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Newsweek Scotland: Quality Counts

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 15:59 UK time, Friday, 4 February 2011

BBC Scotland News

I was in a taxi at the lights in Glasgow the other night when a second cab drew alongside. It was covered in BBC Scotland logos promoting our news coverage and my cabbie said: "I see you lot are using my money to advertise yourselves." I didn't want to offend so I said: "Thanks very much".

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    Well done Derek for expressing a view on Megrahi held by a great many Scots. The duplicity of the Labour Party beggars belief and should be given greater publicity if only to be fair to the falsely maligned Justice Minister.

  • Comment number 2.

    I've put the date and time onto my calendar. Unfortunately, you're not actually going to have Iain Gray on trying to justify himself, I suppose. That would be fun - to hear him being interviewed by someone who isn't REALLY turning into corporate man.

  • Comment number 3.

    And don't forget young Master Baker would have had the whole Scottish goverment crawl to the Senators on their knees and prostrate themselves at their feet It's time someone took them on and demanded answers talking about loops it just shows how far out the loop Gray et al were kept

  • Comment number 4.

    It will be interesting to hear Mr McLeods take on the Wiki leak re the release of Megrahi and Labour`s early intervention.

  • Comment number 5.

    3. fairforfochen

    It must be a bit embarrassing to be a Labour front bench MSP. You can

    1. Admit that your UK colleagues told porkies and left you to make really, really silly statements
    2. Say that you knew all along, and the porkies were actually yours
    3. Suck your thumb and cry copiously.

  • Comment number 6.

    Evening, #5 reincarnation, to add to your list :
    4. keep your head down and hope the MSM do as they are told and they don't report it.

    5.blame the first minister, as we all know he is to blame for everything.

    6.get Glen outrage out of retirement and spin like billy o!!!!!


  • Comment number 7.

    Does anyone else get the feeling the MSM are not quite so friendly to Labour these days it seems to me little by little the stranglehold is breaking.Even the blubbery one said at the end of a piece on newsnight that the politicians academics and even journalists need to think less about their own standing and think more about Scotlands future and that's word for word I was so amazed I wrote it down

  • Comment number 8.

    "Iain Gray said he would not have released Megrahi."

    That seems fair enough.

    As head prefect for the elected group of nulabour msp's the decision would have been taken by the party leader, and so Mr Gray would not have had the party jurisdiction to make this decision.

  • Comment number 9.

    8. skoubhie_dubh
    ""Iain Gray said he would not have released Megrahi."

    That seems fair enough.

    Almost certainly true. Under the circumstances, he would have kept as far away from the decision as he could, and told the Baker Man to do it.

  • Comment number 10.

    I can't believe it - we've got a BBC employee actually being honest about Labour's duplicity. Compared to BWB, this blog seems to be totally out of sync with the BBC political agenda. If Derek Bateman had expressed those views on BWB he'd have been deleted by the mods and banned.

    Pity we couldn't have the mealy-mouthed Baker boy on air at the same time as Christine Grahame. It would be nice to hear him justify his reasons for trying to undermine his government and country to please a foreign power. Maybe Derek Batemen could get him to admit he hasn't got a clue about Scotland's justice system? We can just dream on - What BBC employee is going to hold these duplicitous Labour incompetents to account?

  • Comment number 11.

    "Although I understand the latest numbers show Radio Scotland is winning by increasing listeners."

    ! Seldom listen to Radio Scotland now as the usual suspects are trundled out to offer their 'expert unbiased view' on the cherry picked facts, Radio Wales is far more balanced on the political front as well as being entertaining (No Rangers, Celtic).

  • Comment number 12.


  • Comment number 13.

    Wow great to see some enlightened words from a bbc source at last. Just a pity it's in the hinterland of bbc blogs. And there's the cynic in me at work again; or is it conspiracy theorist? Close down BwB as much as possible, shut it even, give the cybernats a little backwater where they can blow of steam. Where they can write bad and nasty things about our favorite people without lots of other people reading it. BwB is a thorn in their side. They have tried everything they can think of to discourage us from continuing on BwB but it hasn't worked. They have probably guessed there could be a fight if they just closed BwB, but by providing a reactively moderated (just what you always wanted) blog with less of a unionist bias they hope to sideline us. Stop us publishing all that bad press about their favorite parties on the front page. Push the independentists message to the back page. Or maybe I'm just far too cynical. I'll have a listen to the programme, and keep an eye on the blog.

  • Comment number 14.

    BBC listening numbers increasing? That's hard to believe, considering the anti-Scottish government twaddle you're peddling. I, for one, will NEVER listen again to Radio Scotland until I'm guaranteed unbiased reporting.
    As for the Megrahi affair? Time for apologies from all over, including Grey, London and those rude and strident US politicians DEMANDING that our MSP's appeared before them to ask questions... to which they already KNEW the answers... bunch of duplicitous, lying....politicians...

  • Comment number 15.

    Hardly surprising that the Labour Party refused to comment on their masters duplicity regarding Megrahi`s release! It has been noticable that BBC Scotland news services have also declined to comment. Is this a coincidence?

  • Comment number 16.

    Excellent discussion this morning Derek. What a pity though that Master Baker was 'not available' to join in. And well done you for allowing Christine Graham that snort of derision after you read out Labour's response to the questions posed on Magrahi's release that the Scottish Government were 'not fit to govern'. Thank you Derek for giving a platform not hitherto aired on the BBC. Can we have more of these open views and discussions please.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well done Ms Graham more power to your tongue.It seems only yesterday Master Baker was popping up on every programme espousing his ill informed garbage wonder why the reticence for his non appearance this morning, it has to be said however he was aided and abetted at every cut and turn by the biased BBC Would have liked to have heard A.MacLeods take on it However I suppose we cannot have everything Thanks for an interesting and more balanced programme

  • Comment number 18.

    Anyone who missed it, can hear the Megrahi segment starting about 27m in to https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00y2wt9/Newsweek_Scotland_05_02_2011

  • Comment number 19.

    Thankyou Derek Bateman for allowing this blog to exist. if you find your self not getting your performance pay or what ever they have called it now, you will know why. This is a breath of fresh air.

    On the BWB blog my username is not allowed, replaced with a number, as spelt backwards it refers to another News site that has just been endorsed by Alex Salmond, and on which you will find the unvarnished truth on Scottish politics. It is very popular, try it. What is BWBs problem? Can they not see the statement they are making with their heavy handed censoring?

    Moderation is just Teflonese for censoring. Teflonese is my name for the language spoken by politicians and those that think they can talk their way out of any thing. Who will even try and argue that black is actually white. It is a dialect of Chinese.

    Thanks again I will be back and I will listen to your programme although BBCs programmes are generally taboo for me. Apart from Jim Traynors;o)

  • Comment number 20.

    Ah I see the number has stuck to me, Teflonese central has struck.

    My original username was tensweNdnaltocS.

    To subversive eh what?

  • Comment number 21.

    Very encouraging to see a BBC blog that is willing to allow people to express a view contrary to the that on another BBC Scotland blog.
    Well done and more power to your elbow.

    I'll be back!


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