Scotland’s fear of losing national programmes

With talk of a “Double dip” and still being in a recession, it was only a matter of time that the BBC announced drastic cuts. It was announced that BBC Scotland faces £16 million in cuts of their £80 million budget with as many as 150 redundancies as reported by the Scotsman.  Many people are fearing that well-liked Scottish programmes such as River City are facing the axe. BBC Scotland on Twitter has pledged that it will not axe the popular soap, contrary to what many Scottish tabloids are saying.

Journalist Iain Hepburn on Twitter quips, “The Sun is claiming success in saving River City from budget cuts or the axe.  Another black mark against News International then…”. So The Sun seem to have saved the day for River City with the help of famous Scots such as Lorraine Kelly but can other programmes be saved ?

On Monday, I read in the Daily Mail that over fifty percent of the Scottish population did not know Radio Scotland(Scotland’s national radio station) exists. With that shocking statistic, should BBC not cut things that are lagging behind rather than cut the good ?

However, The Drum on Twitter suggests that BBC Scotland could actually benefit. According to The Drum, Lord Patten(BBC Trust chairman) claims that although BBC Scotland needs to shed 150 members of staff it will be mainly admin workers and guesses that Scotland will get a higher proportion of the licence fee than it does just now. But I don’t know if Scotland should bank on a guess from Patten. Scottish Media Podcast on The Drum website put across their views on the BBC budget cuts.

Shadow culture secretary proposes new state registry for journalists

By Eilidh Walker

This week’s Labour Party Conference in Liverpool has once again caused controversy with comments made by the shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis. Mr Lewis used his speech in Liverpool to propose that all journalists should have to join a national register. A similar system already exists for doctors, who all have to be registered and should they behave inappropriately they can be struck off. Mr Lewis suggested a similar format be used with the British press with journalists deemed to have committed “gross malpractice” being refused the right to have any future work published by any media organisation. It is easy to jump to this conclusion after the work of  a minority of journalists at The News of The World newspaper and their involvement with the phone hacking scandal shocked the nation but Mr Lewis seems to have entered murky waters after all is he not therefore proposing that the government would be regulating the press? and challenging freedom of speech. He did address this issue by going on to say, “with freedom comes responsibility.”

Although earlier in his speech Mr Lewis had praised the “Brilliant investigative journalism,” carried out by Journalists at the Guardian whose efforts “forced a reopening of the investigation,” into phone hacking.Many have taken to twitter to express their anger at Ivan Lewis’ comments, one user likened the idea of a state register of journalists to a dictatorship, “know who came up with that in Italy? Mussolini,” others branding the comments as, ” lunacy” and “unworkable.” Some going as far as to brand the speech a “fiasco.”The comments made by Mr Lewis have however been encouraged by others on twitter, many users still reeling from the hacking scandal believe that a state register would be a step in the right direction with some saying he was: “not completely wrong.” This statement has also been backed by The Independent. Ed Miliband has now distanced himself and the Labour party from the comments made by Mr Lewis many Labour MP’s and supporters suggesting that Ivan Lewis had been “misunderstood.”

Mr Lewis also went on to clarify his previous statement saying that he regretted “that there had been a response to something that I didn’t say,” adding “I don’t favour state oversight of the press.” This shows the impact social media now has on the political parties, within only a few hours of the initial speech from Mr Lewis the Labour party had time to gauge the publics opinion and then react accordingly in this case publicly disagreeing with the view of a member of their shadow cabinet.

Al-Jazeera reporter released following revelation of link to Hamas.

by Craig Watson

An Al-Jazeera journalist has been released by the Israeli government following a six week term in prison and attending a hearing into alleged connections with Hamas, an Israeli-labelled terrorist organization in the region. The reporter Samer Allawi was set free following a plea bargain in which he admitted in court to having attended Hamas conferences in 2006 and 2010, resulting in the reduced penalty of termination of his jail sentence and the paying of a large cash fine. Continue reading

Rangers Withdraw Co-operation from The Herald

by Owen O’Donnell

In recent times it has been increasingly apparent that Scottish football champions, Rangers F.C. are in deep financial trouble due to an extended period of time spent avoiding the payment of their taxes. The prospect of losing their battle with HM Revenue and Customs and facing a possible bill in the rough area of £54 million almost certainly will lead to the club being plunged into administration. However, the club has taken exception to the reporting of their latest financial woe from the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times. Continue reading

Everyone’s talking about Essex

It has became the norm recently to create television series about school life. From Jamie Oliver attempting to do the impossible and make the whole country healthier and fitter to the new series on our television this month.

After recently watching Educating Essex on Channel 4, I asked myself, why? Why have they chosen to pick this school out of every school in the country. Continue reading

Rangers’ withdrawal of co-operation with the Herald Group

Earlier this month Rangers football club cut ties with The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times newspapers. This is because the club were not happy with how The Herald Group reported a recent court case whereby the club were being sued by Glasgow based legal firm Levy & McRae. The legal firm had taken Rangers to court over an unpaid legal fee of £35,000 which they were owed after the club hired them to help fight against Uefa’s claim of sectarian singing at a game against PSV Eindhoven in March. Continue reading

Way Out West 2011- Music’s best kept secret

Way Out West is rare little gem amidst the world’s variety of music festivals. First of all, its almost completely unknown to the dwellers of Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury, Latitude, or T in the Park. Second, its biggest headlining artists who frequent the headlines of music magazines view it more as a retreat, performing alongside some virtually unknown acts as well as being out of the view of the world’s media coverage. Its held in Gothenburg, Sweden- a city that’s immaculately clean, civilised, stylised and modern.
Because the majority of Gothenburg’s residents flock to this summer festival it always remains relaxed and crime-free. Just like the city’s tram systems, motorways, museums, leisure centres, the festival is in complete order. Even when the occasional person tries to barge their way to the front, the crowd do not react, but instead let them past. Whether you agree with this or not, this kind of level-headedness and courtesy is something we should expect a little more from our own festivals.
The festival is divided into two settings: Way Out West- the daytime event held in the Slottsskogen, the city park, and then Stay Out West, a series of clubs and bars which occupy the smaller bands at night. The routine is spending the whole day in the park before going to SOW- which can start as late as 3am. Perhaps the reason everything is so calm during the three day event is because everyone is so sleep deprived and therefore couldn’t care less about paying 63 SEK (£6) for a beer in a plastic cup.
But despite the extortionate prices, the festival was well worth it. The first band I remember seeing was Explosions in the Sky, at the quieter end of the park, just as the evening sun had cast an orange glow over their stage. The reason I grew so attached to this band was because of their admirable modesty: “We’re Explosions in the Sky, and we come from Austen, Texas,” announced their lead guitarist Mark Smith, and before there was even time to shift into a comfortable standing position they were off. Never before has a band played so hypnotically without the need for speaking with the crowd or even singing. It was almost as if their presence was no longer important, just the spellbinding music they produced.
I actually felt a crushing sense of guilt abandoning them halfway through their set to pay a visit to The Hives, who were playing on the Flamingo stage across the park. Despite an entertaining performance, these guys really were a bunch of posers, and they spent more time talking to the crowd than playing their songs. They are heralded as the garage punk pioneers of the 21st century, but they were just show-offs, and their grinding 12 bar been-done-before revivalist music was sub-par to Explosions’ thoughtful, shimmering post-rock.
Then there was a quick stop at the Fleet Foxes set, where they had gathered quite a crowd. Their laid-back lush folk sound was ideal for the end of the summer’s day, as the heat had died down now, and everyone was sitting on the grass. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Fleet Foxes, but the vocals were flawless and they had some fantastic harmonies, which didn’t put a blemish on their album recordings.
Other highlights of the festival included Santigold, who was so enthusiastic that she invited people from the crowd to dance on the stage, and Pulp, who shared some sharp political observations with us. “When we had written this song, it was supposed to be looking into the future,” declared Jarvis Cocker, preceding Disco 2000, “I think it turned out a little different than we had imagined,” he grinned.
Way Out West ended with the headlining artist emerging from underneath a fogged, red-lit stage, with a huge orchestral crescendo reaching its peak as it echoed across Gothenburg. Yes, it was Mr Kanye West. No, it all went wrong after Graduation and a series of controversial acts, but the crowd forgot that immediately. Everyone turned up to see him.
To be honest, I have mixed opinions about his performance. It was built on a grand scale, artistically surreal almost, and when he played the right song at the right time, it could have been the best gig ever. However, at times it was a let down. Songs were cut short for no apparent reason, and throughout intervals he spouted out material over a blue piano which sounded like he was wrestling with his inner demons and recent political controversies, that most people probably did not want to hear.
It finished up with an impressive fireworks display, but Kanye’s presence was a complete anti-climax. A blue piano started playing. “Here we go again…” I thought. “This song’s dedicated to my momma,” he said. If his future work is going to be like this, big problem. Kanye’s crusade to try an save the hip hop scene has finally run out of steam. He had been reduced to singing this really schmaltzy, self conscious rubbish that left one feeling somewhat empty as he departed from the stage.
Wholly however, to dismiss Way Out West would be wrong. It had a great atmosphere, and was unforgettable. These were the feelings we all had as we paraded out of the park at the end of the night. The Swedes left in an orderly fashion, with good feelings intact. The way a festival should be enjoyed. They simply jumped on a tram and went home, and within a couple of hours Gothenburg had returned to a city that was hiding its well kept secret for yet another year.