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Newsweek Scotland - A week in News

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 14:38 UK time, Friday, 17 December 2010

Here is the news: This weekend will be the last Newsweek until next year. That is, there will be no programme on December 25 to allow the BBC to play Jingle Bells instead. Funnily enough, the only words I knew was the chorus until I heard our four-year-old singing in the house....

"O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way,
Bells on bob tails ring,
Making spirits bright."

Actually it goes on for another verse which, when I read it, made me wonder if it would pass the BBC innuendo test.

(To the tune of Jingle Bells)
"I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot...!"

Of course, I'm part of the Carry On generation and never miss the chance for a double entendre. So I can tell you we are going to gently massage our firm format and give it a bit of a tickle on January 1. We have asked some of our outstanding contributors to come together for a series of special discussions. We take stock of the world - yes, the entire planet - in the company of some of the best experts in the country... Murray Pittock, Simon Lee, Rosemary Hollis, Phillip Blond and Gerry Hassan among them. It may be just the tonic you need on Ne'er Day to keep your brain from turning to mince.

Meantime tomorrow we have our usual mix of domestic and foreign items... tuition fees - how did it come to this? After the financial crash we learned not to saddle ourselves with too much debt. So why in England are they proposing students start life with a mortgage for their education? What is the solution? We'll ask Gerard De Groot of St Andrews University, our oldest, founded 1413.

We tackle corruption in Kenya with an outstanding Scot, Professor David Anderson, Professor of African Politics at Oxford University, founded 12th century. Massimo Franco in Rome, a columnist with Corriere dell Serra, tells us what will happen in Italy as Berlusconi comes under more fire. He also lectures at the University of California Berkley, founded 1868. I went there myself but only for the day, to hear a lecture at their school of journalism. Pity I didn't listen. I might have learned something. As it is, I don't even know the words to Jingle Bells. Join me tomorrow at 8.

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