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......
Fri, 12 January 2018
Is this our most controversial podcast? I leave it to you dear listeners to decide as we kick off with our thoughts on the sainted Van the Man.
We move to much safer ground with Lesley's views on Trump as the revelations in Fire and Fury stoke the flames surrounding the Donald.
I muse on the "Oprah for 2020" buzz and what it says about the state of the USA .
The failure of the UK government to produce the amendments to Clause 11 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, the potential for a Westminster "power grab", and the, seeming, all party unanimity among Scottish MPs and MSPs is up next. Lesley speculates if this is the dawn of a new realisation, especially for the Scots Tories, of an undermining of not only the Scottish Parliament but of democracy.
I offer my cynical response, not like me....
The recent Cabinet reshuffle and the stooshie over diversity gives me the chance to court more controversy with my perspective on what jot of difference more BEM or women in a Tory Cabinet makes to equality.
We end almost we began with movies and music. However, after Falkirk, nae Dundee United
Fri, 5 January 2018
A guid new year tae yin an aw and welcome to the first podcast of 2018.
We begin by focusing on the winter "crisis" in the NHS and Lesley questions the "SNPbad" coverage across the press and broadcast media. This leads us to speculate not only on this but the softly softly response by the Scottish Government in its seeming failure to compare our NHS with that in England.
Neil Oliver's appointment as President of the National Trust for Scotland has more than annoyed Yes supporters given his stance on Scottish independence.However Lesley argues that there just may be a progressive aspect to it in terms of the role of the Trust and land ownership.Note the "may" chums.
I pitch around the edges on Scotland in Union, Prof Hugh Pennington, creeping NHS privatisation in England, and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
All this plus the usual meanderings.
Fri, 22 December 2017
In this ,the final, podcast of 2017 we return to some old favourite topics and hae a wee keek at what we're looking forward to in 2018.
Lesley kicks off with the latest reports from Business for Scotland on how Scottish industry and commerce is reacting to the Brexit shambles. Is this, almost, solid unionist block coming round to independence? And is the UK government willing to sell out Scotland"The Brand" in pursuit of trade deals?
The Brexiteers claim that leaving Europe will mean that we're free of so called red tape. I examine the possibility( probability) that the European Working Time Directive may be the first casualty of this policy and what it might mean for workers' rights.
The saga of the empty Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock and the importance of the Scottish government getting the much needed Compulsory Sale Order legislation drafted and passed is subjected to the Riddoch gimlet gaze.
It's numbers all the way for me with questions being raised about Tom Gordon of the Herald's maths when it comes to Baby Boxes and why Murdo Fraser should tak tent on where Scottish tax payers' cash is actually being wasted.
As usual we frame everything within the framework of the drive towards Scottish independence and we also meander down some unexpected by ways.
Fri, 15 December 2017
Brexit,Budget,BBC, and Bolton are the bees on oor bunnits this week.
However we buck the trend and begin,not with yesterday's Draft Scottish Budget, but the annulment and rerun of the election for Aberdeen University's rector.Trust me folks it's of more importance than we might think at first glance.
However the budget can't be ignored and Lesley examines not only the facts and figures but what the reaction to, and coverage of, it says about Scotland. Plus we examine the performance of the key players during after the Parliamentary debate.
This leads us neatly into our thoughts about BBC Scotland and does it live up to its pledge of not only entertaining but informing and educating?
No week is complete without our two go to topics of Brexit and Trump( I could have slipped another B in there but fill in the blank yirsels).
Adam Bolton's "You Irish" comments and flag issues frame our chat on Brexit and we heave a sigh of relief at Trump's pal Roy Moore's loss in the Alabama Senate election.
Just when they thought it was all over we enter extra time as Lesley cuts loose on the barriers to community buy outs, focusing in particular on recent attempts by local folk to purchase redundant Church of Scotland kirks.
No mentions of Dundee United this week( still top of the Championship btw) , but we digress on BBC NI's The Blame Game and cinema travelogues.
Fri, 8 December 2017
We return to podcasting as Lesley recuperates from her recent hip replacement and I venture down the Tay coast to record this week's episode.
Stuck at home Lesley tuned into "Call Kaye",normally a cue to hurl the wireless oot the windae, but the discussion on the use of medicinal cannabis meant a stay of execution for the radio and food for thought for us.
You'd think at my age and with my experience nothing would shock me about the behaviour of politicians but David Davis's brass neck on the 50 odd Brexit impact assessments leaves me stunned.
As Finland's celebrates 100 years of its independence Lesley reflects on Finland's journey to become a world leader in health, education, technology and happiness and what Scotland can learn from our northern neighbours.
All of the above plus much more including , a radical Aberdonian bus driver, bats, sea eagles,eccentric Fifers and my mentioning the baby box- as Lesley reminds me gently- yet again.
Thu, 23 November 2017
We return after a two week break due to my "man flu" to a joint reaction to the last two week's events of "Ye whit!".
The overthrow of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe kicks us off and Lesley focuses on the diaspora of Zimbabwe's talented women.Will they return and what will their country be like post Mugabe?
I prove I'm no George Kerevan, as if that needed doing, as I get to grips with Hammond's Budget and its impact not just on the UK but Scotland.
Lesley picks up on the Chancellor's "new technology" mantra and reflects on last week's Arctic Circle Forum in Edinburgh.
We cannot resist the siren call of the jungle and we get stuck into Kezia Dugdale's I'm a Celebrity adventures.
All of this plus, politicians "jokes", Harris Academy alumni,the glories of Dundee by night and the great Rodney Bewes.