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Refreshing wee dram

As both industry group the Scotch Whisky Association and its radical critics, like Donnie Blair, will have found it equally irritating, Agenda considers Scotched Earth, BBC Scotland's documentary on our best-known export (still on iPlayer), to have got it pretty much right.

Presenter Douglas Fraser did a great job, not only of conveying the scale and variety of Scotch production, but also of teasing out some of the industry's financial paradoxes. Most notable was Professor John Kay's point that its economic benefits to the country are nothing like as great as are often claimed – an opinion we reported last February.

Nor would the SWA have relished the rehashing of the Guinness takeover story, where a promise to maintain headquarters in Scotland was forgotten by Ernest Saunders.

Like the Scottish Government (except over minimum pricing), BBC Scotland has been in the habit of swallowing whole the corporate narrative about whisky's economic benefits, so this pawky, provocative but positive investigation was one to swill around and savour.

With many Glaswegians and media folk preparing to be outraged by plans to refashion Glasgow's George Square, it is consolation to learn that David Mackay, 79, the architect and urban planner best known for transforming Barcelona, is lending his wisdom as a consultant to the council's plans.

Giving the Molendinar Lecture in the city last week, Mackay gave his blessing to the ongoing "care and repair" of Glasgow, city of his childhood, and warned them to do all they need to before the Commonwealth Games, as in his experience, there will be no money afterwards.

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