Tue, 28 May 2019
Unsurprisingly the European Parliament elections take up most of this week's podcast.
We try and analyse the results across the UK and Europe not only in terms of Brexit but their implications for our domestic political parties and Scottish independence.
Along the way I might just touch on media spin and Lesley surprises me with why the Scottish Tories faring marginally better than their English counterparts is positive news for Yessers.
We couldn't escape the car crash that is the Conservative Party leadership beauty contest and what it says about the state of the party and of UK democracy.
Along the way we revisit Citizens' Assemblies and ask, given the commitment by Nicola Sturgeon to Indyref2 before 2021, when will they happen. I, despite personal grief, reflect on Dundee United losing on penalties to St Mirren, and what we independistas can learn from it.
Lesley made an emotional pilgrimage to Croick Kirk, scene of one of the most infamous incidents of the Clearances. If, like me, you were unaware of this Lesley's tale is a powerful reminder of why land reform should be at the heart of Scottish politics.
To find out more click the link below
Tue, 21 May 2019
It's a week of political limbo as we wait for Theresa May's "big" announcement on her reshaped EU Withdrawal Bill and the EU elections on Thursday.
The latest polls for those elections showed growing support for the Brexit Party right across the UK. In Scotland the SNP is still way ahead but it could be meltdown for both Labour and the Tories as the Brexit Party is in second place. On these figures the SNP could gain one seat, rising to three MEPs, the Brexit Party two MEPs, and a straight fight between the Greens and the Lib Dems for the sixth spot.
Lesley tries to make sense of that surge.
The latest edition of Question Time from Elgin caused yet more controversy here in Scotland. Lesley's latest column in the Scotsman focusing on this has proved no less controversial in certain quarters and she argues that unless Donalda MacKinnon gets a firm grip on QT it will continue to go rogue.
SNP MSP George Adam will be bringing a motion to the Scottish Parliament, with cross party support from Labour and the Greens, criticising Ofcom's recent decisions to further deregulate local commercial radio. I examine the new Ofcom regulations and why we should be worried about them.
The Nordic Horizons group has decided to have a year's sabbatical and evaluate their activities. Lesley gives the background to that decision.
As per usual there's other stuff but I'll let you find that out for yourselves.
Wed, 15 May 2019
Andrew Marr interviewed Damian Hinds (he’s the current Education Secretary-nope me neither) and Nigel Farage on his show this Sunday.
Both were on to talk about the European Parliamentary elections. Both had to try and do this without the benefit of their parties issuing manifestos.
Lesley picks apart the significance of this and the flaws at the heart of the UK's political system which mean the party of government and the party leading in the polls for that election can get away with it.
Sticking with the Euro elections, the Sunday Mail recently endorsed the Scottish Green Party, breaking a long tradition of supporting Labour.
We discuss, even if this was a cynical vote splitting move by the Sunday Mail, why Yes supporters could vote Green, and how quickly the political landscape on the climate emergency has changed.
As the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the return of the Scottish Parliament roll on two former First Ministers, Jack McConnell and Henry McLeish both came out in favour of reform. McConnell, perhaps seduced by his time in the Lords, wanted the creation of a non-elected second chamber. McLeish, hankering after a more European style assembly, suggested moving to an increased number of MSPs by bringing in the Single Transferable Vote system.
We reflect on both these proposals, more favourably on one than the other.
Theresa May will be bringing back the EU Withdrawal Bill to Westminster on June the third. This " Great Repeal Bill" is the one that enshrines the power grab from Holyrood. We return to, not just to the specifics of the bill, but the underlying message it contains about Scotland's place in the UK.
As per usual there's a smattering of other nonsense, mainly on Highland League football, Chinese takeaways and clip on sunglasses.
Wee note from Lesley; I checked on who controls Oil and Gas Licensing and I was wrong. It's still the UK Government via the Oil and Gas Authority quango they set up — it's licensing for onshore oil and gas (basically fracking) that was devolved in 2018. Apologies.
Fri, 10 May 2019
Saturday saw over 100,000 supporters of Scottish independence march through Glasgow. Lesley was there and gives her impressions of what it was like out on the streets and the reflects on the continuing commitment to the cause of the grass roots movement. All of this despite brickbats from some obvious, and some surprising, sources.
We both tuned into the latest edition of Question Time, featuring yet again Nigel Farage. We wonder if the shambles we witnessed was simply a show that Fiona Bruce let get out of hand or was it just the spectacle that the producers wanted.
It's the 20th anniversary of the return of the Scottish Parliament and Lesley reflects on its achievements, with praise for Labour First Ministers Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell, and the new Scottish social security system.
I'm not sure if this makes up for my less than complimentary remarks on Richard Leonard's European election video, or Paul Sweeney's latest podcast gaffe.
We try and figure out just why the Tory Party leadership candidates all decided to chuck their hats in the ring next and pick apart the latest European election polls. Spoiler alert, bad news for Labour, but disastrous for the Tories.
Sticking with the Euro elections Lesley returns to Catalonia, the plight of the jailed leader of the ERC party Oriol Junqueras, and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.
Along the way there's also the usual badinage, and maybe a wee mention of football.