Thu, 19 April 2018
After the two week break for my being "awfy no weel" we're back.
In the opening salvos of our return you'll hear far too much about my illness and lots about our overheard conversations in Fife.
When we finally get down to business Lesley focuses on what we can learn from the BiFab crisis for the future of Scottish innovation and manufacturing, And, yet again, Norway can be the model.
Henry McLeish's return to the independence debate leads us into a discussion on what impact he can have on any future referendum among Labour "No's".
I watched FMQs today, just so you don't have to chums, and we discuss Ruth Davidson's and Richard Leonard's contrasting contributions.
It wouldn't be our podcast if we didn't examine the BBC's role in driving the news agenda and cycle and turn our attention to the "Windrush Generation" scandal. Lesley skewers the Tory "look over there, shiny shiny" diversionary tactics.
I finish with my reaction to the BBC's "Rivers of Blood" broadcast on Radio 4.
All this plus the usual verbal highways and byways.
Thu, 5 April 2018
Strangely neither of us are returning from anywhere this week, but we're both off, separately, to Edinburgh.
We unashamedly spend most of our time reflecting on the Novichuk poisoning story and what it says not only about Boris Johnson and the Conservative government but also the state of BBC journalism. Here's a hint, neither of us are exactly tap dancing about any of them.
Lesley wonders if Jeremy Corbyn is the only political leader to have gone with his gut instincts and been proven correct.
Once again it seems to have been the "non mainstream" media, with the honourable exception of Skynews, which has done the heavy journalistic lifting.
We return to the theme of empathy from last week and revisit the Clara Ponsati situation with Lesley's insights into the European Arrest Warrant.
I make a plea to avoid gloating about the media turning on the Labour Party and Remainers from those of us who went through the smears of Indyref.
Finally, we reflect on the enduring radical legacy of Dr Martin Luther King on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
Fri, 30 March 2018
We return after the two-week hiatus, caused by my bout of "man flu, and kick off, after a few moans from me, with the fight to save Professor Clara Ponsati from extradition to Spain. We discuss just what the Scottish Government or indeed Parliament could do to assist her, and the law surrounding the European Arrest Warrant.
Lesley reflects on what the case says not just about Scottish society but also about the reaction of most unionist politicians to Clara's plight. I reveal another dark secret of my past when holding forth on Natural Law.
Lesley's trip to Islay, courtesy of Loganair, returns us to some of the key topics she's been focusing on over the past 18 months. Land ownership, the plight of island and rural communities, and Scotland's broken system of local government.
It wouldn't be a podcast without discussion on the role of the media and I recount my exposure to the Jeremy Vine Show (the things I suffer for you folk) and Lesley sheds some interesting light on the HOOP demonstration at Holyrood.
As usual there are other random nuggets of nonsense.
Thu, 15 March 2018
I was away in Wales last weekend and Lesley decided that she had to do something equally spectacular. In her case it was attending the Sunday session of the Labour Party Conference in Dundee.
Stand by for some pretty trenchant thoughts from her on that experience in terms of the UK Labour leadership, its relationship with the party in Scotland, and John McDonnell's speech.
Corbyn's remarks on immigration and low wages sparked me to do some research on the reality of what links there are, if any, between the two.
I also discovered some surprising facts on Keir Hardie (note the spelling chums) in the course of the digging.
The Salisbury poisoning, who's to blame, and the political fall outs over it occupies the next part of our hour.
Lesley’s National article on the latest STV Ipsos Mori poll was an absolute necessity to discuss, if only to provide me with this week’s show title.
Finally, I have some thoughts on the deaths of Stephen Hawking and the uillean piper Liam O'Flynn
Wed, 7 March 2018
This day early podcast is brought to you courtesy of my gallivanting off to Wales tomorrow(Thursday) morning.
Lesley returns to the continuing story of land ownership in Scotland and the rights (or lack of them) of tenant farmers.
Labour's Scottish conference in Dundee and the potential rebellion of Kezia Dugdale and Ian Murray leads us down the byways of speculation over Brexit, Labour's squaring of electoral circles north and south of the border and allotments (trust me it made sense at the time). Plus, I have my say on Labour voting independence supporters, like Cat Boyd.
A beautifully written article in Bella Caledonia by Clare Galloway allows us to discuss the role, impact, and cost of alcohol in Scotland.
We ask will Sky come to regret its poll on the most influential women in British history as Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black lie first and third with only two hours left to vote?
Tomorrow is International Women's Day and we finish with reflections on Mhairi Black's passionate, articulate, and deeply personal speech on misogyny at Westminster earlier today.
Thu, 1 March 2018
It's good to be back after our wee break and, after we ruminate on the weather, I reveal just what that" hockey business" Lesley alluded to last week was all about.
Lesley's recent visit to Skye revealed the crisis in housing afflicting the island as more and more homes are turned into short term holiday lets. There are solutions, but will the Scottish Government be bold enough to take them?
Despite my being in a sporting bubble last week I just couldn't escape the latest in the never-ending Brexit saga, the EU'S draft legal agreement, and the impact on Ireland, North and South.
Lesley picks up on this theme with its knock-on effect on the timing of YES2.
We return after "ending" to the growing row over tenant farmers being evicted from Buccleuch estates to make way for grant-aided forests.
There’s, as usual, other meanderings including my potential career as a local radio DJ and a sneaky admiration for Alex Massie (yup THAT Alex Massie)
Thu, 15 February 2018
This week, it's me who's returned from a stravaig abroad. And you're about to find out more than you ever knew or wanted to know about the Vienna Settlers Movement, Red Vienna and the impact of them both on housing, culture, and democracy right through until the present day. What can it teach us about the relationship between popular movements and progressive local governments?
We can't escape from Brexit, in so many ways, and Lesley ruthlessly dissects the recent Boris Johnson " Reach out to the Remainers" speech. She ignores his crass comments and focuses on the lack of content and blatant appeal to the emotions from Johnson and his band of Brexiteer Merrie Englanders.
We speculate on Labour's recent policy statements on cooperative nationalisation and its potential appeal north and south of the border.
The recent return of the in-proportion BBC weather map leads Lesley to discuss, well, weather forecasting.
And, by various digressions, takes me to the Scottish visits of Corbyn, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and what links them.
All of the above plus, fungi, Billy Kay on Don Roberto, and two upcoming Nordic Horizons events.
Thu, 1 February 2018
It's very definitely an early kick off this week (don't panic chums that's the only football reference).
Scottish journalist and broadcaster Carrie Gracie's appearance before the Common's select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provides the thread that runs through the podcast.
Lesley explains just why we should care about someone who could easily be mischaracterised as a "poor wee rich girl", and what her fight for equal pay within the BBC says not only about gender inequality within that institution but also its entire culture and values.
I pitch in on a new report by Ellie Mae McDonald of the LSE on the UK government's programme of austerity and its disproportionate impact on women.
We return to the BBC and examine the expansion of its Local Democracy Partnerships with the big Scottish newspaper publishers. Just how healthy is the current relationship between the BBC and the mainstream press and how effective will these new reporters be in scrutinising local government?
We finish, as is our wont, by revisiting Celtic Connections and the power of music.
Sat, 27 January 2018
Lesley hotfoots (or is that coldfoots?) it back from the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, via Methil, for this week's podcast.
I return tae hame groond frae the less exotic but no less exciting Glasgow, and Celtic Connections.
Lesley's plea for the Scottish establishment to turn on to what a great city Dundee is kicks us off. Unsurprisingly I'm with her all the way but are we Dundonians our own worst enemies?
Cooperation was the buzzword with the delegates in Tromso, but have the Icelanders upstaged their Scandinavian cousins with their Arctic Circles forum in Helsinki staged at their brilliantly bonkers conference centre?
And what can Scotland learn about developing our towns and cities outwith the Glasgow Edinburgh axis from the Norwegian experience?
Lesley's photos of her visit to an amazing outdoor kindergarten in Tromso really caught my attention and I'm stunned and impressed, once again, by just how right Norway seems to have got early years education.
Having made the revelation last week that I'd never been to a Burns Supper I try and explain why. This leads me, I've got that kind of mind chums, to the repeal of OBFA, and the nagging suspicion that Labour and the Tories may be playing political games over this.
All the above plus, Lesley talks in Norwegian, I reply in Finnish, and even more Celtic Connections chat.
Thu, 18 January 2018
After some merry badinage Lesley returns to the major issue of land ownership and the rights of tenant farmers.
She examines the complex situation in the Borders on the massive estates of the Duke of Buccleuch and tries to make sense of the conflicting perspectives of the locals and Buccleuch Estates. Lesley also reflects on the potential negative impacts of the Scottish Government's benign reforestation policies and the parlous position of tenant farmers who operate under limited partnerships as opposed to secure tenancies.
I, urbanite that I am, contribute little beyond silence for the most part (a blessed relief I hear you cry) until we expand on this specific issue to look at whether big is indeed beautiful.
This leads neatly into the collapse of Carillion, what this says about PFI and big state solutions, and the National Audit Office's report on the economic efficiency of Public Private Partnerships.
No week can pass without Brexit talk and we discuss the European Union Withdrawal Bill amendment votes at Westminster, the sovereignty of Parliaments and those Henry the 8th powers.
Finally, Lesley gives her considered opinion on that Van Morrison album I gave her......