Ownership of Glasgow-based newspapers The Herald and The Evening Times returned to Scottish hands last week when the last details of a £74 million management buy-out was ﬁnalised. Multi-national trading corporation Lonrho sold off George Outram and Co, publisher of the titles, to Caledonian Newspaper Publishing Ltd, an umbrella company whose six-strong team of directors includes Outram’s managing director Liam Kane and the editors of the two papers, Arnold Kemp and George McKechnie.
Freedom of the press
‘Although the Scottish question has quietened down to a certain extent after the election,‘ says Harry Reid, deputy editor of The Herald, ‘if we look beyond the immediate political horizons, it’s a very good thing socially, culturally, ﬁnancially, as well as politically, to be in Scottish hands. But I don’t think that anyone’s kidding themselves - times will be hard over the next two or three years, but everyone here is committed to making it work. The long-term future looks very bright indeed.’
Staff are particularly encouraged by the strong editorial guarantees inherent in a deal that was negotiated and completed by a team which included their editors. ‘This is the ﬁrst time I’ve been working ultimately for people who are under the same roof as me,’ adds Reid, ‘and psychologically it‘s a pleasant feeling. The Herald will continue to be “pluralistic” - we seem to offend all of the major political parties in Scotland just about equally, sol don’t know what that tells you about our political position, but I think we’re maybe getting it about right if we continue to do that.’ (Alan Morrison)
The various events oi Environment Week build to a climax In the next iew days, with the locus still on raising awareness oi environmental issues and encouraging individual participation in projects. Highlights oi Edinburgh District Council’s Festival at the Environment include: a series oi lectures at the City Observatory on Fri
22, dedicated to the inspiration oi Patrick Geddes; Spokes Bicycle Extravaganza (beginning at noon at St Martin’s Church on Sat 23), and a ‘World Day' at the Hermitage oi Braid, which begins at 11am and includes various sculptures by chainsaw artist Nigel Boss. More details on Edinburgh events are available irom Margaret-Mary Wilson on 031 225 2424 ext 5707/5717; ior events in other areas, contact Sandra Blagioni on 041 248 0064. (AM)
Long-distance bus specialists Stagecoach have begun operating the first private passenger trains service since the nationalisation of the railways in 1947. The company has leased six coaches from British Rail, creating a new service which allows seated passengers to travel on the overnight Aberdeen to London service (which has scheduled stops at Dundee and Edinburgh), thereby avoiding BR’s sleeper prices. A Stagecoach single fare costs £38
(£33.50 from Edinburgh) compared to BR’s £65 (£57 from Edinburgh).
Playing on their already established strengths, Stagecoach also provides express coach connections from various Scottish towns to link with the train at the capital. Once on the train, the price includes two meals and free tea, coffee and orange juice. The company plans to refurbish the coaches with reclining seats — the first on British trains— in the near future. Virgin’s plans to introduce inter-city services have still to be confirmed. (AM)
Time was when buying a book was a simple process oi choosing irom a tow thousand orange spines. That was beiore Waterstone’s transiormed the trade with late openings and browser-iriendly music. This week, a new shake-out looms when Dillons opens a mega-store in Glasgow’s Argyle Street, oiiering 70,000 titles and a promise to light the Net Book Agreement, discounting books Lwherever possible. Champion oi the
4The List 22 May-4June l992
readers or shrewd marketing?
New branch manager Andrew Mitchell claims that discounts encourage people to buy more DIY manuals than novels, but ‘li other bookshops are iorced to close, it’s because they are doing something wrong’. Nis smaller competitors argue that their problems stem irom not being able to compete on equal terms. Whether readers will be impressed, however, by an oiilclal opening that includes sell-styled novelist lvana Trump, remains to be seen. (Aaron Nicklin)
The recent round of council elections has thrown up a few surprises, not least in the two figures chosen to become Lord Provosts of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Alan Morrison profiles both civic leaders.
Name: Robert Innes
Political Party: Labour
Majority: 674 over SNP
Proiession: Retired mathematics and physics lecturer
Council Experience: 18 years service, initially as councillor for former Possilpark ward; former Convener of the Planning Committee; latterly Chairman of the Licensing Board How The Vote Went: Robert Innes (Lab) 25; Pat Lally (Lab) 23; James McLean (Lab) 6— after redistribution, the result was Innes 30, Lally 24.
In the immediate aftermath of
Glasgow City Council’s election for its new Lord Provost, the media concentrated on the failed attempt by leader of the Labour group, Pat Lally. Many had thought that the chain of ofﬁce had been tailor-made to ﬁt Cllr Lally, who now must look to next week’s battle for group leadership against current deputy Jean McFadden to avoid returning to the back benches with an ambitious tail between his legs. Obviously the ghost of Glasgow 1990 is not resting in its grave, and the financial turmoil of the Glasgow’s Glasgow exhibition, the artistic debacle over the Royal Concert Hall murals and the political bitterness of the Elspeth King affair have not been forgotten.
Although Cllr Innes’s support appears to have come from the left-wingers on the council who wanted more backbench power rather than the strong but centralised model likely under Cllr Lally, he will still have to deal with Militant unrest in the ranks. A fringe candidate four years ago, when the winner was Susan Baird, he is now thrust into an arena that is about to be redefined by Westminster plans for local government. But when the waves of surprise settle on the Clyde, this former lecturer may well have a few more lessons up his sleeve.
Name: Norman Irons
Political Party: SNP
Ward: North East Corstorphine Majority: 162 over Conservative Prolession: Chartered engineer, specialising in designing air-conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.
Council Experience: 16 years service HOW The Vote Went: Norman Irons (SNP) 32; Cornelius Waugh (Con) 23; Donald Gorrie (Lib Dem) 7. Norman Irons’s election as Lord
Provost of Edinburgh has been seen I
by some as the first surprising consequence of a post-election shotgun wedding between the city’s Labour and SNP groups. Having lost overall control of the council, Labour was forced into making a deal with the Nationalists and producing a three-page document
that: ensures the SNP will facilitate the continuence of Labour’s strategic policies, particularly good quality services and an environment action plan; calls on Labour to embrace ‘any reasonable policy initiatives’ submitted annually by the other parties; gives the SNP chair of the council on the condition that it is used primarily as a civic role and not a nationalist platform.
With only two SNP councillors on a 62-strong council, Edinburgh’s ﬁrst Nationalist Lord Provost has already been accused by unhappy colleagues of being a Labour puppet. Many are also wary of the high profile Cllr Irons will receive when the international press descends on the capital later this year along with the European heads of government for the European Summit. But such remarks do not necessarily do justice to Cllr Irons or his many years of service to his Corstorphine constituents. While the voices of Scotland United spout theory in George Square or on Calton Hill, the election of an SNP Lord Provost in Labour-heavy Edinburgh is proof that cross-party agreement between Scottish opposition parties can work in practice. Perhaps this designer of air-conditioning systems will be able to send a cooling breeze over his more hot-headed fellow councillors.