Newsweek Scotland: Quality Counts
It's an odd fact that the most frequent quote I get from the public when I tell them what I do is: "Sounds interesting. Where do I find you on the dial". So when we actually set about advertising the station, it's ironic to get complaints. I make the point only to show that sometimes you just can't win. Although I understand the latest numbers show Radio Scotland is winning by increasing listeners.
Personally, I think quality counts over quantity. Which I think is the BBC's new corporate idea so it may be, after all these years, I am finally turning into corporate man. Next I'll be telling you about Creative Futures and Digital Platforms and renaming the blog my Core Brief. Stop it, Derek!....Stop it!
So this week we hear again live from Egypt and analyse what may be happening across the region in, for example, Iran. The Iranians are a young and vital people but as we saw in their revolt after the presidential elections, they are held in check by a ruthless leadership in thrall to the mullahs. Are they eyeing the turmoil as an opportunity for an expansion of the Islamic state? David Pratt of the Sunday Herald, as intrepid a trouble-spot reporter as you''ll find and a good friend of the programme, is there. Dr Rosemary Hollis who travels extensively in the region will join us. She couldn't appear on our New Year's Day programme because she was stuck in Jordan.
I always feel a twinge of sympathy for the folk of Lockerbie whenever that and related stories come up. Like Dunblane or other human tragedies it must trigger feelings in many people even years later. But there's a Wikileaks tale to tell about the release of the convicted bomber Megrahi. The cables show the UK government beavering away behind the scenes to help Libya get him out of a Scottish jail, much more vigorously than we previously knew. And that the Americans who so loudly proclaimed their disagreement with his liberation, were also in the loop. So the Labour government let the SNP take the full rap of public contempt without divulging their sotto voce role. Iain Gray said he would not have released Megrahi. How does that claim look now? We'll speak to Christine Grahame, the Nationalist MSP who is a criminal lawyer, has followed the story closely and who doesn't follow her party line.
We have a new take on the Tesco Tax, now past its sell-by date. We debate our attitude to prisoners and ask if it isn't as Victorian as some of our jails. We join the Lee Jeans women 30 years on and don't forget the highlight of the whole show - Angus Macleod's Saturday paper review! The old curmudgeon from Lewis gets stuck into the burach his fellow hacks have made of the morning press. I'm off to iron my management suit and practice my corporate bull****. Join us at 8.