Newsweek Scotland - A week in news
I don't get much excitement at my age so it was nice to be invited on to a real film set today. It's the location for much of the action in Field of Blood, an adaptation of the Denise Mina novel which is based in a Glasgow newsroom in the 1980's.
When they were looking for a gnarled reporter from the era to recall the visual detail from 30 years ago to make it authentic, they thought of me. How kind! And having remembered the typewriters, ashtrays, the big news diary, mocquette chairs and envelopes full of cuttings, at the Glasgow Herald, I was really taken to find them replicated in the newsroom of the "Glasgow Daily News". I almost called out:"Boy! Twenty Bensons and black coffee to the reporters' desk. Quick as you like." I have to admit it brought to mind so many hacks who illuminated my life but who are now gone - Ronnie Anderson, Dick Sharpe, Arnold Kemp, Duncan Dinsdale, George Miller, Eric Dakers and many others. The location is the top floor of an old Strathclyde Region building in India Street in Glasgow and is a reminder of how clever the film makers are at creating a fantasy world.
Nothing fake about Newsweek, though. We have a real programme from a real newsroom put together by a real news team...okay, I'm overdoing it now.
We tackle a sensitive issue with unpleasant undertones - jock-baiting in the media. There have been heavy-duty examples recently of gratuitously insulting references to Scots and Scotland and while we don't normally take that too seriously, the reaction in the BBC complaints log indicates just how dismayed and sometimes downright angry it makes you. We have a stab at explaining why certain people - or is it a social type - feel the need to denigrate the Scots in a way that you are most unlikely ever to hear a Scot do about an Englishman these days. We debate with academic Murray Pittock and journalist Joan McAlpine.
David Cameron returns from the Euro summit glowing with pride at cutting the level of increase in our contribution to Brussels but knowing his own backbenchers will thank him not. They want what he promised - a freeze or a reduction in real terms. Aren't we always at war with Europe? Sorry, that sounds as if it's in bad taste. We were at war IN Europe and afterwards Churchill backed a new compact with our neighbours to prevent future conflict. Yet ever since we have turned the shoulder and grudgingly accepted EU membership, but only on our own terms. Why can't we embrace the European project wholeheartedly? Will we ever love it? We hear from an MEP and a European expert.
And we have something really spooky at Hallowe'en. At the start of the year we spoke to John McCloskey, a world authority on earthquakes. He predicted before the end of 2010 a cataclysm in Sumatra. And what just happened? We return to hear his view of this week's quake, tsunami and volcanic eruption.