstate your case or insult the target, it works against you. We speak to Benedict Brogan, the deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph who worries that London-based critics just don't get it about Scotland.

We go behind the scenes in Brussels into the heart of the EU machine and hear how lawyers who advise the Council of Ministers - the key decision-making body in Europe - are advising that Scotland would be treated the same as the remaining UK and both would retain membership of the EU. They seem to dismiss suggestions that the RUK would be successor state leaving Scotland outside. We hear from an AFP reporter who spoke to them in a briefing how renewed membership would be determined by qualified majority voting with no nation having a veto.

We return to the developing English question with Peter Hetherington and Simon Lee who has written a briefing paper for MPs on English independence! We tackle the bankers bonuses and try to put them in perspective and we have the Angus paper review.

Finally, some of you may be aware of a social media campaign which is using a very flattering and digitally enhanced photo of me! My lawyers - Sue, Grabbit and Run - have asked me to point out that while it is my photo (copyright BBC), I have no involvement with any campaign. (Or indeed any involvement with social media. I have no Facebook account, whatever that is, and I don't even Twitter). I do however Witter and will do so from 8 tomorrow. Join me then.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great stuff Derek! Will set the alarm and will alert friends!

  • Comment number 2.

    Your public obviously hold you in higher regard than the biased BBC but I wouldn't worry you are better than that and only serve to show up the appalling standards of others You I'm sure will have no trouble putting your talents elsewhere others will obviously struggle

    I look forward to the discussions tomorrow

  • Comment number 3.

    looking forward to tomorrows show, please please tell me that I don't have to listen to another 2 years of negative spin from the unionists and the BBC before we get to the referendum. will the first minister's reputation survive? will the first minister survive? will the labour party ever say or do something positive in the next 2 years?
    indeed will they ever have any new ideas of there own?

  • Comment number 4.

    Enjoyed the programme as always Derek. I would say 'keep it up' but what's the point......

  • Comment number 5.

    As ever another excellent and most enjoyable edition of Newsweek Scotland!
    I hope all like minded listeners are doing all they can to persuade Mr Ken McQuarrie and the BBC Scotland Senior Management to think again about axing the programme!

    Just in case anyone is not aware, Newsweek Scotland, which is one hour long with a single presenter and producer is to be replaced by a Saturday edition of Good Morning Scotland which will be two hours long, presumably with two presenters, and all the existing production team having to work an extra day.
    Furthermore a new one hour political programme is under development and this is to be broadcast also on a Saturday. How can the BBC claim this is going to save costs???

    I have personally made an online complaint, a telephone complaint, I've written to seven MSP's, I've written to Lord Patten - Chairman of the BBC Trust, and intend to make contact with Bill Matthews - BBC Trust Member for Scotland. I have also added my name to the 'Save Newsweek Scotland' facebook and twitter sites. Can I urge everyone that cares about Newsweek Scotland to consider doing the same, and perhaps even more!

    I don't think that we should be treated in the way we have been by BBC Scotland, after all we are the listeners and without us there would be no Radio Scotland.

    Please think on Mr McQuarrie!

  • Comment number 6.

    I urge you to read over this BBC news article:

    Does this review also encompass BBC Radio Scotland? It does not look like it based on this article. People have already written to the BBC Trust to seek clarification on this matter.

    Since Derek has mentioned the campaign, the social media links you may wish to visit are:



  • Comment number 7.

    Yesterday's show continues its model approach to the constitutional debate - intelligent, informed, questioning and with, again, stimulating fresh angles. Compare and contrast if you will, the contribution Derek makes to current affairs compared with Paxman's ludicrous infantile posturing earlier in the week in his handling of Alex Salmond. Telegraph deputy editor Ben Brogan's thoughtful contribution made excellent listening.
    BBC Scotland needs a really good hard shake if it contemplates ditching this programme in favour of the routine current affairs drivel peddled by Good Morning Scotland, Call Kaye and rugby hoofer John Beattie. Has gravitas no longer any place at Pacific Quay?

  • Comment number 8.

    Enjoyed your program as usual in its unbiased content with people who knew what they were talking about without the obvious political colour which is evident in other programs on BBC Scotland. Saw this tweet.


    LesleyRiddoch Lesley Riddoch
    Sounds like BBC Trust has dumped planned cuts in local radio & national regions. R Newsweek & Scotland @ Ten safe?

  • Comment number 9.

    Newsweek Scotland - by far the BEST NEWS PROGRAMME on the BBC. If it's not broke why fix it?

  • Comment number 10.

    The discussion of the future use of the £ in an independent Scotland was very informative. Thankyou for an excellent programme, yet again. It is a pleasure to hear full discussion of the facts. I wonder if this balance of presentation and discussion might spread to other BBC Scotland outlets. The self-evident mis-reporting this week on BBC Reporting Scotland was quite simply unacceptable. In particular, the lack of objectivity in the broadcast about climate change revealed plain bias on the part of Raymond Buchanan. Similarly, there was no balance in the reporting of the Samsung investment at Methil. The overall tenor of the reporting on this topic this week was negative. I wonder if you might in the future have a look at Climate Change, Derek, at the future for the renewables industry and at carbon reduction targets. It was with great pleasure that I heard Newsweek again on the air this morning, but the programme's future looks very insecure. Do you think that Michael Moore might argue that 'this uncertainty is harming (BBC) Scotland'? I seem to recall him saying something similar in a related matter.

  • Comment number 11.

    What a shame your sane and balanced broadcasts are under threat while the so called British (sic) Broadcasting corporation continue with their biased misreporting of the political landscape in 21stCentury Scotland. We have moved on ...when will they...oh I know...Autumn 2012.

  • Comment number 12.

    As ever I enjoyed the programme. It is my favourite way to wake up on a Saturday. Newsweek is one of the most balanced and entertaining political and media round up programmes on the Beeb. I can't believe it is going. Gutted!

    It is getting to the point where there is no intelligent output from the Beeb on Scottish affairs at all.

  • Comment number 13.

    Enjoyed the discussion between yourself, Angus MacLeod and Mr Cusack also your chat with Douglas Fraser re currency union. All very enlightening. I can't bear to think that this programme is to be axed. Newsweek Scotland is a beacon of excellent broadcast journalism - the kind of analysis the programme offers is vital for all of us in Scotland in the run up to the referendum. The decision to cut this programme makes no sense.

  • Comment number 14.

    My correction to post 11.

    The correct date for the indpependence vote is of course autumn 2014.

    Posting autumn 2012 was my wishful thinking.


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