:‘~-.. 7


them with suitable interviewees. Bob 'l‘omlinson has played a large part in this. He is. consequently. vehement and angry about society‘s treatment of what he terms the ‘sub-culture‘. 'We just went out into the streets and spoke to homeless people. It's not difficult to find people to talk to. liven now ( he points out of the S'l'\' window) there are four guys standing over there w ho are homeless and who are cold.’ 'l'omlinson sounds disappointed that he doesn’t recognise them. He goes on. ‘I-‘or some reason. although it's under our noses. we choose to not to see it. We walk past. And this is Britain in 1988. the supposed “caring society". l would suggest we've become the care-less society.‘ ‘When you speak to the so-called 'down-and-outs'. you find that yes. they're down. yes. they're outside society‘s way. But they're desperate to get tip and to get back in. A lot of people who sleep rough and who I‘ve spoken to in the course of the programme are delightful people who've become friends. 'l'heir lives went wrong. something happened. I spoke to one man who said that when he passes a shop with a 'l'\' on in the window. he is aware that the world is going on. and that he is outside the shop and outside the world. He is outside society now. he doesn’t count. 'l‘hat for him is the most hurtful thing.‘

Homelessness is one manifestation



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51‘9"}. sag-c.2- of poverty the subjects of the other programmes deal with others head on. and touch on related issues such as drugs. 'l‘omlinson explained the connection: ’We met a priest who said go and speak to the young people on drugs. He said he'd never met one who took drugs to get a pleasant sensation. He said they did it to kill the pain of poverty. 1 know a young guy who. three weeks ago. hadn't touched drugs. He was getting sorted out. He came round to see me at one o‘clock on a Saturday morning with nowhere to go. He’d started injecting drugs and he was sharing needles. l couldn‘t understand it. I asked him ‘why are you doing it‘.’ .lust when everything was going to get better'." He said ‘I can't take it. It‘s too sore. Life is sore. everything is sore.‘ He wasn‘t taking drugs for kicks. he was taking them because “it was too sore”.‘

Poverty is dealt with on a broad basis. Mooney. who worked as a social worker before moving into television. opened out the concept. ‘We‘re not just talking about strict financial poverty but poverty in social terms too. People are denied access to things that many of us do have access to it may be money. it may be opportunity.‘

(‘urrent statistics state that one-fifth ofchildren in Britain today live below the poverty line. Bob

'l'omlinson feels action must be

taken now. The force of his


J" ' 1:, in 0

frustration makes his sincerity impossible to doubt. And he finds it easy to reconcile the campaigning nature of Scottish Action with the professional concern of getting high audience ratings. ‘We can't go on living like this— living with such poverty and deprivation. Once people see how bad the problem is. I hope they will respond. I hope they will collectively say to local and national government and to themselves "this is wrong”. Otherwise I don‘t know what the consequences of uncontrolled uncaring and uncontrolled poverty will be.‘

The programme devoted to the carers will. the team hopes. inspire others to volunteer. "l'here‘s so much we can all do. We can give money to organisations who care for the poor and who need support. ()r we can give time -- not much even to help. And we can bring pressure to bear on local and national government by asking them “what are you doing about this?" If just one person contacts us after the programmes to ask “what can I do'.’ How can I help?" l’ll deem it a success. We'll put them in touch with someone.‘

The use of television as a campaigning medium is. for the Scottish Action team. vital. Mooney‘s commitment to it is absolute. 'I do passionately believe that television has a duty to do these

sorts of programmes and to do them in away that isn‘t pious. isn't boring and isn't preachy. 'l'hese programmes are to do with S'l'\”s commitment as a station to the notion that the people we are here to serve are the public in the broadest sense. And these programmes typify for me what is best about public service braodcasting. Without a doubt this for me is the crunch part of television.

"l‘elevision can move things up the agenda. As programme makers. we need to look for subjects that touch a lot of people's lives. With Scottish Action on Poverty. as with the other series. we're targeting everylmdy. We want to say that although things are getting good for many of us in Scotland. there are folks whose needs are not being met. (‘ollectively we need to be aw are of what's happening. We can't ignore the problems.’

Stu/Its l1 xlt'lion on Poverty starts on Monday 7.\'oi‘¢'mln'r. Iht’t‘U/Htlt‘l nIun/n'rsjor I/Iust’ who want I‘ll/or'rriull'ori or m sismnt'elrorn lkc/jirrc Rig/11s (Ct/Wily on Scottish sic/ion /in<' wil/ be given om u! the end olt'uclt progrumrm’. TIM/#10110[I'llt's It'll/()ln'lt 7— Ill/mt on .llonduys and during (IN-111’ llrrulivfor (ht’ I't’SI ()fl/tt’ week. T/lt'IIllIII/R’I'A(Irvin—1133).? 1345 (Glasgow); (BI .93.? I345 (Edinburgh I.


itfits.£;.. AY TIMES





J The List 28 ()ct ll) Nov 1988 55