Wed, 13 June 2018
On the day that Ian Blackford led a walk out of SNP MPs at PMQs in protest at the Westminster Brexit power grab Lesley spoke with Katrin Oddsdóttir, who features in Lesley's latest film in the Nation series.
Katrin was one of 25 members of the Constitution Council of Iceland, which drafted a new constitution for the country in 2011.
Katrin has been a political activist from early age, but became known in Iceland after delivering a radical political speech at mass protests in 2009 while still a law student. She now works as a human rights lawyer.
This week's recording is courtesy of the inimitable Al of Phantom Power. Cheers chum.
Thu, 7 June 2018
After, in my mind at least, the best intro I've ever done, Lesley tries to make sense of the recent YouGov poll which showed Scots to be more optimistic about the future than either the Welsh or English.
She's "assisted" in this by the revelation that I was part of the group of Scots surveyed.
We can't escape Brexit, no matter how much we want to, and today's announcement of the UK's "backstop" proposals and the Irish government's reaction to it, is our next talking point.
Closely followed by our thoughts on the leaked "Doomsday" document drawn up by senior civil servants predicting that Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tried to leave the EU without a trade agreement.
It's the 150th anniversary of the birth of James Connolly and as commemorative events are held here in Scotland I muse on the irony of, arch unionist "left wing firebrand", George Galloway speaking at one in Edinburgh.
All of this plus the usual nonsense including Lev Yashin's link with Father Ted, my Iceland football top, and an extra secret track.
Tue, 29 May 2018
Once again Lesley has returned from another trip away. This time it's the Orkney Folk Festival and, once again, we’re struck by the power of music to inspire and move.
Monday night saw the launch of Lesley's newest project, “Nation", a series of films on our nearest, northern neighbours, made in association with the fantastic Phantom Power.
And we begin the podcast with a review and discussion on the first of these, Faroe Islands-the connected nation.
Here's the link; https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nation
It was a momentous week in Ireland as the nation voted overwhelmingly to repeal Section 8 of the constitution.
We reflect not only on the importance of this decision but its potential impact on Irish reunification given the stance on social issues of the DUP.
Next you hear our surprising take on the Scottish Growth Commission Report.
Finally, Lesley returns to Orkney and its innovations in green energy generation driven by the necessity of being ignored by the big energy providers.
Fri, 18 May 2018
After a bombshell of an opening, within which I tell possibly the most niche joke ever, we get back down to business with reflections on this week's shenanigans in the House of Lords.
Lesley's recent gig in Bearsden sparks a debate, wherein I defend the First Minister's softly softly approach, on whether the SNP leadership is playing it too safe on Indyref 2.
As May and the Brexiteers play fast and loose with the Irish border issue are there signs that "liberal unionists" are now thinking the unthinkable over Irish reunification?
All of this plus, evangelical Zionists, the discovery that Scotland is less popular than Gibraltar with English voters, tomorrow's Scottish Cup Final and Lesley's reaction to Willo Flood leaving Tannadice.
Sun, 13 May 2018
We begin this podcast with my flummoxing Lesley by referencing obscure 60's novelty R n B and my great week of live gigs.
The sad death of Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit and the reaction of Prof Tom Gallagher to Nicola Sturgeon's message of condolence means we take a more serious tone and I reflect on decency in public discourse.
Lesley turns her attention to that front-page photo and article on the AUOB march in last Sunday's Herald and wonders if it's three strikes and you're out after Angela Haggerty's ill judged "outing" tweet.
It's Brexit, yet again, with appearances on the Sunday shows by Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Brexiteer Ian Duncan-Smith. The delusion that all will be well in the best of all possible post EU worlds for the UK gets a real "doing" by Lesley.
It's all promises, promises by Richard Leonard and Labour as they arrive late to the protect devolution party and trot out their federal solution to the crisis of the British state.
The second half of the podcast is a conversation between Lesley and Angus Brendan MacNeil at the Arctic Circle Faroe Islands Forum. What can we learn from this other devolved region?
Thu, 3 May 2018
I open by stunning Lesley with Chris McEleny's "dream team" Yes campaign leadership suggestion. This leads Lesley into her thoughts on just what shape any future independence campaign should and could take and what role any "leader" would be permitted by the media.
It's the local elections in England and I succeed, yet again, in surprising Lesley with my revelations on the voting system used. Both of us try to get to grips with the arcane structure of local government down south, and the complexities of making sense of the results.
We return to independence and we've often speculated on just how No voters could be convinced to change their minds. I try to explain the research of neuropsychologist Professor Tali Sharot and what, if anything, it can contribute to strategies on how to do this. Judge for yourselves how successful I am.
Kevin McKenna's thought provoking article in the National on the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol provides a springboard for a discussion on the role of drink in Scottish society, the impact of its abuse in working class communities, and whether this is simply another nanny state measure enacted by the middle classes.
Finally, we review FMQs, in particular Miles Briggs' attack on the Baby Box scheme, and David Mundell's appearances before two committees at the Scottish Parliament.
Plus there's the usual old toot including a lesson in Dundonian and more than any of you wanted to know about the play-offs for the SPFL.
Thu, 26 April 2018
There's a definite parliamentary feel to the first part of the podcast as we spend a significant amount of time picking over the breakdown of negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments over Brexit Clause 11, the infamous "power grab".
Yesterday's Scottish and PM Questions in Westminster and today's FMQs focus Lesley on the reactions of Labour in particular to the impact of the "consent decision" amendments on the devolution settlement and the Scottish Parliament.
I chip in on the 24 powers which the UK government proposes to retain for seven years post Brexit, and we speculate on how the SNP and wider Scottish civic society can drive home what this will mean in reality to ordinary folk. And can we leave all this up to mainstream news outlets?
This feeds neatly into Lesley's recollections of her time at the BBC after the recent revelations over Auntie’s collusion with MI5 in vetting and excluding "lefties".
There are also startling marital and football revelations and my take on Jackson Carlaw.
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.