Tue, 18 February 2020
There was only one way to begin this week's podcast ,it was the bizarre claim by Jackson Carlaw, newly anointed Scottish Tory leader, that around half of the Scot's electorate were adherents of a cult.
Lesley eviscerates this ludicrous suggestion and we try and figure out what his strategy was.
Lesley's been aware over the past few weeks that groups of independence activists, from a variety of perspectives, have been planning to, and in one case actually have, set up parties to stand on the regional lists for Holyrood in 2021. We analyse why this is happening and what impact, if any this will have on the SNP and Greens come election time.
Swathes of the UK have been hit by flooding in the past couple of weeks. Folk have been calling out for increased spending on flood defences but are there more effective measures that can be taken not to protect but prevent these reoccurring catastrophes?
Grouse moors , yup those old friends of ours, are pivotal to the problem of flooding and Pete Wishart and John Swinney courted controversy when they attended an evening celebrating the end of the shooting season with the Scottish branch of the British Association of Shooting and Conservation.Was the Twitter storm that followed justified?
Andrew Sobisky, one of the weirdos who responded to Dominic Cummings, resigned after an expose on his appalling ideology by Andrew Learmonth in the National. What does his appointment say about Boris Johnson and the role of Cummings at number 10?
All this plus unashamed plugs for McGoldrick,McCusker and Doyle , and the Orkney Folk Festival.
Tue, 11 February 2020
The campaign for A Thousand Huts launched in 2011 by Reforesting Scotland– a network which has campaigned for over 20 years for a sustainable forest culture in Scotland-held a rally in Dundee last Saturday.
It'll come as no surprise to you that Lesley was there, and she gives her thoughts, not only on the event, but also on the wider issues surrounding hutting and the campaign itself.
Thursday should have seen Derek MacKay launching this year's Scottish budget in Holyrood. We reflect on his fall from grace and what it might say on power and men who wield it.
The so called "Boris Bridge" between Scotland and Northern Ireland has been filling the papers and the airwaves. Lesley reckons that this may just be yet another sleight of hand by the UK government to distract from the empty promises of the Brexiteers.
Priti Patel walked out of the Westminster debate on deportations and the first of these were carried out this morning. What do these two events say about the nature of the Tory government and its electoral base?
The British commentariat haven't been slow to "tansplain" Irish politics and the Irish General Election. I do my best to give some balance to this and, as usual, link it to the independence campaign.
Along the way there's also chat about the coronavirus, Dirty Harry, and Mr Rogers.We're nothing if not eclectic.
Tue, 4 February 2020
Last Friday when it would have been easy to have shut the door and try and forget the UK dragging Scotland out of the EU against our democratic will,thousands of Scots took themselves out on a dreich night to sing, dance, and celebrate.
Lesley pays tribute to the folk who organised these events and reflects on what we can learn frae fowk daein fir thimsels, and the media coverage it gathered.
Friday also saw Nicola Sturgeon make her, much trailed, speech on indyref2. As the three latest opinion polls show a significant shift to Yes, we give our takes on them and the speech.
We look at the latest Brexit, we're still saying it, utterings from blustering Boris, and the fall out from the attempt to ban members of the Lobby from the subsequent,official number 10 briefing.
Claire O'Neil, the recently sacked organiser of the COP26 climate change conference, appeared on the R4 Today programme, and if Johnson didn't have his troubles to seek after the journalists walk out he certainly did after her interview.
It's the Irish elections to the Dail this Saturday and,after polls showed a dramatic drop in support for Leo Varadkar's Fine Gael party,our pal Andrew Neil thought he'd give us the benefit of his informed insights into Irish politics.
The Iowa Democratic caucus descended into farce this morning. Cock up or anti Sanders conspiracy?
Along the way we also mention,David Copperfield,hot socks and Laurence Fox.
Tue, 28 January 2020
Lesley was part of the final, for now, Scottish press corps briefing with the EU in Brussels last week.
She's back with some genuinely jaw dropping information from the event.That light at the end of the Brexiteers' tunnel looks ever more like the express train heading towards us at breakneck speed.
Monday was the funeral of Seamus Mallon, ex MP,former N Ireland Deputy First Minister, and one of the principle architects of the Good Friday Agreement. We reflect on his life, and legacy.
Tory Education spokesperson Liz Smith was outspoken in her criticism of the decision to make Gaelic the default language for P1 pupils in the Western Isles. She was met with a wave of condemnation, not least from one of her Highland and Island Tory MSP colleagues.We question the antipathy towards Gaelic and look at the growth of Scots learning the language.
Emily Thornberry was the latest Labour leadership contender to dip her toes into Scottish political waters. Just how tone deaf is Labour on the Scottish Question?
Finally we pay tribute to the incomparable Nicholas Parson who died today.
Mon, 20 January 2020
Lesley and I swore that we'd never do another evening recording session.Yet here we are as she's off to visit the European Union tomorrow. More of the EU later.
We begin with the annual resurrection of the Broon frae Kirkcaldy who made another , well trailed,"keynote"speech today on the perils of divisive nationalism and his plan to keep the UK together. Needless to say we were not impressed.
Back to the EU and Lesley brings you an exclusive on plans to demonstrate our opposition to Brexit on January 31st.Remember, you heard it here first folks.
Joanna Cherry, Patrick Harvie, Kevin Pringle,Denis Canavan, and Colin Fox have all come out in support for setting up another Yes campaign group. We question the how, and why, of this move.
Tony Hall's resignation as Director General of the BBC sets us off on a critique of Aunty both in the past,and over the last week.
It's January and it's Celtic Connections in Glasgow time.Lesley has, just about, recovered from an amazing gig at Barrowlands featuring the incredible musical heritage of Marty Bennett. I, on a more than slightly,less elevated level won a prize on Off the Ball.
There's the usual highways and byways plus a computer that won't keep schtum....
Mon, 13 January 2020
Lesley is fresh from Saturday's AUOB march in Glasgow and is still buzzing from the carnival atmosphere. As is right, and fitting, we begin this week's podcast with this, yet another, fantastic day.
Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland appeared on Sunday Politics Scotland and retreated from his previous position on indyref2. We reckon "Union" Jack, and his no mandate mantra will turn out to be the best recruiting sergeant we've seen for the Yes movement.
Not to be left out by the Tories, the Labour Party, north and south of the border, continues to tie itself in knots over Scottish independence and its perennial cri de coeur of federalism.
Despite our best attempts we haven't been able to escape the soap opera that is the House of Windsor. Feel free to fast forward over our take on it, if you, like us ,are scunnered wi the hale shebang.
Stormont is about to sit after a hiatus of three years. What has happened to break the deadlock?
The citizenry of Edinburgh is up in arms over the activities of Underbelly over the Christmas and New Year period.
What can we learn from the shenanigans over the Christmas market, Hogmanay celebrations and the Looony Dook?
We end on the last two movies we've seen, 1917, and Jo Jo Rabbit. We loved them both but, there's always a but, with some reservations.
Finally, I couldn't resist mentioning the Terrors of Tannadice stretching their lead to 17 points and the perfect hat trick from Lawrence of Arabia himself.
Tue, 7 January 2020
The, not so, dynamic duo make our return after the Christmas and Hogmanay break, having just about survived our bouts of lurgy.
The recriminations and "period of reflection" in both Scottish and UK Labour,post the General Election defeat,have been brought into even sharper focus with the announcements of candidates for the leadership.
Lesley kicks off 2020 by asking just what Labour in Scotland actually stands for and whether it can rediscover its principled roots.
I,as only a ex Labour activist can, stick the metaphorical boot into the Bain principle, Ian Murray, Ayesha Hazarika,Jess Phillips, and as many other Labour folk as I can fit in.
Christmas saw the "reimagining"of Dracula and A Christmas Carol. This endless recycling of "classics" sets us off on a consideration of what this tells us about the state of British culture?
Tim Montgomerie, erstwhile social justice advisor to Boris Jonson has claimed the UK will have a "special relationship" with the authoritarian Hungarian government post Brexit. I decided to have a wee keek at what Viktor Orban's government has been up to with illuminating, and definitely concerning, results.
Along the way we also cast our beady eyes over, political satire, Star Wars, the Golden Globes, and the passing of Alasdair Gray, and Neil Innes.