29/08/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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Tonight on Newsnight Scotland: The former editor of the Scottish News


of the World Bob Bird is charged with attempting to pervert the


course of justice. What next for Operation Rubicon? And who are Mr


and Mrs Average Scotland? We will discuss what the latest snapshot of


Scottish society tells us. Good evening, the former top


journalist in the Scottish operation of the News of the World


was detained by police in Glasgow this morning in connection with an


allegation of attempting to perverse -- pervert the course of


justice. Bob Bird was editor of the Scottish edition of the paper


during the Tommy Sheridan defamation trial in 2006. When


Tommy Sheridan sued the News of the World for defamation in the Court


of Session back in 2006, there were few media commentators who thought


he would win. But there were fewer still who predicted the series of


events which followed his victory. He was convicted in the Glasgow


High Court, after committing perjury during the defamation case.


As he headed for jail, his lawyer suggested that his imprisonment


might not be the end of the matter. Today, I was convicted. I have


fought the power of News International off my political life.


I make no apologies for taking on the might of Rupert Murdoch.


Several million pounds of public money was spent investigating me


and my wife. Is it not time that similar resources were devoted to


investigating the activities of the News of the World? As the London-


based media, notably News International, were making


spectacular headlines before, during and sends the Leveson


Inquiry, Strathclyde police were conducting what they called


Operation Rubicon, described as an inquiry into allegations of phone


hacking, breaches of data protection and perjury. Already


this year, Andy Coulson, formerly the Prime Minister's communications


adviser, had been charged with Strathclyde police in connection


with issues arising at the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial. Douglas


Whyte, former editor of the Scottish edition, was charged with


perjury himself, during the original defamation Acts and and --


action and other telephone offences. Today's arrest of Bob Bird for


attempting to pervert the course of justice, means more than 14


individuals involved in the media across the UK have been charged


with wrongdoing of one sort or another so far this year. Bob Bird


told reporters today that he is not guilty. I want to say that I am


really saddened and disappointed that things have come to this,


today. I have always tried to do the right thing in my career,


throughout my 30 or 40 years in journalism. I will be denying the


charge that has been made against me today. Strathclyde police will


send a report in due course. Our Home Affairs Correspondent


revolvers and joins me now. Where next does this investigation go? --


Reevel Alderson. He hinted that is in that report. The investigations


will be sent to the procurator fiscal. Then they and the Crown


Office will decided there needs to be further proceedings. There have


been three people charged by Strathclyde police as part of


Operation Rubicon. All of these cases are being considered by


prosecutors. They will make a decision as to whether, first of


all, there is sufficient evidence to take the case to trial. Secondly,


whether it is in public interests to take it to trial. It would be a


very brave prosecutor to decide that it was not. Or, indeed, that


it should proceed in the normal way. But they have a year from the


charge before anything must come to court. We know that there are


investigations under way in Scotland. There are also separate


investigations in England. What impact, if any, could the


proceedings South of the Border have on the investigations here?


They are entirely separate investigations under entirely


separate legal systems. Operation Weeting was set up by the


Metropolitan Police to investigate allegations of phone hacking and


impropriety surrounding the News of the World's activities. Already, a


number of people have been arrested as part of that. One of them is


Andy Coulson, who has also been arrested by Operation Rubicon,


detectives in Strathclyde. They are separate investigations. They will


proceed in a separate manner. If, for the sake of argument, people


were brought to court under Operation Weeting, I think that


might delay things in Scotland if the same people were implicated


here. What impact, if any, would there be on that the conviction of


Tommy Sheridan for perjury? I do not think there will be any impact.


I think it is perfectly possible, isn't it, that in the perjury case


and the defamation case a large number of people wired. Just


because one side -- a large number of people my age. Just because one


side was found to perjure themselves, it does not mean the


other side is whiter than white. Just give an indication of the


scale of the inquiry. Operation Rubicon was set up by the Office


following the receipt of a document by Tommy Sheridan's then solicitor.


At one point it had 50 officers. The work continues on Strathclyde


police say there is no sign of that Howl average do you feel? Research


out today highlights the make things that Scots have in common


and the many ways in which we do care. The Scottish Household Survey


found that a third of women do not feel safe for the home at night.


Most people are happier with their What is it like to live in


Scotland? What are the facts on the ground? One senior, the Scottish


Household Survey tries to answer those questions. It holds a mirror


up to all of Scotland so that we can see ourselves in all our glory.


Or maybe just warts and all. So, what do Scottish communities look


like? For a start, if you have the range of cultures you will find


here in Glasgow. Scotland is a very diverse country in many respects.


But not, apparently, in respect of ethnic origin. 97% of adults


questioned said that they were white. Just 2% said they were of


Asian origin. So, does that 2% feel left out? It is a question I put to


a local student and amateur boxer, Mohammad Humair. I don't see a


difference. There are less Asians and more whites. Anywhere I go,


city centre, college or university, where you would think there would


be more Asians. The survey found just under half of Scottish adults


are married and living with a spouse. One in three households


contains just one person. As we found out in Aberdeen, it is


normally a matter of choice. myself. There is nobody to tell you


what to do. It is as simple as that. You can do what you want, way you


want, when you want. You can go way you want, if you want to go to the


pub, you can. Most Scots like where they live, especially if they are


out of the city. But a quarter of adults surveyed think their


environment is unpleasant. Most feel that they cannot do much to


change it. Are you able to influence your environment? Do you


think there is a changed to be made, and you have some way of making it?


No. Can you have an input and influence on how it changes?


hirer people than me. But it is where you live? Yeah, but you have


These are tough time economically. That is reflected in the public


mood. In the course of a year the percentage of people who felt


positive about their household finances fell from 48% to 44%. Also


among the findings, three out of ten Scottish households have no


savings at all. I'm saving up more. I'm too scared to go out. Normally


I would buy jeans, I'm too scared to now. I'm watching what I spend.


Is that because you are concerned about how things will go? Is it it


because there is not so much money around? There is not so much money


around. The Government, you know, the cutbacks that have happened


with everybody on benefits, it's really, really getting harder.


Everybody is feeling it. Has it hit you? Big style. I'm a single parent


with two kids. It's forced me back on to jobseeker's allowance. They


are giving me a really hard time. My rent as well, everything. Most


Scottish households don't have to take the bus everywhere. They have


access to a car. It seems many are still in the driving seat. 6% of


men have a licence, but only 60% of women do. I can't understand why.


Women do a lot of things with the car nowadays like shopping and


things like that. Maybe quite a lot of women drop their husbands off.


The husbands say they are the drivers and owners of the car don't


get them throughout the day. There are some things that surveys just


don't reveal. With me in the studio is Jim McCormick of the think-tank


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and in Edinburgh is the journalist,


Lesley Riddoch. Thank you for joining us this evening. Jim, we


know the point of these surveys is to inform Government policy. What


do you take from the Scottish Household Survey? We get a as soon


as possible shot. It gives us a rich and partial picture of how


Scotland is to live in and how it's changing. Take an example like


growing satisfaction with public services. That seems like good news.


If you scratch below the surface you will find, for example, all the


people with dementia who have poor experiences in hospital. Disabled


people who have poor experiences again. We have to be careful not to


over interpret the positive findings and look below the surface


to get a handle of how it can be useful for a policy stool. There is


a feeling within the statistics of a lack of empowerment amongst


communities? There was a staggering statistic that suggested that 22%


of people feel they can have any impact on their local area, the


local council area. When you bear in mind that is where the lion


share of our lives are lived, that is how we experience government to


government services, it's really quite astonishing to find that


people feel disco nexted. I know this is a time when we have big


fish to fry, everyone is interested about the future of Scotland and


whether it will be part of the UK. Here we are with the largest local


government unit in Europe, I think this is telling its own story.


People can't make an impact where they live. That is really serious.


We live in a democracy. Surely, individuals have a responsibility


to take action or to try and change things if they can rather than


relying on the government, which you seem to be suggesting might be


the problem? How would you not rely on the architecture of government.


That is why we pay our taxes. We are weird in Europe. We are at the


bottom of the league table when it comes to how close you are to local


authorities. We could change. We could discuss it, but very rarely


do we get the chance. One thing that struck me reading what is a


lengthy document, 20% of people surveyed have no qualification what


so ever. If you look at those who have qualifications, they tend to


have larger incomes and tend to have better results in this survey.


It highlights the importance of education? What has been happening


in the last 20/30 years is that unqualified people get older,


retire early, the workforce, people coming behind them are better


qualified. If you are young in Scotland today, and unqualified, or


poor qualifications the jobs market is much tougher than at the time of


the last recession 20 years ago or so. We have the powers under


devolution to target our training budgets, our support for employers


to do something about that. I think it's a really important blind spot


in our policy system that we haven't done more since the


Scottish Parliament began life in 99, to really target those young


people who have been left behind, even before the recession came


along. Lots of positive things about public service in this survey.


We shouldn't lose sight of that. Another thing that struck me was


how overwhelmingingly white Scottish society is, something like


97% of the population white, 6 % described themselves as being


"heterosexual". It's strange if there are worries about immigration,


for example, that it's based on a small experience of it. That does


make me wonder whether the kind of animosity that sometimes occurs is


because of perceptions of not having enough for... To go around,


if you like, the local, enough housing, enough affordable housing.


Enough services that people can get their hands on. I wonder why that


should be the case? There is another puzzle to me, when you look


at the transport survey published today, after all the rises that we


have had in oils prices and the push to get us on to public


transport we are using the bus less than we were ten years ago and


there is still 66% of people driving to work. Now, that's kind


of quite extraordinary given the amount of effort there has been to


create a change there. It makes you begin to think there is some


entrenched bits of human behaviour that we don't discuss well in


public forums or debates like this, which are still clogging the works


up, if you like, to stop us getting where Scots like to think they want


to go, which is on to public transport or on to cycling. We seem


to be stuck and entrenched in some habits. This has exposed them today.


In terms of the economy, we have had a recession, we are now in a


double-dip recession, that is reflected in some way in these


figures is that people feel lest positive about their household


finances. A third of Scots have no savings. 10% have less than �1,000


in savings? I suspect we may be at a turning point in some of these


indicators where we have seen positive trends for a few years. If


you look forward, we know we are in a middle of a sustained drop in


household incomes, not just at the bottom, but for many people. We


know that lone parents in particular are going to come out


badly if welfare reforms, even before. We already see that their


rates of savings are low. So, what is interesting will be to look a


year or two from now when we have the survey being published as to


whether we are picking up that increase in insecurity. A


particular trend I want to pick out is the doubling of number of


households in the private rented sector. Within the numbers we will


see a core of often young, insecure people who are pushed into private


renting sector through lack of choice. We may find that they end


up having a poor quality, high cost experience. If we should do


something from these figures it is to go after that problem. This is a


vast amount of information. Put yourself in the role of a


Government minister, what do you do with this detail? You ask questions.


The snapshot of transport, why has so much nrk and money to try to


encourage us to change and green ways and bus lanes and all the rest


of it, why hasn't that got us to change? Is a good snapshot of our


habits here. It would be a shame if this descended into ministers


having to try and dig deep to try and find the one bright spot and


concentrate on it because we need to really try and tackle why we are


not able to go where we would like to go, in terms of better and


healthier habits. Does it paint a picture of a healthy society that


is content with itself? It paints a mixed picture. It offers a view of


Scotland on the surface, a snapshot, it conceals as much as it reveals.


We should look not to just people's attitudes, but also behaviour. What


do we do and not just say to pollster what is we would like to


do. Put in proper incentives to shift people to walking, cycling


and transport and high cost ownership then we are close to


making good use of this survey. Thank you very much for joining us


Thank you very much for joining us this evening. Tomorrow's headlines:


The Scotsman. The Paralympics, the Opening Ceremony having taken place


over the last couple of years. Focus on a third of women fear


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