The Lesley Riddoch Podcast

The Lesley Riddoch Podcast

By Lesley Riddoch and Pat Joyce

Scottish politics dissected from a left, pro-independence stance. Each week, award-winning broadcaster and journalist, Lesley Riddoch chews over the week’s news with former media lecturer and Dundee United fan, Pat Joyce. If you like intelligent, quirky chat about Scottish society and culture, and Scottish, UK and international politics analysed from a Scottish perspective; this podcast is for you.


Professor Mark Blyth-Part 2

In part 2 of our interview with Professor Mark Blyth we focus on "Angrynomics" the book on the rise of populism and solutions to tackle its root causes which Mark co-wrote with Eric Lonergan.
09/09/2141m 20s

Headline News

Greta Thunberg's words on Scotland and climate change were definitely mangled by the BBC but should we patting ourselves on the back on our response to the emergency?Lesley reflects on the opportunities missed by the SNP government in terms of district heating and insulation in particular and what difference,if any, the agreement with the Greens will make to future decision making.Yesterday saw the FM field questions from opposition parties on that agreement. Has she and her party pulled off a master stroke politically in making progressive unionists seem to be carping from the sidelines rather than cooperating in areas of policy agreement?Last weekend saw the first Celtic Rangers game and the almost inevitable outbreak of anti Irish,anti Catholic racism on the streets of Glasgow. Pauline McNeill raised this at FMQs and there,at last, seems to be a move away from the "sectarianism" narrative to one which calls this out as the racism it's always been.Dominic Raab,unlike the FM, point blank refused to answer questions from Stewart McDonald on the timing of his holiday during his session in front of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.He also came under attack for his failure to act on intelligence reports back in July on the deteriorating Afghanistan situation.Finally Pat's visit to the Night Fever exhibition and Dundee's V&A sparks off a discussion of the role of UK wide cultural institutions in Scotland and memories of the great Michael Marra.
02/09/2150m 8s

The Real Deal?

Afghanistan continues to dominate the headlines and with no extension to the August the 31st deadline for US withdrawal what future awaits the people of Afghanistan,particularly the women,and what does the whole sorry saga say about the international order?The SNP and the Green Party have reached an agreement on the coalition,that isn't a coalition. We ask why,why now,and what impact it can have not only on tackling the climate crisis but in securing a majority for Scottish independence in a future referendum.We also look at the ongoing scandal over the pork barrel politics the UK government has engaged in with its siphoning of money from its Levelling-Up Fund to prosperous Tory dominated regions. Does this give a hint as to what tactics they'll employ to undermine the Scottish government?Sharon Graham has just won the election to become the new leader of Unite. A definite new broom who promises to focus on workers rights and looks likely to increase the distance between the union and the Labour Party. She also strikes a very different tone from both Scottish and UK Labour on independence.
26/08/2157m 21s

The I word

All of us have been shocked by the stories and images emerging from Afghanistan as the Taliban take over. Beyond the growing sense of horror what do they say about the future of that country,the competence of the UK government,the UK's relationship with the broader international community,and the injustice of Priti Patel's proposed refugee legislation?Indyref2 seems to have undergone a rebranding exercise and emerged from it as the Recovery Referendum. Is this a smart move to build on the undoubted boost to Nicola Sturgeon's personal popularity by contrasting her Covid performance with that of Boris Johnson's. Or an aspirational  sounding exercise with little or no appeal to the foot soldiers of the Yes movement?Mike Russell appeared on the latest National online Roadshow last night and we try and pick our way through what he said to get some sense of where the SNP stands on that referendum,Mike's role in the process, and get some answers to the big questions the next campaign will have to address.There has been much made of a "just transition" to a green Scottish future but the treatment of  folk of Torry in Aberdeen,yet again, brings into question the rhetoric when it comes to the reality of what this working class community is facing in the creation of an Energy Transition Zone.This stands in stark contrast to what's been achieved by the islanders of Eigg where community ownership and empowerment has created a model of genuine just transition away from fossil fuels.
19/08/211h 1m

Duncan McCann-Our Land Report

  REVIVE commissioned the New Economics Foundation and Common Weal to produce the Our Land report. They asked what steps a Scottish Government could take within the present constitutional position to tackle the acknowledged problems around land ownership and use. Together with leading Scottish figures, thinkers, and campaigners from the Scottish land reform movement Revive believes they have come up with a set of achievable and comprehensive recommendations on how land ownership could be reformed for the benefit of Scotland’s people, its environment and its animals. Duncan McCann of the New Economics Foundation was in the hot seat to answer our questions on the report.You can check the report out at
12/08/211h 9m

Root causes and real solutions

 The horrifying  Scottish drug deaths statistics are the main thrust of this week's podcast bringing into sharp focus the necessity of the Scottish government to challenge the reserved powers Westminster holds over this area.It's now time, we believe, for Holyrood to take control and enact progressive policies to tackle the root problems and defy the Tory government to stop them.There's a bizarre current paradox facing the Scottish islands,depopulation but lots of folk wanting to move there to live. The Scottish government is proposing that 100 folk get £50000 each to resolve this conundrum. Is this enough, or,as we suspect,just another headline grabbing sticking plaster that ignores the real issues?Last week we asked just what was the point of the Lib Dems. This week the talk of the steamie has been,what's the point of SNP MPs being at Westminster? We examine the ideas floating around not only their role in London,but what part they could play in Scotland if the SNP developed a practical independence strategy.All Under One Banner organised a demo in Dundee last Saturday which was underwhelming in its turnout. What's the future for any other AUOB events, which proved spectactularly successful in the past, and is there a need for a new broader Yes street campaigning orgnaisation?
05/08/211h 3m

What we did on our holidays

We're back after our wee break and Lesley is full of the amazing things happening on Eigg as she reflects on all that's happened there since the community buy out nearly 25 years ago.As the UK government lurches more to the right with its policies on asylum seekers in particular, we look at how Scotland has done things differently and whether there's an inevitable conflict between Holyrood and Westminster looming.Johnson is also acting tough on criminal justice with talk of chain gangs of offenders wearing hi viz jackets. Back in 2008 the Scottish Prisons  Commission  published its report" Scotland's Choice". But 13 years down the line has anything changed fundamentally in light of the Commission's finding and proposals?The Lib Dems are back,for now, in the news as they seek to elect a new leader after Willie Rennie's resignation. Lots of attention has been focused on the likely winner Alex Cole-Hamilton and his personality. Looking beyond this we ask the question,just what are the Lib Dems actually for these days.However,it was a Lib Dem researcher,Lily Humphreys, using a Freedom of Information request who brought to light a series of secret interventions by the Queen,67 in total, in Scottish legislation most recently in gaining an exemption from green provisions in the Heat Networks Bill. We wonder why the Scottish government is so in thrall to the outdated rules of Crown Consent.All this plus a dodgy pun and Pat's 1969 revisited reminiscences brought on by watching one movie and failing to see another.
29/07/211h 7m

Professor Mark Blyth Part 1

Mark Blyth is Director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance.He's also the William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics and Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs.Mark's a political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems, and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets of evidence to the contrary. He is the author of several books, including Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century: Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea:The Future of the Euro (with Matthias Matthijs): and Angrynomics(with Eric Lonergan). In this,the first part of his interview with us,we focus on his perspectives on Scottish independence and the hard discussions we need to have both within the movement,and with the Scottish people.
22/07/2136m 34s

Seven Days Too Long

Sometimes a week is a very long time in politics and this was one of them.We try and pick our way through the welter of Westminster controversies from accusations of racist dog whistling to the cuts in overseas aid and the controversial English health legislation.It began with Boris Johnson standing outside a number 10 Downing Street festooned with English flags and ended with the England team,apparently,turning down an invitation to the Prime Minister's residence because of the actions of his Cabinet in failing to condemn the booing of taking the knee.We examine the appalling scenes at Wembley,the online aftermath,and question what part Johnson et al had in stoking up the racist flames.Possibly slipping under the radar of the football stories there was a lot of legislative activity in the UK Parliament.An English health bill which seems to be opening up the NHS down south to ever more privatisation. The dreadful cuts in overseas aid, the scrapping of EVEL,and the removal of the £20 top up to Universal credit.Plus confusion appears to reign over the lifting of Covid restrictions in England and the,at best mixed messages,coming from the UK government on mask wearing. Experts are also questioning the seeming drift back to a "let it rip" herd immunity strategy.Finally Lesley pays tribute to Emma Ritch who died suddenly this week.All this plus a totally gratuitous reference to Dundee United and our loss in the 1987 UEFA Cup final.
15/07/2145m 31s

Parks Life

Like death and taxes there's currently no escape from the strains of "It's coming home". We reflect on the complexities and contradictions of a multi-cultural England football team representing,what seems to be,an increasingly xenophobic,insular English polity, and the hypocrisy of the UK government riding on the coattails of its success.Indyref2 in the first part of this parliamentary term was an SNP manifesto commitment.  We explore the vital role of the SNP membership to deliver on this promise for the whole Yes movement.It came as no surprise to most of us when Dominic Cummings revealed that Boris Johnson was an "unthinking unionist" who,despite all the spin, would gladly see devolution dismantled. However we ask if Johnson is the aberration or the norm for UK Prime Ministers for whom devolution is a bulwark against Scottish independence rather than a solution to the failings of a centralised state.Devolution did see the creation of Scotland's two national parks. But are they hamstrung by competing priorities,acquiescent leadership,and most importantly the private ownership and control of vast areas of Scotland?As usual there are the usual meanderings,mostly to do with cycling this week, along the way.
08/07/211h 1m

1966 and aw that

England's win v Germany in the Euros unleashed a wave of exceptionalism across the media. We examine the,not inconsiderable,links between national success,and failure, on the football pitch and the fortunes of political parties. Precisely what impact will that result,when added to Starmer's lacklustre leadership and the intervention of George Galloway,have on the Batley and Spen byelection?Michael Gove's ill advised foray into satire on the short lived C4 show, A Stab in the Dark, has resurfaced. Starting from this genuinely toe curling attempt at humour we look at not only the Scottish cringe but why some politicians manage to pull off the illusion of authenticity while others fail miserably.The Tories have been spinning the Matt Hancock resignation fiasco as a purely personal tragedy while bigging up his "achievements" in tackling the pandemic. However what,and more importantly,who,was behind the leak to the Sun and what were they seeking to achieve? And will Hancock end up being the fall guy when the Covid inquiry finally takes place?
01/07/211h 2m

Oor hame

So Scotland is out of Euro 2020 and as far as football is concerned it's back tae auld claes and porridge and possibly supporting Wales, and anyone who's playing England.However back on the political pitch the UK government seems hell bent on privatising Channel 4. What's the real motivation behind this move,and why, as Scots, should we care?All predictions point to a massive surge in folk from the rest of the UK holidaying in Scotland. Should we welcome this boost to local economies struggling because of Covid or is it a blight for local folk?Andy Burnham launched an attack on Nicola Sturgeon this past week over the travel ban between Scotland and Greater Manchester. Gleefully covered by the the media. Sturgeon claimed it was all about Burnham throwing his hat into the Labour leadership ring. Lesley reckons there's a bit more to it than that,if that at all.The One Britain One Nation campaign has shot from West Yorkshire obscurity into national proninence. What's the campaign all about and why have Gavin Williamson and the Department of Education thrown their whole weight behind it?
24/06/2156m 1s

Meeting ourselves

Cummings,Covid, that dodgy Aussie trade deal,falling out with Joe Biden and the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol. You would think that this would be a premiership and a government in crisis. However the Tories, yes we'll still call them that, are riding high in the opinion polls and Sir Keir Starmer still seems incapable of landing a telling blow. What is going on?There is a mounting housing crisis in the Highlands and Islands,exacerbated by Brexit, tourism,soaring land prices,and the growth of second homes. This is a challenge not just for the newly elected MSPs for these areas but for the Scottish government and its possible new partners,the Greens. Will they be up to it?Scotland is in the midst of Euro football fever and we try and get to grips with the hold the success or failure of the men's international side has on the nation,while looking at the unbreakable link between sport,politics ,and national well being not only in Scotland but in three of our closest neighbours.
17/06/211h 4m


Will Joe Biden get Boris Johnson telt over breaching the Northern Ireland Protocol at the G7 Summit?Meanwhile,another week.Another court judgement.Another government minister under scrutiny.The latest in this long line of shame,Michael Gove. The English High Court ruled that a £560,000 contract to a firm run by former colleagues of Michael Gove and the PM's adviser Dominic Cummings was unlawful.However,yet again, Sir Keir Starmer missed this political open goal at PMQs.Just what is going on with the leader of the opposition? A man who looked so assured on the front bench before taking over from Jeremy Corbyn.Sticking with PMQs Ian Blackford focused on government plans to cut foreign aid. A whole set of Tory MPs were set to rebel until their amendment was ruled out of order by the Speaker. It looks as if the cuts will go ahead but what impact will they have on the world's poor? Andrew Wood ex-SNP now Conservative councillor has started a hare coursing with his proposal that if Scotland becomes independent those areas which voted No should remain the UK. Nonsense clutching at straws or a suggestion that might find favour at No 10?You may have noticed a spate of Tory politicians becoming involved in sporting and cultural matters. Oliver Dowden, and the PM, condemning the ECB's prompt action over Ollie Robinson's tweets. Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield saying he won't support England at the Euros if players continue to take the knee and fellow MP  Brendan Clarke-Smith comparing it to giving a Nazi salute. Random interventions or part of a "culture wars" agenda being pursued by the No 10 Policy Unit?
10/06/2153m 0s

There's been a Murdo

This week's podcast has leadership and history at its core as themes. However we begin with Murdo Fraser who seems to have undergone a road to Damascus conversion with his proposal that Scotland should move to STV for Holyrood elections.Lesley was stunned to find herself agreeing with him but reckons he should be careful what he wishes for while admiring his sheer brassneckedness given his silence on First Past the Post for Westminster.Joanna Cherry and Douglas Chapman are the latest members of the SNP NEC to resign over matters of "transparency and scrutiny". Chris Hanlon has decided to hang on in there. We look at the background to this ongoing dispute and wonder whether staying or going is the better course of action. The Royals seem to have got it right in terms of their reaction to the Johnson proposal for a new royal (not) yacht but revelations concerning the Royal Household's exemption from equalities legislation, at their request, brings into sharp focus, once again, their position at the centre of the   anti-democratic nature of the British state.Joe Biden visited Tulsa to memorialise the hidden from history Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 signalling a fundamental shift,at least in domestic terms, of leadership in the USA.All this plus the usual meanderings.And no, it wasn't Roy Plomley whose catch phrase was "As the sun slowly sinks in the west".It was James A. FitzPatrick.
03/06/2157m 50s

Cummings and Covid

Dominic Cummings made his much anticipated appearance in front of a joint select committee on Wednesday. He'd already trailed a significant proportion of his revelations on Twitter but seeing the man himself make them in Parliament did make this a major political event.We examine what he said,how he said it,the circling of the wagons around him by the Tory Party,and place it all within the context of how this Conservative government "governs".We also ask if,as Hancock claims lessons will be learned, can we believe himgiven that earlier reports clearly showing how unprepared the UK was for the pandemic were ignored.Prior to the Scottish elections senior SNP sources were floating the idea of an SNP/Green coalition. Negotiations are now ongong to formalise some sort of agreement between them. We speculate just what form this might take and what's in it for both parties.There was a landmark court decision in the Netherlands making Shell cut its CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2019 levels.This hit the headlines but all sorts of unlikely alliances between climate activists and hedge funds forcing major companies like Exxon and Chevron to move much faster away from carbon fuels have been taking place.We also revisit the creation of Great British Railways, the Friends reunion, and Eurovision.
27/05/211h 4m

The Bute House Shuffle

We focus the first part of the podcast on Nicola Sturgeon's,somewhat underwhelming ,reshuffle of her Cabinet after her outstanding victory in the Scottish election. A sensible,steady as she goes,or picking pals to subdue debate?Sticking with Holyrood we wonder just what Willie Rennie was up to when he stood for election as First Minister earlier this week. We also challenge the Tory "no mandate for indyref2" narrative and caution independence supporters on getting sucked into that spurious discussion.Glasgow witnessed two incredibly contrasting pieces of "taking it to the streets" with the uplifting Kenmure Street action against the UK government's deportation policies, and the rioting of Rangers fans "celebrating" their team's league title win.What can be deduced about modern Scotland from these differing displays of people power?Finally the UK government has announced the creation of Great British Rail signalling,yet another,shift away from Thatcherite dogma. Scotland has already implemented sweeping changes to the ownership and structure of our rail services.Will this be the first major battle over devolved and reserved powers in Brexit Britain?
20/05/211h 3m

The Dating Game

The aftermath of last week's Scottish elections has raised questions of when Nicola Sturgeon should go for indyref2 and has seen the Tories scrambling to deny the mandate pro independence parties have to call one. The Conservatives have been tying themselves in ever increasing arithmetical knots on this while folk like ProfessorJohn Curtice and Roz Foyer of the STUC say that there is an unequivocal mandate.We look at all this and the quandary Anas Sarwar faces being squeezed from both sides. Does the future of Scottish Labour depend on his decision?Meanwhile at Westminster the Queen's Speech,once again, revealed the direction of travel of the UK under the Johnson government.Silence on his oven ready comprehensive social care plan but plenty on compulsory voter ID. A solution to a problem that doesn't appear to exist and one which looks very like voter suppression. Plus the repeal of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Putting this together with the kicking of the opening of the  inquiry into the UK government's handling of the Covid crisis until 2022 it looks like it's a 2023 General Election.Away from domestic matters the scenes from Israel and Gaza have been appalling. We try and give some context to what the media have,in the main, referred to as clashes and tensions. We also focus on the central role the new Biden administration should have in resolving not only the current situation but also forwarding the two state solution abandoned by Trump.Back home the Craig Murray sentence for contempt of court has,rightly, been a focus of attention. We dip our toes into the murky waters of jigsaw identification ,the decision of who to,and not to, prosecute,and sentencing policy.
13/05/2156m 17s

Holyrood 2021 Election Special

In this week's late night episode we give our immediate reaction to the results of the Holyrood election trying to make sense not only of what it means to the political parties but also its impact on the path to indyref2 and Scottish independence.We also take a look at the Hartlepool by-election,and what it might tell us about Tory pro union strategy in Scotland.It also,inevitably, leads us to the state of the UK Labour Party.
08/05/211h 4m

Sleazy does it

As more and revelations come to light concerning Boris Johnson how long will it be until something sticks to the Teflon PM?The Tory Party message on the mysterious funding of No 11 Downing Street's refurbishment is,"Who cares?" Will it survive an Electoral Commission investigation?Channel 4 News hosted the latest Scottish leaders debate. Was it simply an exercise in sound and fury signifying nothing?A brand new campaign group, supported by some very significant folk, called Europe for Scotland. They want the people of Scotland to know that Europeans everywhere would welcome them back in the European Union if this is still our democratic wish.www.  Follow this link to find out more and sign up, if you fancy it.Arlene Foster has resigned as leader of the DUP.We ask what lay behind her decision, who might be her successor and what the state of play is in the run up to the Stormont elections.

Limbo land

Party manifestoes for the Holyrood election have been arriving thick and fast. We ask is this a phoney war where, despite all the promises and policies in those manifestoes, what it boils down to,with the parties and the electorate, is support for,or opposition to,Scottish independence?The SNP, the Greens, and Alba have all voiced support for Community Wealth Building as part of their electoral platforms. We look at the Preston Model and examine how those parties plans match up to the reality of what full implementation of Community Wealth Building is.And,just in case Labour and the Lib Dems feel left out, we discuss the progressive consensus in Scottish politics which is constantly stymied by those parties rigid support for the union and the vacuity behind their promises of federalism.Professor Adam Tomkins has caused a bit of a stooshie with his recent article in the Spectator forwarding the argument that a new Act of Union is needed to end talk of "secession" ,while drawing on a very "interesting" analysis of the constitutional histories of the USA,Canada, and Spain.To say the least, we're not impressed.We also give our thoughts on the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
22/04/211h 2m

Manifesto destiny

The Holyrood election campaign is nearly at the half way mark and today,Thursday, saw the launch of the SNP manifesto.We give our immediate reaction to the headline proposals.STV hosted the second leaders debate and it was a very different affair to last week's BBC effort. Who were the winners and losers?Ciaran Martin,now of Oxford University, was the senior civil servant who negotiated the Edinburgh Agreement in 2012. He's now written a new paper analysing the the potential approaches the current Tory government mignt take to a future Scottish independence referendum with some surprising conclusions. Almost simultaneously Michael Kenny,Jack Sheldon and Philip Rycroft, of Cambridge, have published their paper questioning not only Boris Johnson's version of unionism but also the commitment of the UK state to the union itself.It's back to the future, for those of us who remember the sleaze of the end days of the Major government, as David Cameron and ex civil servants find themselves mired in a lobbying scandal involving Greensill Capital. Will Johnson be able to limit the damage by focusing any inquiries on Cameron?All of this plus our thoughts on the death of Prince Philip,Lesley's memories of Shirley Williams, and some groundbreaking sporting moments. 
15/04/211h 9m

Following the leaders

We're definitely smack in the middle of the  2021 Holyrood election campaigns with the first leaders debate on the BBC, the drop of leaflets from the parties through our letter boxes, and the appearances of the party leaders on radio and TV.We step back from this bombardment,focusing on personalities and process,and ask if this has drowned out policy, particularly from the pro independence parties on what an independent Scotland could and should look like?However we do also look at the performances of all the party leaders so far.Along the way there's discussion on who's actually trying to "game the system" on the unionist side- yes you Douglas Ross- the potential impact of the Galloway vanity project, football managerial double acts, and the social history of the Masters golf championship in Augusta Georgia.
08/04/211h 8m

D'Hondt worry.

We focus in this episode on the impact the creation of the Alba Party might have on the May Holyrood elections. The launch of the new party saw a couple of SNP MPs switch to Alba and the withdrawal from the election by Independence for Scotland and Action for Independence.We try and make sense of the past few days and ask, how will not just pro independence voters react to the return of Alex Salmond but the wider electorate. Will those who've switched support to independence precisely because of the performance of Nicola Sturgeon be happy to give their votes to Alba on the list? What are the new party's policies? What will the final list of its candidates look like,and who will select them?Plus a wee delve into some interesting electoral arithmetic in two key regions,Mid Scotland and Fife, and Glasgow.With additional thoughts on BBC Scotland's coverage of the interim report by the Scottish Citizen's Assembly on Climate Change, and the Oor Vyce pledge.

In oor ain haunds

Two inquiry reports and a vote of no confidence in two days. We examine the events of the last 48 hours and their implications not just for Nicola Sturgeon but their impact on the SNP and the May Holyrood elections. The First Minister has survived but has she been  politically and personally damaged? The Tories look,once again, to be the main party of opposition in those elections. How credible is their strategy  of making that campaign all about character given the antics of the Johnson government?We also examine the attempts to woo Scots back to the union with the appointment of Prince William as Lord High Commisioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,all things flags, and why some folk, the Labour Party in particular, have such a problem with the Scots language.
23/03/2155m 13s

Let the sun shine in

Boris Johnson is set to announce the well-trailed shift in UK foreign and defence policy. We look at the proposals in terms of their impact on Scotland, if any, and in particular at the 40% increase in nuclear weapons to be based on the Clyde.The appalling scenes of the Metropolitan Police's aggressive handling of the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard were in stark contrast to the softly, softly tactics of the police in Glasgow to the "celebrations" of Rangers fans. Different forces, yes, but Lesley picks apart the underlying assumptions, perceptions and stereotypes underpinning those very different approaches. She also wonders if these events can create a major shift in men's attitudes and behaviours.There are looming elections not just in Scotland but in Northern Ireland. While, naturally, most of our attention has been focused on domestic Scottish issues recent events,and decisions taken by the UK, have thrown into sharp relief the dangers to peace on the island of Ireland caused by Brexit.As Nicola Sturgeon prepares to announce the latest Scottish Covid strategies Laura Kuenssberg has written what, she claims, is the inside story on how Boris Johnson and his Cabinet has handled the Covid crisis. If true, it is damning for No 10.
16/03/2154m 13s


We begin with the behaviour of Rangers fans after their team won the league on Sunday, the police response,and the reaction/non reaction of the club to the blatant flouting of the Covid regulations.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's well trailed interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the UK last night. Two self confessed republicans try to make sense of the whole thing and consider the role of the monarchy as the foundation of a fundamentally unfair society.The Holyrood elections in May are being seen, yet again, as a test of support for independence , and an opportunity to put pressure on Boris Johnson over indyref2. Key to all this seems to now be not just a pro independence majority in the Scottish Parliament but the SNP securing an overall majority on its own.We try to unravel the complications of how to navigate the vagaries of the Additional Member  voting systemFinally we talk about International Women's Day from both a personal and political perspective with, not unexpectedly, a focus on the drive towards Scottish independence. 
09/03/211h 1m

Bring it on

This week,not unexpectedly, we focus most of the podcast on the appearance of Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond at the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government's mishandling of harassment complaints against the former First Minister. Both of us faced the prospect of listening to these two heavyweights of Scottish, and indeed UK, politics slugging it out with a fair degree of trepidation in terms of what their evidence would mean to the cause of independence.It's fair to say that we both, like Nicola Sturgeon, seemed to have through the experience relatively unscathed. We also look at yesterday's budget and what it signals about post Covid, post Brexit UK.The election of Anas Sarwar as leader of Scottish Labour leader and what it says, not just about the centrist drift of UK Labour , and SCottish Labour's now implacable opposition to indyref2, but also about the capture of all mainstream political parties by  non working class, professional politicians.Along the way, in addition to your learning a fine Dundee phrase, there are passing references to grandkids, Irish nonsense songs, and the Wiggles.
04/03/2158m 21s


As we wait to find out if Alex Salmond will finally appear before the Holyrood Committee we reflect on the what might have beens for the SNP and the broader Yes movement if the Salmond Sturgeon rift had not opened up.Matt Hancock has been all over the media the past few days trying to gloss over the court decision that he acted unlawfully. How successful has his whitewash been?Boris Johnson has pinned his hopes fairly and squarely on a Covid mitigation strategy .Will the Scottish government go with Zero Covid as its aim or will Scotland be dragged, once again, down what appears to be a risky whole UK path?The Queen's recent successful appeal to have Balmoral's rates reduced leads us to reflect not only on the inadequacy and unfairness of the current system of both domestic and non domestic property taxation but also the role  of the monarchy in a modern democracy.
23/02/2156m 47s

Dad dancing

As the fault lines begin to grow between the Scottish and UK governments over quaratine regulations for arrivals from abroad Lesley reflects on her invitation to appear on LBC this morning. And I clearly demonstrate,with my lapse into incoherent fury at Andrew Pierce's juvenile remarks,why I should turn down any similar request. The latest Savanta/ComRes poll makes very postive reading for the SNP before the May elections. Beyond the headlines though there are some intriguing findings,particularly when it comes to the "Undecideds" over independence. We reckon pro-indy parties and campaigners need to delve down beneath the surface and pay some real attenetion to these folk are and what can be done to get them over the line. UK Labour looks like it's adopting a "wrap yourself in the union flag" strategy. Is this just as cloth eared as the  Tories increasingly ,thinly veiled, anti-Scottish utterances? After Lesley tweeted about Andy Burnham's "Fairness" reply to what defines Britishness, the man himself got back in touch. We consider his explanation and it leads us neatly into Ballot Box Scotland's new report on Scotland's voting systems,particularly Open v Closed Lists. All this plus the anniversary of the Mann Question, Lent, sweet temptations, and tales of the Wormit Spar.  
16/02/2151m 34s

Jam Today

We just can't escape the continuing saga of the internal SNP leadership spat with the appearance yesterday of Peter Murrell before the Holyrood parliamentary inquiry committee and Alex Salmond's no show today. Just what does the whole sorry affair say about the nature of public debate and scrutiny of Scottish governance? Lesley did, however,make her presence felt on Sky News and Good Morning Scotland and we reflect on those very different experiences. The Big Questions this Sunday focused on the nature of Britishness with "interesting" contributions from the English guests and a cracking one from Darren McGarvey. We also dip our analytical toes into the troubled waters of the  post Brexit, digital downloadable, British music industry and the launch of Now Scotland. I might also happened to have mentioned my birthday.   
09/02/2159m 32s

St Brigid's Day

Today saw the removal of Joanna Cherry from her front bench role in Westminster . This came hard on the heels of the  controversial leaking of the procedures of yesterday's meeting of the SNP. Alex Salmond is also due to appear at the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government's handling of the complaints made against him which saw him acquitted of all charges. We try and make sense of all these events in terms of what they mean for the individuals involved, the SNP, and the prospects for Scottish independence given the impending elections. Lesley launched her latest movie in the Nations series last night, Estonia The Baltic Tiger. We discuss what lessons can be learned from this wee nation which regained its independence in 1991. You can watch the film on Youtube  here Or go to  
01/02/211h 2m

Borders and Polls

The Sunday Times published its poll showing the majority of Scots want independence and suddenly the rest of the UK(okay England) has woken up to the reality of what we've known in Scotland for some time now. We examine the Tory government's  Five Point Plan to "save the union"  and the, by now inevitable, re-emergence of Gordon Brown and his latest devo max "vow". The Scottish and UK governments seem to have struck a  neutrality pact when it comes to Coovid vaccine roll out but it looks like a vaccine war may be about to break out between Britain and the EU. We're,sadly, used to some pretty awful health statistics in Scotland but the latest figures on healthy life expectancy make grim reading. And a decade of austerity policies seem to be the root cause. All this plus thoughts on Burns Night, odes to tinned haggis, and a plan to save Dumfries town centre.    
26/01/211h 1m

Tired of waiting

It's all change with Scottish Labour as Richard Leonard departs. Will it be Monica Lennon or Anas Sarwar who become the new captain of what appears to be sinking ship? The Alex v Nicola saga rumbles on.We ask if it's possible not to take sides? Over the USA Joe Biden has unveiled the first part of what seems to be a massive, progressive, green, stimulus package. Will he be able to get it through Congress in those vital first 100 days? While Biden plans to inject cash into the economy by giving folk money directly and increasing benefits last night saw the unedifying spectacle of Tories lining up to support the removal of the £20 pandemic uplift to Universal Credit. Back here the report on the first ever Citizens Assemby was published we give our first reaction to its recommendations. All this plus dad dancing v dirty dancing, Neil Lennon's press conference, Vikings, again, Celtic Connections, and novel recommendations.  
19/01/2159m 52s

The invisible rope

The storming of the Capitol in Washington  by enraged Trump supporters was somehow both shocking and inevitable. We look at the events of January the 6th within the context not only of the day itself but also the entire four years of the Trump administration, and speculate on what havoc can be wreaked by the outgoing President in the last days of his tenure. There seems to be a growing clamour amongst unionist politicians and media to have the May Holyrood elections postponed.  What does this say about the mindset of the Better Together band? Much was made of the technical issues surrounding the launch of online learning in Scotland on Monday. This fell into the usual "SNP bad" nonsense but the reliance on digital learning across the UK brings into sharp focus the disparities in opportunity and economic inequalities that Scotland is seeking to escape through independence. The provision of grossly inadequate food packages by Chartwell UK to families which qualify for free school meals has once again shown up the nature of the current UK society and the "man mind thyself" ideology which currently dominates. Good on Marcus Rashford for taking up the fight gain but it requires a political will for radical change which seems to be missing at Westminster. I go back to my acting roots to look at a union rather than a Union issue with a major row brewing between grassroots Equity members in Scotland and London head office.
12/01/2155m 12s

A change is gonna come

We're back after our festive break and the three big stories of 2020, Covid,Brexit, and the future of the UK still dominate the political stage. Boris Johnson made a foray onto the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday and this shambolic interview, on both his and Marr's behalf, provides us with the framework for our thoughts. With the latest polling showing the potential for another hung Westmister parliament in 2024 Lesley wonders if those Labour voters who switched to the Tories have seen through Johnson's bluff ,bluster and blunder during the pandemic. We also speculate that now Brexit has been"done" will the Conservatives take that final step into English nationalism and say goodbye to us whining, ungrateful Scots? The importance of the Holyrood elections in May is becoming clearer to any demand for indyref2 and we discuss the significance of Andy Wightman's resignation not only to him personally but the prospects of the Greens. Two vital Senate seats are in play in today's Georgia elections. Will that phonecall by Trump to the Georgia Secretary of State prove a disaster for Republican chances of continuing to control the Senate and what did it say about the future of Trump and the GOP? Along the way there's mention of  Darwinian evolutionary theory, Sicilian detectives, Viking marauders,Roman gods, and our thoughts on the loss of Jim McLean and Kay Ullrich.  
05/01/211h 4m

The happiest time of the year

We can't escape the two major stories of the year, Covid and Brexit, in this week's edition of the podcast. Yet another deadline for reaching a deal with the EU has passed and yet another last minute extension to negotiations was agreed. Has this all been brinkmanship designed to make us all heave a sigh of relief when any kind of a free trade deal is agreed or will the Tories actually welcome No Deal? Meanwhile there are increasing doubts being raised at the lifting of Covid regulations over the Christmas period by medical experts.  Will Scotland, once again, be caught up in a not fit for purpose 4 nations approach? While, naturally, all eyes have been focused on Brexit and Covid, what pieces of legislation have the Conservatives been lining up that should concern us all? Finally the annual set of statistics for Scottish drug deaths have been published. Once again they make hard reading. We ask what the Scottish government can do ,within its limited devolved powers, to tackle this horrific situation.
15/12/2056m 46s

The name of the game

he big story in indy circles this week has been the stooshie over the name for the grass roots indy group set up after the AUOB online conference and the composition of its newly elected committee.  Was calling it Yes Alba a serious misjudgement and was it right to label the committee as " male , pale and stale"? Last night saw ,yet another, series of votes on Brexit.This time on the Lords' amendments to the Internal Market Bill.  The deadline for getting some sort of trade deal with the EU is also looming. We try and work out what significance these recent events have in terms of Boris Johnson's premiership, devolution, and independence. State aid rules are one of the sticking points in these final days of Brexit negotiations and these were brought into sharp focus by the announcement that BiFab was going into administration with claims by both the Scottish and UK governments that EU state aid rules had scuppered any moves to save it. Lesley examines those assertions and questions the will of the Scottish government to intervene by taking the firm into state control. All this plus a wee tribute to a bonnie fechter for Scottish independence Craig Munro, Peter Alliss,and other lost voices  of radio.
08/12/201h 4m

All Change

The SNP annual conference. All change or more of the same? Did Nicola Sturgeon nail her conference speech? The SNP NEC election results. Who's in, who's out? The Pat Finucane inquiry, what next?
01/12/2054m 58s

Reasons to be cheerful

AstraZeneca & Oxford University vaccine breakthrough Trump accepts election reality, finally. Massive hike in UK defence spending Pete Wishart's Plan B? Selfies for Europe Small Axe & lovers rock
24/11/2047m 8s

True colours

Was Boris Johnson's latest devolution disaster gaff the nail in the coffin for the Union? Is indyref2 2021 simply wishful thinking? Is Alyn Smith's wheesht for indy plea another symptom of an increasingly centralised SNP power structure? Did the Daily Mail tip over into overt racism with its latest Marcus Rashford story?
17/11/2053m 15s

Spread the faith

What hope for the Biden presidency as the Republicans and Trump dig in? Will Boris Johnson announce a no deal Brexit this weekend? What now for a UK US trade deal? Major's two referendums, a unionist Trojan Horse? The silence of the SNP Media Team goes on
10/11/2052m 1s

Hey Joe

The race to become US President Scots furlough fiasco Identity politics SNP conference agenda leak
04/11/2054m 57s

Lesley the Grinch

Cancelled Christmas panic. Marcus Rashford, free school meals, and Tory intransigence. The SNP Rural Stimulus Plan. The Conservatives plan to take on the SNP and "save the union" The US Presidential Election Awards season
27/10/2057m 3s

The in crowd

John Sentamu snub and the House of Lords *That* Andrew Wilson interview in the Sunday Herald A new Tory strategy to stave off Scottish independence? Kate Forbes and Miriam Brett on Question Time The Dub's amendment defeated
20/10/2053m 46s

Wheesht fir indy

Nicola v Alex. The gloves are off Candidate wars in Edinburgh Central Resilient Scotland pledge Douglas Ross. The rebel without a cause. Westminster power grab and Andrew Bowie
13/10/2057m 17s

Hard times

Boris Johnson. Blowing in the wind? The Lib Dems. Blowing with the wind? Nicola Sturgeon.Covid restrictions, what next? Rishi Sunak. PM in waiting? Plus Mossmorran flaring, Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, and Mike Brearley.
06/10/2047m 15s

Nae buts. Nae bens

Is Sweden the best Nordic model for Covid response? Does land ownership reform need to wait for independence? Believe in Scotland .Another talking shop or a the way ahead ? Baron Moore and Paul Dacre. The new media overlords or stalking horses?
29/09/2058m 38s

Follow the leader

A tale of two leaders, two governments and two speeches. We analyse the very different styles, and substance, Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson's announcements on new measures to combat Covid. Keir Starmer relaunches Labour as under new leadership
23/09/2058m 7s

Power plays

The UK Internal Market Bill. Breaking international law and destroying devolution. What was the BBC thinking when it cut back on covering Nicola Sturgeon's Covid briefings? Is it brand Boris v brand Nicola in the "Battle of Britain" and the quest for Scottish independence?
15/09/201h 6m

A chap at the door

The tragic death of Mercy Baguma. The latest twist in the Section 30 People's Action court case. Was Boris Johnson really hounded out of Scotland? More SNP MSPs announce they're retiring. Gerrymandering Indy ref 2. Are the unionists running scared? The Finnish for Rule Britannia?
25/08/2059m 36s

Turn, turn, turn

This week's look at politics from a left/indy perspective That Kirsty Wark Alex Salmond documentary. Holyrood inquiry opens.Leslie Evans gives evidence. Gavin Williamson U turns on English exam results. Latest indy opinion polls boost.
18/08/2058m 34s

Proxy wars?

The Edinburgh Central decision.Did the SNP NEC follow the rules? Is it a really a "proxy war?" Will Douglas Ross and his Boris backing, Brexit positive, anti nat message revive the Scottish Tories? What's with Ruth Davidson taking the ermine? Sealed buildings and Covid. The legacy and lessons of John Hume.
04/08/201h 5m

Gut instincts

Boris Johnson in Orkney,the English media puts the boot in. Where to now for unionism? Tackling obesity, poverty the missing link. Saving Alexander Dennis
28/07/2054m 46s

Wakey Wakey

In this week's look at politics from a left/indy perspective we have a special guest ex Labour MP and MEP Les Huckfield. We give our initial thoughts on the newly released Russia Report. Les gives his insights into the Tory power grab . It's genuinely worse than we think. And we pay tribute to Jack Charlton.

Party Fears.Too many ?

Tories, trust and trade deals. D'Hondt debates. Devolution under threat? Is the grab of state aid the last straw? The Scottish Land Fund.Is reform required? Priti Patel and the points based immigration system.
14/07/2051m 34s

Trust matters

National Trust Scotland controversies. Redundancies and Neil Oliver's resignation. David Starkey's racist interview. Westminster power grabs. Culture wars and Border "warfare"
07/07/2057m 37s

Why not

Boris Johnson's Speed Deal. Nicola Sturgeon and border controls. Why won't Scots wear face coverings? The Green New Deal and post Covid economic recovery Langholm Moor community buy out update
30/06/201h 5m

The Outsiders

This week's look at politics from a left/indy perspective ResilienceReports.Common Weal v Scottish Advisory Group on Economic Recovery? Benny Higgins, the Duke of Buccleuch and the Langholm community buy out. Pete Wishart and Plan B Tenants' voices not heard? Trumps Tulsa travails
23/06/2047m 32s

Twa radiators

Johnson's controversial Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. David Lammy and Anas Sarwar. Free school meals in England and Marcus Rashford. Burns and slavery. Common Weal's Resilient Scotland report. James Joyce and Bloomsday
16/06/201h 8m

Set in stone

In this week's look at politics from a left/indy perspective Toppling Colston's statue Scotland's legacy of slavery The SNP soar in the polls but where's the strategy for indyref2? Labour vows federalism.Again The Church of England and Irish epitaphs
09/06/2056m 40s

Hard evidence

The PM before the Parliamentary Liaison Committee, the decision to abandon the Hybrid Commons procedures, and the easing of lockdown in England. The aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in the USA and the death of Sheku Bayoh in police custody. It's taken until now for the remit of the public inquiry into his death to be announced.Is this good enough? Can a Scots lockdown exit deliver a greener, fairer, economy? The semi dormant SNP rebuttal team
02/06/201h 6m

The lies have it

The Cummings affair. HC One and the care home Covid crisis.the fate of Andy Wightman's amendments. Are Westminster lobby corrsepondents too cosy with politicians? Will the Scottish government use what powers it has to create a better normal post Covid?
26/05/2057m 24s

The New Normal

This week's look at Scottish and UK politics includes. Holyrood debates rent freezes. A test for the SNP government? English Labour local authorities flex muscles over schools reopening but Starmer demurs. Localism , platform cooperatives and the Preston model. E bikes, the future of green transport ?
19/05/2056m 59s

The grand mither tongue

Politics from a Scot's perspective This week. Alistair Heather's ,The Rebel Tongue,and the BBC's ,Our Finest Hours reviewed. Getting back on our bikes Covid contact tracing conflict between Holyrood and Westminster? Does good news for the SNP from the latest polls spell bad news for any new Indy party? Will there be a Rosyth Ro Ro revival?
05/05/2057m 10s

Risky business

This week's take on Scottish politics has definitely got risk at its core. .Were NHS staff put in danger by  UK government negligence over the supply of PPE? Will the Scottish government risk going its own way if the Cabinet insists on ending lockdown prematurely? Can lockdown can be ended without a rigorous , test and vaccination programme? What risk will Alex Salmond's book on his trial pose to Nicola Sturgeon? What impact will Covid 19 have on Scottish independence?
28/04/2052m 3s

Trust never sleeps

As lockdown continues, despite the growing murmurings from some quarters that it should end, the UK Parliament is set to amend its arcane procedures to allow remote working. We ask if the way Westminster works is fit for purpose, and  the very nature of , what passes for, debate and governmental scrutiny, derived from public school and Oxbridge debating societies, has been shown for the sham it is during the crisis. Lesley hones in on trust in the Conservative government,and the sheer hypocrisy of the likes of Jeremy Hunt, in creating a bankrupt and privatised, by stealth,English NHS, while ignoring the alarm bells rung by health and social care professionals during the Tories tenure in power.  The focus is increasingly turning both on an exit strategy and how and what a return to "normality" will look like. Will it be business as usual with turbo charged austerity to pay off the "debt" or will lessons be learned as to how we can create a greener, fairer society? A significant part of any exit strategy will be developing a system to cope with the ongoing fight against Covid 19. I had a look at how South Korea created a robust system of contact tracing and what resources the Scottish government needs to put in place to do this. We also ask if we would be prepared to accept the "invasion" of privacy, South Koreans have taken on board. Lesley was at the centre of a bit of Twitter storm over her retweet of a Robert Peston piece on the use and staffing of the London Nightingale Hospital. She clarifies her position, for those. like George Foulkes, who decided pile in without reading the whole thread.  There's also been a notable upsurge in articles, from journalists, both on the right and left of politics,making the case that the Covid 19 crisis has significantly diminished the case for Scottish independence.We beg to differ. There's, as always,other stuff and nonsense, including a gratuitous advert for Ronseal, and a guest appearance by Harry Styles.
21/04/201h 1m

WHO are you?

As Donald Trump plays the blame game with the World Health Organisation Lesley kicks off this episode trying to get to grips with why certain countries appear to have coped with the Covid 19 crisis substantially better than the UK and the USA. Here's a wee hint contact tracing and testing. We also, yet again, look at the "great leader" syndrome which still blights, not only the UK, but also Scotland. The post crisis UK economy has been all over the news in the past couple of days with focus on the dire predictions of the OBR. Will this be an opportunity to rebalance the economy or Austerity 2? It was a morning for media appearances, Jean Freeman on GMS, Nicola Sturgeon with Lorraine Kelly, and the UK Care Minister, Helen Whately on Good Morning Britain.  Piers Morgan was in attack mode with Whately, was this bullying or his finest hour? The row over accusation, by Head of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill, that PPE was being denied to care homes in Scotland, on the orders of Public Health England, rumbles on. What does this say about the limits of collaboration across the nations of the UK and the trustworthiness of UK ministers? Along the way we also discuss, broken sleep patterns, survivor guilt, nettle soup, and Santa Fe public library.
15/04/201h 3m

Declarations and departures

It's an outside broadcast this week as Lesley takes advantage of the sunny weather to join me from the back step of her cottage. Saturday saw the launch of the Declaration of Arbroath movie made by Lesley and filmmaker Charlie Stuart. This in the deafening silence surrounding the 700th anniversary from national  broadcasters,with the notable exception of Billy Kay's three part series on Radio Scotland. We try and pick apart why this lack of enthusiasm for such a seminal event at all levels of Scottish civil society. We rarely, in fact never, show much sympathy for Boris Johnson but his recent admission to an ICU with Covid 19 made us both reflect on the pernicious nature of the virus and what, if any, impact this experience may have on Johnson and his premiership. Sunday night saw the resignation of Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood in controversial circumstances. Was this a case of, do as I say not as I do,hypocrisy or of a valuable public servant being unjustifiably hounded out of office? Keir Starmer has been elected as Labour Leader and reappointed Ian Murray as Scottish secretary. Jackie Baillie also defeated Matt Kerr to become Scottish Deputy Leader.Is this Labour going backwards to the future? As always there's all the other stuff and nonsense to be going on with as well.
07/04/2053m 3s

Scores and scams

This week saw polls showing almost unprecedented support for incumbent governments across the globe. Lesley tries to explain this phenomenon and speculates on what the lasting effects will be on politics , and most importantly, people power. Has Covid 19 killed its first democracy as the Hungarian Parliament hands over virtually total power to its "strong man" Prime Minister, Viktor Orban? And what response, if any has come from the EU to this further lurch into authoritarianism from,an already dubious, member state? The avalanche of emails I've received from online retailers sent me down a path of finding out just how many of them have been (mis) treating their employees during the Covid crisis. Lesley has words of warning given an attempted email scam,which she spotted,just in time. Lesley has some amazing news, you'll have to listen to the podcast to find out exactly what it is, about her upcoming movie on the Declaration of Arbroath. All I have to say is that it definitely brings more than a touch of Holywood to the production. Both of us have been shying away from the wall to wall virus coverage, and seeking pleasure in books, music, and nature. We reckon you might have been doing a bit of the same. As usual there's lots of other highways and bye ways including an update on my beard,daft Dundee band names, and My Sharona by The Knack.
31/03/2049m 50s

2020 Vision

After the major announcements last night by the Scottish and UK governments extending the emergency measures to combat the spread of Covid 19 there was only one way to begin this week's podcast. Lesley examines the bit by bit approach taken by the UK government and we speculate on whether the very male nature of the Johnson Cabinet has influenced its approach. Lesley focuses in particular on the plight of the over five million folk who are self employed,in the gig economy, or on zero hours contracts. Is the very nature of the British state,since the 1980s, being challenged by the Covid crisis and what can we, collectively learn from it in shaping the post Corona virus country? She also expands on how the lessons learned might be applied to tackling the climate emergency. I put in my tuppence worth, not only on those topics, but chip in on two mythologies, the Blitz spirit so beloved of Brexiteers and the right in general, and the non existence of the,so called,"magic money tree". At any other time the result of the Alex Salmond trial would be the headline across the media. We try and and evaluate the impact of the verdict and what the whole process means to the SNP, Yes movement,  civil service, police, and Crown Prosecution Service. Lesley has been hard at work putting together a film celebrating the 700th anniversary of The Declaration of Arbroath. If you need any lifting of spirits, just listen to this segment, and cheer. Along the way there's also mention of the venality of some employers, my scubby shave, and Agatha Christie novels.
24/03/201h 7m

Keep your distance

We recorded this episode which, quite naturally, focuses on the impact of Covid 19 using Skype, for sound reasons that Lesley outlines . So please bear with us as it was our first time. Covid 19 takes up the vast majority of this week's podcast. Lots of thoughts from both of us on its social and political aspects and its far reaching impact.  However Lesley does touch on her plans to make a documentary on the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. I chip in on fancy soaps, and my social distancing movie watching.
17/03/2044m 17s

Corona and contempt

Lesley,currently freed from her two columns a week,visited Low Moss Prison and was wowed by the experience. We can't escape from Covid-19 and we look at the coverage it's receiving.I'm less than complimentary about Newsnight but far more impressed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Not only does Lesley, surprisingly spring to Newsnight's defence, but also, as per usual, brings another perspective to the crisis. Monday saw the opening of the Alex Salmond trial but before it got underway The Herald published a controversial Neil MacKay article. I couldn't let this pass without comment but luckily you're saved from a full scale lecture on the law of contempt by a timely Lesley intervention. Ruth Davidson's appearance, for free this time, on GMS commenting on work/life balance for politicians turned out to be a bit of a puff piece with her laughing off two pertinent questions on her own behaviour. However it provides another opportunity for Lesley to examine working practices across UK and Scottish politics and contrast them with Sweden. As well as all this there's the continuing scandal of broadband( lack of) coverage, Scottish rugby success, handwashing in gents lavatories, and WB Yeats.
10/03/2057m 23s

In plain sight

Lesley's back and so is the podcast. Estonia regained its independence in 1991 and Lesley went there to make another in her series of groundbreaking films exploring our Nordic neighbours. She reports back on what she found and makes a surprising revelation. Lesley was struck by the lack of bureaucracy in Estonia and how connected the citizens are. I, on the other hand, reflect on the death of Prince Fosu at an Immigration Removal Centre in 2012 and what it says about our society. Priti Patel is, once again, in the headlines, this time for accusations  of bullying. We pass no comment on these recent allegations but look back to 2017 and her resignation from her post as International Development Secretary of State.However we do question whether there can be a fair process given the statements by Johnson and Gove. There have been half a dozen notifications by notable SNP MSPs that they will not be standing in 2021. I try and dispel any sinister inferences but Lesley wonders if the resignation of Gail Ross tells us something significant about how outdated even Holyrood is as an institution. Along the way we preview Super Tuesday in the States, Ruth Davidson's fee, and I shoehorn football into the chat on Estonia.
03/03/2040m 49s

Gaming the system

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.
18/02/2046m 20s

That's hut

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.
11/02/2047m 2s

One step beyond

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.
04/02/201h 1m

A European Commission

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.
28/01/201h 1m

The Brit is back

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....
20/01/2051m 58s

Guests of the nation

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.
13/01/2052m 49s

Not a game

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.
07/01/2055m 15s

Parts of the union

It's the last podcast of 2019 and the new Westminster Parliament reconvenes with Boris Johnson's election pledge to "Get Brexit done"still ringing in our ears. And we begin with discussing Johnson's latest moves on the EU Withdrawal Bill and what attitude the EU might take to the prospect of an independent Scotland. Lesley asks what impact an unequivocal welcome from someone so outspoken as Michel Barnier might have. Just when you think you've heard all you can take of EU jargon,I chip in on "Level playing fields" and "Dynamic alignment". Civil war on several fronts has broken out in the Labour Party, north and south of the border. Can Labour find a place in the completely reshaped Scottish political landscape? Can it survive as a single, unitary party?   But it's not just Labour how have to react to the SNP's stunning electoral victory.Nicola Sturgeon's anti Tory, progressive alliance throws the gauntlet down to not only Labour but the Lib Dems. As for the Tories they too will have to decide just how Scottish they are. We also look back on the highs and lows of 2019 and Lesley breaks some fantastic news on a brilliant new film project.
17/12/1940m 59s

Up until Swinson

It's the afternoon after the late night before and Lesley and I try to make sense of the results of the General Election. Lesley,unashamedly, starts by looking at the tremendous showing by the SNP, and, in so doing,gives me the telling off I deserve. The rest of the podcast is taken up with attempting to explain just what happened and examining the impact of the election on all of the main parties across the UK. Naturally we also focus on what it all means for the  Scottish independence campaign. I'll let you judge how successful we are, given our late, late night, and very early morning.
13/12/1948m 41s

A matter of trust

It's two days until polling and we kick off with trying to work our way through yesterday's big stories around gaffes,punches, and gaming the media. However we move on to go behind the headlines and question if this focus is obscuring the real issues, and if the resulting loss of public trust in the BBC and other institutions is fuelling the apparent drift towards the Tories in England. Lesley was up in Cromarty where she spoke with Jon Snow of Channel 4. The London media seem to think that the next big story is Scottish independence. But Lesley asks what if the Tories win on Thursday, where can we go if Westminster says no to indyref2? Some surprising voices, including us, are saying that non violent civil disobedience would be justified. We've championed Emma Barnett of the BBC but did she "jump the shark" on the BBC QT under 30s debate with her "nationalised sausages", and last minute "7% deficit" questions to Angela Rayner and Humza Yousaf? Nicola Sturgeon has continually been grilled on the Scottish government's record during the campaign.Boris Johnson has tried to paint himself as an outsider hamstrung by a "Remoaner" Parliament. Lesley wonders who he'll blame if/when he wins on Thursday with an entirely Brexiteer set of Tory MPs. I chip in on how can this new, reactionary Conservative Party,  keep its northern English, working class base onside.
10/12/1948m 13s

We gotta get out of this place

Lesley took a few days out in Rotterdam to recharge her batteries at a Sibelius concert. She also attended a service at the Scots Presbyterian Church. Though not a practising Christian, she didn't realise how much spiritual sustenance she needed. She also spent time with former Labour minister,Les Huckfield, who's now campaigning vigorously for Pete Wishart. These two, seemingly, contrasting but actually complementary experiences take up the first part of this week's podcast.  As the polls still, despite recent shifts, show the likelihood of a Tory majority government we ask, yet again, what next for the independence movement in that scenario. Jackson Carlaw appeared on the Call Kaye Show yesterday, and my spirits, which definitely needed raising, were lifted by the incredible "Mo from Glasgow". I have a wee pet theory about the impact of Nicola Sturgeon's performances on TV and I try it out on Lesley. The Brexit Party were campaigning in Dundee last Saturday, and Lesley manages to make something quite noble and rational from my less than diplomatic reaction to them. It's PISA time,again,  and once again  Scottish education comes under scrutiny for our standings in the league table.Lesley looks at the outstanding Estonian system, and I question not only PISA itself but the validity of its results and methods. There's all the usual highways and byways plus a plug for the Oor Wullie musical at Dundee Rep.
03/12/1948m 2s

On the QT

As Boris Johnson flew up to Scotland to launch the Scottish Tory manifesto has the SNP pulled off a master stroke by announcing its ground breaking, in UK terms, extension of paternity leave? Labour has also been forcing the issue on WASPI women but is it too late to the party and can it be trusted on matters of equality given the record of Labour controlled Glasgow City Council? It's been a busy old week for the party leaders facing both the public and political commentators. We focus on last night's Andrew Neil interview with Nicola Sturgeon and that Question Time leaders' special. This takes us quite naturally into Dr Philippa Whitford's QT appearance  in Bolton and Lesley turning down an opportunity to appear on a national current affairs panel in London. Richard Leonard was on the Call Kaye Show yesterday and got a grilling on the,apparent, rift between Scottish and UK Labour on nuclear disarmament. He also laid out Labour's 2021 date for a potential indyref2 but does its 50% of the electorate voting Yes show that its running scared? The Orthodox Chief Rabbi of the UK stepped firmly into the political arena today with his pronouncements on the fitness of Jeremy Corbyn to be PM. This followed closely on the Pope's statement on nuclear weapons and the Scottish Catholic bishops' letter to parishioners on matters they should consider when casting their votes. Just how involved should religious leaders become in politics? Along the way we also discuss, Oor Wullie,Sibelius, the incredible disappearing Jacob Rees-Mogg, and the power of song.
26/11/191h 5m

No Compare

As the General Election campaigns pick up pace we take a,somewhat sceptical, look at how Labour's policies are being ignored,particularly on the BBC, in favour of highlighting party in fighting. Lesley focuses on Labour's plan for public sector broadband and wonders if it could be a game changer. Inevitably this leads us on to the electoral debates, not just the exclusion of all parties other than Labour and the Tories, but ITN's stance if they'd lost court case taken out by the SNP and Lib Dems . In case you think we've gone soft we do get stuck into Corbyn and Scottish Labour's 1979 " SNP ushering in Thatcher" claims. Unfortunately we can't escape that Prince Andrew interview and we have our say on the sorry,sordid affair. Lesley is once again in demand for informed commentary on BBC Scotland's "Campaign". But only if she's willing to howk her way through to Pacific Quay when there's a studio just across the Tay,in Dundee. She wonders if this symptomatic of the BBC's exclusion of the diverse voices of Scotland. Along the way we also discuss the National Lottery, spam, and Catholic rap.
19/11/1953m 26s

Freedom come all ye

After some merry badinage regarding Jo Swinson's strangled vowels and ever shifting accent, we get down to serious business. The BBC has come under fire over Wreathgate, we discuss just what might have happened and the "robust" defence of the BBC position by Rob Burley. Lesley wonders if you can get away with anything, if your accent is posh enough. Coverage of this debacle seemed to have crowded out the non publication of the report on Russian interference in UK politics.That is until Hillary Clinton's intervention this morning.And if anyone should know about Russian interference in the democratic process, it's Hillary. Electoral pacts, standing aside, and tactical voting have grabbed election headlines this week and we examine the implications of all three across both Scotland and England.Lesley also takes the opportunity to criticise not only our archaic First Past the Post voting system but also Holyrood's version of PR. The latest Spanish elections saw the Socialists emerge as the largest party but with no overall majority. But this second election in just seven months has seen the emergence of Vox, an avowed fascist party, as the third largest in the Spanish lower house. It was the centenary of the birth of the great Hamish Henderson on Sunday and,as I try and give some sense of his importance as poet, folklorist, and radical intellectual,Lesley shares some very personal memories.
12/11/191h 3m


A European Arrest Warrant for Clara Ponsati,on charges of sedition, was issued by Spain just before we recorded today's podcast.We give our initial reactions to the shocking news. Lesley was at the National's Yes rally in George Square last Saturday and she reveals who she thought was the most impressive speaker. The BBC has responded to criticism of its coverage, to be honest we're sceptical, to say the least, to its reply. This leads, neatly I reckon, to the exclusion of the SNP from the televised election debates. Lesley has some interesting thoughts, not just on this, but the whole framing of political debate on our screens. The Scottish Greens have decided to field at least 20 candidates in the General Election. I question why, and consider what impact this might have on marginal,SNP held, constituencies. We compare and contrast this with Sinn Fein's decision not to stand in three Northern Irish seats and electoral pacts in England and Wales. Our last "big bit" is on Lesley's analysis of Boris Johnson's attempts to position himself as a "One Nation Tory" .Will it work in Leave voting traditional Labour areas? Along the way we also look at Jacob Rees Mogg's statements on Grenfell, and the government cover up on Russian interference in UK politics.
05/11/1951m 7s

Election Fever

Well chums a week was definitely a long time in politics because after yesterday's votes at Westminster we're now heading for a general election on December the 12th. We try and examine the myriad of permutations over voting intentions and party stances and wonder if the real issues such as climate change and austerity will break through the dominant narrative of Brexit. We also turn our attention to the prospect of indyref2 and the need for Yessers to rally round the SNP electoral machine, putting aside our differences, over the course of the election campaign. I chip in on the harsh realities behind the sloganeering of the Tories on leaving the EU as shown by the exposure of trade talks between the UK and the USA and the shelving of workers' rights and environmental standards in the Johnson deal. Lesley attended ,and spoke at, the Radical Independence Campaign meeting in Glasgow last Saturday and came away enthused at the energy and collegiate enthusiasm of the folk who were there. The first inquiry report into the Grenfell Tower fire has now been released and it focuses blame on the London Fire Brigade. Boris Johnson claims that the survivors will now know the truth behind the tragedy.Is this yet another establishment cover up? Along the way we also discuss, amongst other things, Jo Swinson's wandering vowels , but not Dundee United's win v Partick Thistle last night.
30/10/1959m 10s

The Twilight Zone

This was yet another in the long list of "the most important days yet" in the Brexit saga. Both Lesley and I spent the vast majority of the day following the blethering skites in Westminster waiting for the two votes at 7 and 7.30 tonight. The government won the first to secure the second reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill, but lost the second on the truncated timetable for scrutiny and amendment. We try and work out what it all means, we'll let you judge just how successful we are. Thousands of women who were awarded pay outs after winning their equal pay case v Glasgow City Council were stunned to discover that legal fees had been removed despite promises from their unions. Lesley examines the history of the case and the ongoing fight the women are putting up for justice. Finally we focus on the violent clamp down on Catalonian protestors, the plight of their imprisoned leaders, and the brutal slaughter of Kurds on the Turkey/Syria border. We ask, why the international complicity in and media silence on both these appalling situations.
22/10/1957m 3s

Keep it zipped

While I was away sunning myself in Madeira Lesley was attending the SNP annual conference in Aberdeen where she may have mentioned setting up a new political party. Lesley gives the background to this and vents her frustrations at the SNP's timidity in tackling burning issues of domestic policy. The struggle of  Staffin Community Trust (SCT)  to pay for six new family homes, a medical clinic and business units on Skye to try and secure the future of its community throws this lack of ambition into sharp relief. We're all on tenterhooks waiting for the big vote on Brexit on "Super Saturday". Once again we try and pick our way through the minutiae of this latest deal and figure out the political permutations and ramifications.Lesley indulges in some, well deserved, "Eh telt yis". BBC Scotland seems to be on a run of outstanding documentaries on Scotland's social history. The latest of these is on the Timex strike in Dundee. It's a subject close to my heart and hurt and pride still runs deep in the city 26 years later. Along the way there's also, praise for Dr Philippa Whitford's appearance on Question Time, my pre university job adventures, and Dundee United losing to St Johnstone in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final.
18/10/1957m 5s

It is hard to keep up

Paddy is on holiday and it hasn't been a quiet week. Between Brexit, Rory the Tory, Joanna Cherry, the EU extending, Land and Housing on Skye, a brief detour into Facebook and smacking bans; it has been hard to keep up with the flood of new developments. Recorded early on Friday morning after Rory's resignation and in the hour before he announced his mayoral ambitions; there was the proof. It is hard to keep up. However, Lesley invited an old voice back into the pod to try and make sense. And hopefully, it did. Also worth pointing out, Lesley is going to be out on the road, talking to the audiences at a number of gigs. Details are all given in the pod.
04/10/191h 12m

11 nil

The Supreme court's unanimous decision to declare Boris Johnson's prorogation of Parliament not only unlawful but null and void takes up the majority of this week's podcast. We consider the central role of the "Scottish case", brought by Joanna Cherry QC MP and others in this momentous ruling. We also try and predict, you can be the judge of how successfully in the next few days, what ramifications it will have for Johnson's future, a General Election, and Scottish independence. Great Thunberg made an impassioned  speech to the UN this week on the climate emergency. Lesley reflects on the burden that this young woman seems to be bearing for the whole of the planet and asks are we as individuals,and governments, including the Scottish,talking the talk but not doing the walk. We both chip in on two very emotional experiences this past weekend. Lesley at the Lismore book festival where Mairi Campbell ,a pioneering musician gave a remarkable concert that pushed the boundaries of Scottish traditional music. Me, rather more mundanely, at Tannadice with Lawrence Shankland's two late goals.
24/09/1945m 56s

Heroes and villains

On the morning that the Supreme Court convened to hear the appeals on the Joanna Cherry and Gina Miller cases Lesley reminds us that climate change is still the big issue. However we can't resist the siren call of prorogation and the constitutional crisis for long and we do discuss the Supreme Court hearings. Be warned, in depth. It's the Lib Dem conference, the first party conference of the season, in Bournemouth and we try to get our heads round their electoral strategies and targeting of the electorate. Neither of us shy away from highlighting either Jo Swinson's record in government nor the Lib Dem hypocrisy on another Scottish referendum on independence. Lesley attended a terrific Business for Scotland event and previews the launch of its exciting pro indy materials.  We ,yet again, wonder, in the light of the failure of Angus Brendan MacNeil and Christopher McEleny's Plan B motion to be heard at the SNP annual conference when will the SNP make independence the main plank of their General Election platform. Finally,as Dundee V&A celebrates its first birthday we reflect on "Dundee's living room".
17/09/1950m 39s

Up until Black Rod

In,yet another in the series of,most momentous weeks for the UK Parliament we inevitably begin with last night's events at Westminster. Lesley,wisely,was in her bed as they unfolded.Daft lad here could not resist the siren call of "Division" from Speaker,John Bercow. As per usual we try and make sense of it all and consider the now inevitable General Election from both a UK and Scottish perspective. Perth was the venue for the latest AUOB march and Lesley was there. The BBC,however,most definitely wasn't. Lesley questions why they were absent and looks forward to October's mass rally in Edinburgh. Theresa May announced her Honours list earlier today. I have my say on Geoffrey Boycott's knighthood. And, no surprise, there's lots of other incidental, but no less important meanderings, including why you should never buy sliced bread on a dark rainy night.
10/09/1955m 39s

Late night sitting

On a day which began with Nicola Sturgeon presenting the Programme for Government with the climate emergency and indyref2 at its core and ended with senior Tories like Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond being expelled from the Tory Party, Lesley and I try to make sense of it all. We recorded the podcast just after the momentous vote ,lost by Boris Johnson, which meant that MPs took control of Parliamentary business to try and rule out a No Deal Brexit. The result of which lead to the PM confirming his intention to call a general election if MPs block No Deal. And, as always, we examine the events through the prism of their impact on the campaign for Scottish independence.
03/09/1952m 57s

Love it to death

After an opening salvo on the perils and dubious pleasures of digital technology and assembling hose systems (trust me it's more interesting than it sounds) we move on to discuss the modern phenomenon of so-called dirty camping. A symptom of our disposable culture or something more? As Corbyn gets ready to meet the leaders of the other opposition parties I reckon this is all just positioning for a snap General Election. Lesley disagrees. It's the Shetland by election on Thursday. Are the Lib Dems running scared of the SNP's Tom Wills and is there an upset on the cards? Nicola Sturgeon seems to think so, and she and other SNP big guns have been campaigning hard up there. The FM ran into criticism for being "away from the mainland" when the GERS figures were announced. We question the obsession, on all sides of the independence divide, with this annual event. As per usual there's lots of other stuff plus, with Lesley's approval, I get to talk about cricket.
27/08/1956m 55s

Them not you

We spend the first part of this week's podcast on the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. You'll find out what Lesley liked,why I don't go,very often,and the part it plays in Scotland's culture,for good or ill. Fans of the Tattoo should probably look away now. Iain Duncan Smith, he of welfare reforms and Universal Credit fame, announced the Centre for Social Justice's plans to hike the state pension age to 75. I take a wee peek behind the statistics on UK life expectancy and it's not very pleasant. The Herald and Sunday Herald have been punting major stories of Community buy out "failure" and the "success" of HIE in reversing depopulation. Lesley wonders just their agenda is ,and what exactly is this success. The Electoral Commission is planning to examine the question ,this apparently taking 12 weeks,to be put in any future Scottish independence referendum ,much to the delight of Murdo Fraser. We question the question. There's,as always,other stuff including bizarre encounters with Gordon Brown,and my love of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads.
20/08/1957m 26s

The Arrangement

There has been a slew of articles by journalists and commentators down south supporting Scottish independence. Lesley tries, and succeeds, to tease out just what's going on. Gordon Brown, in stark contrast, remerged to issue dire warnings about "disruptive and divisive nationalism". We question what, if any, relevance the ex PM’s intervention has in the current political climate. Wings over Scotland has announced his intention, under specific circumstances, to launch a new pro Indy party to stand for list seats in the next Holyrood election. This prompts a discussion not only on why, but also the best way to "game" the Additional Member voting system to ensure a pro-independence parliamentary majority. It's the "glorious 12th", the start of the grouse shooting season. Labour has announced plans to consider banning the practice and the Revive Coalition is running a vigorous campaign to eliminate it in Scotland. Lesley considers what the defence of the industry says about aspects of the Scottish psyche. Along the way we also look at the current in-fighting between Scottish and UK Labour, and within Scottish Labour itself, and certain folk win their bet on hockey rearing its head.
12/08/1951m 30s

It's good to be back

We return after a three week hiatus as a survey by pollster Lord Ashcroft put backing for Scottish independence at 46 per cent, with 43 per cent against. Support for independence rose to 52 per cent, with 48 per cent against, when those who said they did not know how they would vote or said they would not vote were removed. Lesley considers the significance of this reverse Boris bounce and just where this leaves not only the Yes movement but the SNP leadership. Ruth Davidson's popularity among English Conservatives has plummeted. We ask what kind of future she and the Scottish Tories face with Johnson as PM and party leader. It's just over two years since the Grenfell Tower fire and after my recent stay in London I examine what, if anything, has changed in Kensington and Chelsea. Along the way we discuss the appointment of Alister Jack as Scottish Secretary, Liz Truss's meeting with right wing US  "think tanks", and the potential for a snap ,pre Brexit, General Election. There might be a wee mention of Dundee United in there as well.
05/08/1950m 11s

Boiling frogs

Lesley found herself at the centre of a Twitter pile on when she raised how cold the working conditions were for staff at her local Tesco store. She discovered there was a lot more to it than face value when she responded to the criticism, not only in terms of the treatment of workers but the climate emergency. SEPA has also come in for some stick this week for its use of short haul air flights to the Scottish islands. Again, Lesley probes beneath the presenting issue to examine the potential for technological solutions and the underlying problem of our top down, centralised systems. Sticking with climate, Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defence & Candidate for President of the European Commission, has promised a Green Deal in order to secure left votes for her candidacy. In the same speech she also reiterated the EU's complete support for the Irish backstop. This in stark contrast to the latest utterances form both Johnson and Hunt, who have both declared the backstop "dead". The two Tory leadership contenders did condemn the latest tweets from Donald Trump telling the four Democratic members of the House of Representatives to go back to the countries they came from but refused to label the comments as racist. As Trump doubled down on his attacks last night, just what does this say about the current state of the USA and the UK. The latest set of drug death figures for Scotland are about to be released and they're expected to show yet another horrific rise. Just what can the Scottish Government do, given that drugs policy is a reserved matter? There's also a wee bit of chat on the importance of sporting events being free to air, my cricket listening habits, and our obsession with turning off taps.
16/07/1946m 42s

Game Changers

The Women’s World Cup in France was an unprecedented success in terms of media coverage and popular interest but Lesley questions just what the legacy, if any, will be for the women’s game in Scotland. Lesley was one of the distinguished panel, which sat in Edinburgh, courtesy of the Electoral Reform Society, to answer questions from the press and public on the potential role of Citizens Assemblies in determining Scotland’s democratic future. How did it go? Today sees the introduction of the clunkily named Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill in Westminster. The absence of the Northern Ireland assembly has provided the opportunity for two Labour MPs, Conor McGinn and Stella Creasey, to introduce amendments to bring the province into line with GB legislation on same sex marriage and abortion. We consider what position SNP MPs should take on these devolved matters.
09/07/1957m 38s

Not my circus

Lesley’s just back from the Community Land Scotland conference at Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye where the rural housing crisis, facing young people in particular, was the key topic. Lesley questions whether the Scottish government is doing enough to tackle the desperate situation particularly, in the light of its opposition to the Andy Wightman amendments to the Planning Bill. We just can’t escape from Brexit and I have a wee look at the UK government’s proposed replacement for the EU structural funds which will be administered, not from Edinburgh, but London. This takes us, surprisingly, into a more complex area of “power grabs” than you might imagine, and wondering when, and if, the Scottish Greens can emulate the campaigning success of their European sister parties. By way of the Northern Powerhouse and City deals, it all made sense as we went along, we finish up discussing the great article by Fintan O’Toole on the potential of Scotland to be a new kind of state. And we just couldn’t let the Tory Party leadership election go unmentioned, try as hard as we might.
25/06/1942m 50s

The Con men

It's the morning after the night before and, as we promised, we try and dissect the Tory party leadership debate on BBC 1. We focus, not just on the performances of the candidates, but the format and the poison chalice of chairing handed to Emily Maitliss. The latest YouGov poll revealed that Tory party members were quite willing to see the breakup of their precious union, damage to the economy, and the destruction of their party rather than fail to achieve Brexit. Lesley tries to figure out what this means to the Conservative and Unionist Party and where it leaves Ruth Davidson. The questions, chair, and format of Scotland's first Citizens Assembly has been announced.  Is this a welcome development or a missed opportunity for a genuinely radical first step towards independence? Planning isn't a headline grabbing topic, just ask Lesley who's trying to get an article commissioned by any Scottish newspaper, but stage 3 of The Planning Bill (Scotland) is currently making its way through Holyrood. What does the reaction of the Scottish government to the raft of amendments say about its relationship with the Scottish business establishment? We end with some reflections on the Scottish women's final group game in the World Cup, and I chip in on the fairy tale story of the Afghan cricket team.
19/06/1957m 11s

The Selectorate

We kick off this week’s podcast with the unavoidable bunfight that is the race for the Tory party leadership (I defy you to name the 10th contender without Googling him). Lesley focuses on the broadcast media’s coverage of what is an entirely internal Conservative party issue but one with major implications for the wider public. Almost seamlessly we switch to examining Ruth Davidson’s support for Sajid Javid, has she backed the wrong candidate given Boris Johnson’s early lead amongst Conservative MPs and what will the impact be on the Scottish branch if he’s elected? We also touch on Richard Leonard’s recent announcement of Scottish Labour’s u turn on a second EU referendum where they’d argue for Remain. My tweet on the birthday honours list certainly got Twitter excited and as Lesley lets us know, in no uncertain terms, her views, I consider why the actions of our” heroes” resonate so strongly with some of us. Last week’s section on Mondragon and cooperatives led to some great feedback and after that I decided to look into what was happening in Scotland in a wee bit more depth with some surprising results. Lesley visited the fantastic Shieling Project, an off-grid learning centre in Glen Strathfarrar.  The project is all about outdoor living and the tradition of the shieling where folk lived outdoors all summer herding the cattle. Naturally we couldn’t ignore the Scotland Women’s World Cup campaign and Lesley returns to its coverage across the media.
11/06/1946m 0s

Powers and levers

Lesley has just submitted her, nine years in the making, PhD thesis on the Norwegian and Scottish hutting movements. She reflects on what these two very different experiences can tell us about the economics of power lying beneath the surface of UK democracy. This leads us, neatly I reckon, into the Preston Model of local economic democracy and the story of the Mondragon Cooperative. Trump has landed in London for his state visit. Just what can the coverage of the event by both the British and US media tell us about our democracies in the "post-truth" era.  Sir Ed Davey and Jo Swinson are the two candidates to replace Vince Cable of the resurgent, in England anyway Dems. Lesley wonders, once Brexit is stripped away, just how progressive is the party of the austerity coalition. We finish with a shameless plug for the new movie about Elton John, Rocketman, not too many spoilers, and congratulations to Liverpool on winning the Champions League. There’re the usual meanderings along the way plus Tory leadership hopeful gaffes.
04/06/1955m 15s


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
28/05/1959m 22s

Milkshakes and martyrdom

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.
21/05/1952m 4s

Democratic deficits

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.
15/05/1954m 28s

March to the beat of a different drum

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.
10/05/191h 1m

Civil Disobedience

Lesley made her first appearance on BBC Scotland's Debate Night last Sunday and she wonders if, in trying not to be the bear pit of Question Time, it has become too staid. This leads us neatly, well in my mind anyway, into Nicola Sturgeon's declaration, at the SNP Party Conference, of a Climate Emergency. We try and pick apart the implications of this and the possible motivations behind it. Lesley was at the Conference and tries to give a flavour of the atmosphere, and in particular the major debate on the Growth Commission Report. Despite the big guns being wheeled out to support the Commission's position on an independent currency Dr Timothy Rideout's Amendment D was passed. Was this a defeat for the Commission's 6 tests or not? In a week which saw Ofcom censure Andrew Neil, the return of Ruth Davidson, and David Lidington venturing north of the border, I question, not for the first time, the professionalism of BBC journalists. Lesley continues the theme in the light of the reporting of the Spanish election results. Finally, Lesley pays tribute to the late Dennis Macleod of Helmsdale who died this week. A truly remarkable man.
30/04/1950m 34s


Lesley was in Catalonia last week for the Books and Roses Festival. What she found there was so important that we thought we'd create a wee Aftermath special. So, here it is.
26/04/1924m 0s

Game on?

It's an extra-long (time for two sets of ironing) podcast this week and we spend most of it discussing Nicola Sturgeon's statement on Indyref2 in Holyrood this Wednesday. While we look at the reaction to it from across the political spectrum Lesley focuses on the questions arising from the broader Yes movement. In particular how can a narrative be created which moves the debate away from aridity to positivity and the role of a Citizens' Assembly. Scotland in Union published a poll which the right-wing press claimed as a "bombshell blow" to the SNP. Lesley drills down into the actual figures to reach a somewhat different conclusion. I pitch in on the European Parliamentary elections and the latest Survation Westminster voting intentions statistics. This week saw the loss of Billy McNeil, and Lyra McKee and we reflect on what we can learn from their life and death. Along the way we both regret our early morning BBC radio listening and get quite irate about pronunciation.
26/04/191h 1m

Polls and Taxes

Lesley went to a fringe meeting at the STUC annual conference on local government finance reform and we kick off this week's podcast with this. And if you thought I was an anorak on the D'Hondt Formula...... Seriously, Lesley goes on to explore the nature of local democracy in the light of recent revelations regarding the English local elections. We've been promising to focus on climate change for weeks and the recent appearance of George Monbiot on Frankie Boyle's New World Order, plus tonight's David Attenborough documentary on BBC, provide the opportunity. Like death and taxes, we can't escape Brexit and with the recent polls showing Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the lead across the UK we discuss this, and the ever "interesting" political positions of George Galloway. Along the way there's more than a mention of Dundee United, that defamation case, and the gabbiness of Lawside Academy FPs
18/04/1949m 24s

Decades of Deference

It was the Scottish Greens' party conference last weekend and we spend a fair amount of time looking at Tommy Sheppard's suggestion that some form of electoral pact be reached between them and the SNP in the 2021 Holyrood elections. How far should the Greens, their supporters, and other nonaligned "Yessers", subsume their values within an SNP dominated drive for independence? This leads us on to the, seemingly inevitable, European Parliamentary elections. Lesley believes that we are crying out for a move beyond simplistic sloganeering during the campaign and that real, detailed exposition of key ideas, in particular freedom of movement, is required. I ask what hope might there be of a united, progressive, electoral Yes front. The recent Hansard Society report has shown a majority of those surveyed would favour a strong leader willing to break the rules in order to get things done. Lesley reflects on this, not merely on a UK/Brexit basis, but in terms of Scottish independence. As promised last week I try my darndest to unravel the complexities of the #weareirish controversy. We also manage to shoehorn in Damascene conversions, SNP bungs, and Scotland beating Brazil at football.
09/04/1947m 34s

Part of the Union

Yet again it's another morning after the Westminster night before and Lesley and I attempt to unpick the Gordian knot of indicative votes on Brexit. I won't try and unravel what we cover in this episode in detail but we range across who voted for what; the arcane and archaic House of Commons voting procedures; whether the SNP MPs should simply up sticks and come home; and as usual what all this means for Scottish independence. You also find out why I was angry and Lesley wasn't, plus an update on meh beein aff on the seek. Enjoy
02/04/1949m 46s

Who are the grown ups?

The astonishing twists and turns of the events of the past couple of days over Brexit fill this week's entire episode . Rather than my usual set of meanderings here I'll let you listen to the podcast as we don't half cover a whole lot of ground. Our conclusions? Well, our final duet statement, is genuinely where we're at today,Thursday. Wha kens whaur we'll be the morn!
21/03/1948m 39s


As is so often in our podcasts Lesley has just returned from one of the Nordics. This time it's Iceland where she was attending a three-day (well it was three days for most delegates Ms Riddoch) conference on how they solved the substance abuse and anti-social behaviour epidemic among its young people. Lesley discovered what we might learn from the Icelandic experience and some surprising, and heartening, facts about Scotland, particularly in the ongoing soul searching over knife crime in England. I say my piece on the tragic death of Shamima Begum’s wee boy Jarrah in a Syrian refugee camp and the moral responsibility of the UK government. Was he merely a piece in the ongoing power struggle in the Tory Party? This is the week of the three votes on Brexit and we focus specifically on the SNP amendment to tomorrow’s(currently) meaningful vote asking for the power to hold an independence referendum if the UK leaves the EU. If it fails, as inevitably it will, where does this leave the SNP's leadership in terms of Indyref2? Friday was International Women's Day and we manage to link the release of Captain Marvel, the 5000 women of the Kurdish YPJ brigade, and strike action by the Icelandic Efling union. Finally, it was Scottish Labour's annual conference in Dundee over the weekend. Once again the promise of federalism was waved tantalisingly to Scotland. We both have our opinions on that. Again.
11/03/1958m 31s

To be wanted

After I begin by giving far too detailed an explanation of why we're now podcasting on Mondays, Lesley gets stuck into what looks like a bidding war between the EU and EFTA for a post-independence Scotland. She also considers, what appears to be, growing indications of the launch of Indyref2 and asks will any Tory PM agree to a Section 30 order and just who will decide who gets to vote, and the question on the ballot paper. In the light of Richard Leonard's car crash interview on Sunday Politics Scotland we also examine what difference a Corbyn government dependent on SNP support might make.  I chip in on the recent announcement by the SNP of a change in currency policy and we ask just how radical will that change be, and what can we learn from both Bernie Sanders and the Swedish Social Democrats of the 1950s? Recent statistics from England and Wales show a steep decline in the study of foreign languages at GCSE and A level in both those countries. Lesley explores what deep rooted reasons might be behind this worrying trend, the differences in Scotland, and can we afford to be complacent.  All the above plus David Mundell's limited grasp of reality, Bill Jack's double-breasted blazer, our post Brexit names and a wee tribute to the late Merv Rolfe.
04/03/1950m 1s

People Power

It was "Hold the front page" time this afternoon as Theresa May made her much trailed statement to the Commons after a fractious Cabinet meeting. We give our initial reactions to her last-minute Brexit manoeuvring. Lesley returned to her alma mater at the end of last week to attend a conference organised by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University on remaking the UK constitution. Lesley and Joanna Cherry turned out to be the only journalist and MP to attend and both returned convinced of the central role of Citizens' Assemblies in shaping not only the independence campaign but a future Scottish constitution. Professor Stephanie Kelton, an economic adviser to Bernie Sanders, has just joined the Scottish Modern Monetary Group, a collection of pro-independence economists. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)may seem dry and academic but, trust me chums, could be the key to a post UK, green, Scottish economy and answer all those pesky currency questions. Sunday saw the launch of BBC Scotland, and Monday the premiere of The Nine, the long awaited, hour long, flagship news programme for the new station. Lesley and I give our candid, but considered, opinions and what we've seen, so far.
26/02/1953m 31s

The Secret 7

There's only one place to begin this week and it's the, less than, surprise resignation of seven Labour MPs to form TIG-The Independent Group. Lesley and I try to get our heads round why now, what for, and what next for this disparate group. This speculation, inevitably for us, leads us down several highways and bye ways including proportional representation, and the founding of the Scottish Labour Party in 1888. Just when you thought the hoo ha surrounding BBC Question Time had died down the National revealed the editing of Fiona Hyslop's reply to orange jaiket man. We draw on our past experiences in teaching, producing, and presenting to examine the ethics and editorial decisions behind it. The Scottish Tories have been out in force across the streets and on social media fulminating about the Workplace Parking Levy. Lesley not only ripostes their arguments against it but widens the discussion to reflect on the nature of our relationships with private and public transport. Finally, it's hats aff tae the inestimable Jim Spence new rector of Dundee University and Arab of good standing. Laborare et orare James.
19/02/1946m 29s

The road from the isles

Lesley's just back from a wee tour of the Western Isles and looks back on the perils, and pleasures, of travel around the Outer Hebrides. The pleasure mainly being her discovery of the joys of the electric bike. She also reflects on the crofting and housing crisis facing the islanders and the enduring legacy of Canon Angus MacQueen. It may seem a long way from Lewis to the USA but Donald Trump is rarely quiet about his island heritage. I was appalled by his recent tweets on Elizabeth Warren's declaration of intent to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and consider just how deep and tragic these links are. As the BBC prepares itself for the launch of its new BBC Scotland channel, we have to address the Question Time "orange jacket man" story and its significance for the success or failure of the new venture. We also manage to slip in some references to Dundee United, the Killing, and the popularity of Midsomer Murders in Scandinavia.
12/02/191h 6m

The Aftermath

Back in the days of Riddoch Questions we used to sit around post show and record our thoughts about the topics and podcast them as Aftermath. Well...after today's podcast we suddenly found ourselves chatting about the meaning of identities ,specifically our own, and we decided to go back to the future and create our very own Aftermath. We hope you enjoy this wee bonus.
05/02/1921m 28s

True Grit

It's a podcast of two halves today.The news that Celtic Connections has been awarded £100,000 from the Scottish Government's Expo Fund to commission eight new pieces of work for the Grit Orchestra sparks off part one. Part the second moves from music to history  examining the wartime nationalist narrative of Brexiters and wondering if Scotland can awake from this nightmare. There's a wee bit of reflection on Angus Robertson's new Progress Scotland venture and lots of the other usual nonsense.
05/02/1952m 11s

Danes 1 Fox News 0

Lesley interviews Danish MP Dan Joergensen
03/02/1926m 59s

A tale of two parliaments

The Irish backstop is still the hot topic of Brexit debate and Lesley examines the "Let's blame Ireland" narrative which the likes of John Humphrys and Andrew Marr are punting on the BBC. I spent most of Tuesday glued to BBC Parliament trying to follow the series of amendments to the Brexit vote on Theresa May's latest deal. I reflect not only the fate of Ian Blackford's amendment but the disgraceful behaviour of Tory and DUP MPs towards him. We consider, again, the nature of adversarial party politics in the UK and speculate on what, if any, difference a PR system of elections would make. This leads us, neatly, into the Scottish budget, the compromises reached between the SNP and the Scottish Greens to secure agreement in contrast to the refusal of the other three parties to engage with Derek McKay. Lesley hosted Nordic Horizons in Edinburgh earlier this week where the hammer of Fox News, Danish MP Dan Joergensen, was the star turn. As well as all this we pay tribute to Jeremy Hardy, praise Jackson Carlaw and Willie Rennie, and Lesley reckons I might be a hipster.
01/02/1948m 33s

The B word

There's nothing happening with Brexit but there's nothing else we can talk about. Well, Lesley and I hope to prove that wrong and we begin by......talking about Brexit. We reflect on the impasse at Westminster and how the log jam might be broken by the series of amendments placed for next week. It's been a struggle to try and understand why support for a hard Brexit is so popular, particularly in working class areas of Northern England. Lesley's conversations recently at the "Think Anew, Act Anew" Convention in London highlighted the democratic deficit these communities face. Our attention turns back to Scotland, the Green Party and its pivotal role in any future Holyrood elections and any subsequent mandate for Indyref2. The BBC has just published its roster of flagship programmes for the new BBC Scotland channel. Are we impressed? Finally, as the Oscar nominations are announced, it's our version of Film 2019 after visits to the flicks to see The Favourite, and Stan and Ollie. There's controversy over Monty Python, the Goons, and Buster Keaton.
22/01/1953m 35s

A majority of contradictions

It's the morning after the night before and as the light at the end of the Brexit tunnel looks increasingly like the No Deal express thundering down the track we try and make sense of it all. Lesley wonders just where Theresa May can now go to get some sort of parliamentary consensus and is this time for the Commons to step in and create that temporary cross-party coalition. As Nicola Sturgeon flies down to London to meet with Ian Blackford and the SNP MPs we inevitably speculate on where this crisis of the British state takes the campaign for Scottish independence. Along the way we discuss the Northern Irish backstop, Section 30 orders, and compare the Prime Minister to those Weebles who wobble but don't fall down (one for the kids there).
16/01/1944m 30s

Common cause and conventions

We make our first appearance of 2019 and it's our longest edition ever. I leave it you to decide if this is a good thing.... Lesley spent the last week in London and we begin by looking at her appearance on the BBC's Politics Live. I'm giving no secrets away by revealing in advance that she didn't enjoy it. However, in stark contrast to this, Lesley spent Friday speaking and chairing sessions at "Think Anew, Act Anew", an emergency Convention on the need for a second EU referendum. The Convention was designed to draw on new voices from within and outside Parliament, with a focus on fresh thinking, and featured high profile speakers such as Caroline Lucas, Joanna Cherry, James O’Brien, and Fintan O'Toole. The big question is, should the SNP get drawn into this type of cross-party cooperation and possibly lose focus on the prize of Scottish independence? John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, broke with Parliamentary convention earlier this week by allowing an amendment of a government business motion which lead to a defeat for the executive. He was brutally attacked for this "unconstitutional" behaviour in the Tory press. I try and give a wee bit of context. In addition to all this there's chats about Andy Murray, Winston Churchill, Gary Lineker and Gary Mackay-Steven.
12/01/191h 1m

Brexit. Stage left

I had, as is my wont, my wee notebook with a plethora of end of year topics for us to discuss. However, Lesley has just come back from down south where she met up with supporters of Lexit. Folk on the left who are in favour of Brexit, and there are more of them than we up here would think. All this meant that we threw the notebook, metaphorically, oot the windae and let this take us to some quite surprising places. Rather than try and encapsulate this I'll let you embark on the voyage of discovery without a map, much as we did. As this is the last podcast of 2018, we reflect on the year that's gone and the year to come, and I preview this Friday's big fight on Radio 4's Any Questions, featuring oor ain Joanna Cherry v Jacob Rees-Mogg.
17/12/1843m 19s


It will come as no surprise to you that we begin with, and spend most of the podcast on, Brexit. The ECJ's ruling on the "Scottish Case" has suddenly sent the media into a frenzy on something that they've been dismissing as fringe nonsense for the past year. Lesley considers the shining light of cooperation across party lines as Labour, SNP, and Green politicians fought the good fight with the support of Jolyon Maugham QC. Just to prove that there is political life beyond Brexit, the Scottish Budget is due this week. Will Derek MacKay be able to reach an agreement with the Greens on the replacement of the Council Tax to get it through Holyrood? Revive, the campaign to reclaim and rejuvenate Scotland's grouse moors, has produced its "Back to Life" report with stunning findings on the social and economic potential for alternative uses of this "wilderness" land. Lesley's appearance on Sunday Morning with Cathy McDonald was terrific stuff ( Her interview leads both of us to reflect, unashamedly, emotionally, on our land, our heritage, our music, and the influence of our mothers. All of the above plus the usual highways and byways chums.
10/12/181h 3m

What's my line?

It's been a week of touring. Lesley visiting the four corners of Scotland with her film on Norway, and Theresa May punting her Brexit deal to her "precious union". We try and get our heads around just what the PM was trying to achieve with her carefully managed charm offensive. The National, of course, was barred from the Bridge of Weir extravaganza, a genuine own goal as the decision was roundly condemned by journalists of all persuasions. But was this yet another example of Scotland's voice being marginalised over Brexit? Gordon Brown, yes, it's that man again, emerged from the mists of his Fife haven to lambast the Scottish government's handling of the NHS. I, as is my wont, chip in with a few wee reminders of the PFI burden Gordon and his pals have saddled the Scottish public sector with. (Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition). Finally, we consider the recent sightings of Tory politicians at local foodbanks. Here's a hint, we're not best pleased. All the above plus digressions for sightings of windsurfers, payment of window cleaners and memories of 1970s pro-celebrity golf. Prizes, as usual, for spotting the musical allusion in this week's title.
03/12/1843m 0s

Bravery not Bravado

We're back! Yup after a two-week break, during which time nothing politically significant at all has happened, the podcast has returned. Please read that last sentence with a note of irony, of course. As you might be aware our absence was down to my better half's close encounters with the NHS and that's where we begin. Lesley recently went to see Nae Pasaran, the movie about the Scottish workers who defied Pinochet's fascist dictatorship in Chile. What lessons can we draw from this amazing true story for today? We, unashamedly, spend the rest of our time focusing on whether independence is the cause that dare not speak its name amongst the SNP leadership, the role of SNP MPs at Westminster, and the role of Holyrood.  As well as all that, and there's a lot of all that, we muse on tablet, visits to Skye and Belfast, and David Mundell ecdysiast.
26/11/1848m 19s

The Infamous Grouse

Lesley and I were both enthralled by the US midterm elections. I followed them on CNN and she on C4. Still her go to news channel despite the Nicola Sturgeon Brexit debate debacle. The blue surge in the States ushered in a swathe of new, progressive Democrats to the House of Representatives,but has Donald Trump managed, with typical sleight of hand, another master stroke of deflection with his sacking of Jeff Sessions and attack on CNN's Jim Acosta? Lesley's most recent column in the National focused on the report for the Revive Coalition by Dr Ruth Tingay and Andy Wightman on Scotland's driven grouse moors. Lesley asks if there can be a united campaign to rewild and repopulate this barren 20% of Scotland's land, and how radical will the Scottish Government be prepared to be in challenging land owners. Just when Dundee seems to be breaking free of its post-industrial gloom Michelin has announced the closure of its tyre factory with the loss of over 800 jobs. Is it a case of two steps forward, three steps back for the city, or can government, unions, and the workers save the plant? The BBC made the controversial decision to interview Leave. EU’s Arron Banks after his referral to the National Crime Agency. Was this the right decision? And was Andrew Marr the right man? We also take time for personal reflections on loss as we approach the centenary of the Armistice.
08/11/181h 1m

Ghosties,ghoulies and whigmaleeries

Last night was Halloween but there's no trick or treating in this all genuine, all traditional, Scottish podcast. Lesley turns her gimlet gaze on Scotland's less than glorious witch hunting past and explodes some myths. I chip in with a wee bit on the roots of Samhain and memories of the 1950s. We both reflect on what the witch hunts of the 17th century mean to modern Scottish society. Lesley's recent column in the National on the People's Vote, sparked by Pete Wishart's warnings over it, has certainly sparked some debate. She considers not only the importance of the vote itself for the cause of independence but also how the decision by Nicola Sturgeon to support it was apparently taken. The next section on the changing nature of the UK tax system and income inequality is all the fault of Iain McWhirter. As he's done to Lesley so often, he got in first with what I was going to say. So, blame him! Finally, it's hats off to Stuart Cosgrove and the team for bringing C4's new Creative Hub to Glasgow.
01/11/1841m 59s

Equality and elites

You'll be able to get a wheen o' ironing done this week chums as we offer up an extended, hour long, podcast. Westminster takes up the first section with thoughts on Sir Paul Beresford's " I can't understand your accent" nonsense; Ian Blackford's sterling performances at PMQs, and the unsinkable Theresa May's "Christianity". We move on to Nicola's Sturgeon's refusal to take part in the EBU's NewsXchange event after it was confirmed that Steve Bannon would also be attending. The BBC justifying his participation on his leading an "anti -elite" movement. Lesley reflects on this notion of the elite and how Trump and Farage have successfully articulated a reactionary ideology which has tapped into justified grievances. The strike action by Glasgow City Council women workers over the 12-year equal pay scandal, not unsurprisingly, takes up a significant part of the podcast. Lesley and I try to work our way through the competing narratives and reach different conclusions. Before you shout"Fight, fight!", it's all very civilised. This is in stark contrast to my reaction to the news that she's planning on going to see the Queen movie, Bohemian Rhapsody.
25/10/181h 2m

The art of thrawn

Writer Gabriella Bennett has just published her new book, “The Art of Coorie", inviting her readers to "embrace all things Scottish". Lesley and I cast our sceptical, though not cynical eyes, on her interpretation of coorie and Caledonian cool. We stick with the land and the new twists in the fight of tenant farmers Alison and David Telfer of Cleuchfoot farm to stop Buccleuch estates removing them to make way for planting trees. As deadlines on Brexit loom ever nearer the BBC has suddenly shown an interest in what the Irish government's position on the Irish backstop is. Neale Richmond, who Lesley spoke to last week, and Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney have both made impressive appearances in the past couple of days in the face of "interesting" questioning, in particular from John Humphrys. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has turned the spotlight on Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the humanitarian disaster in the Yemen. Will his brutal death prove a turning point in the West's relationship with Saudi Arabia? In addition to all this, Ross Thomson gets telt, twice, Andrew Bridgen gets cut off the knees, and I do anagrams. Here's the link to the Corries version of Coorie Doon.Well worth a wee listen.
17/10/1852m 46s

Senator Neale Richmond interview

Senator Neale Richmond was elected to Seanad Éireann in April 2016 to the Labour Panel. He is the Fine Gael Spokesperson on European Affairs in the Seanad. Senator Richmond gave this short interview to Lesley after his recent appearance at the 2018 SNP conference.
11/10/184m 49s

Respect yourself

It may come as a shock to you but we begin each podcast with a list of topics, all in my wee blue notebook. This week we break with tradition and open with a continuation of our off-mic conversation on the nature of being who we really are. How does the putting on and shedding the masks we wear affect us personally, politics, and society. This, to our surprise, leads us, quite naturally, to both the SNP conference and the huge All Under One Banner march in Edinburgh. Lesley wonders if the SNP leadership can relax its hold on the reins and release the talent she saw on display, particularly at fringe meetings. Can they also allow the space for that talent to speak with its own, authentic, voice? The AUOB movement perhaps shows in its flawed, human, joyous way how this can be done. We do turn to my infamous list and discuss the recent rumblings of rebellion from the DUP over Brexit, its implications for the peace process and the potential for a referendum on Irish unity. As usual there's lots of other asides including, in no particular order, hockey, an Arsenal football legend, and the collected works of James Joyce. And prizes are still available for spotting this,and last ,week's musical reference in the title.
11/10/1853m 37s

It's a legal matter

We can't ignore the Tory party conference, try as hard as we might, and we kick off this week's podcast with our reflections on Theresa May's moves. Ruth Davidson has been on a PR offensive for her new book while ignoring requests for serious political interviews. Gordon Brewer of the BBC and STV's Colin McKay finally got the chance to grill her, with very different results. Lesley has had a long commitment to justice for Scotland's tenant farmers and her steely gaze turns on the scandal of the impending removal of the Telfer family from their border farm by the Duke of Buccleuch. She also reflects on Nicola Sturgeon's response to Joan McAlpine's question on this in the Scottish Parliament. Historic Environment Scotland have been all over the news and social media with their refusal to allow the All Under One Banner marchers to congregate in Holyrood Park and the Yes walkers entry to Stirling Castle. Who are the HES's board and what influence do the great and good who populate similar civic institutions have in modern Scotland? We return to, Donald Trump, and the DUP's Arlene Foster, and, as they both face serious questions on their future, their recent rallying cries to their base. As usual I shoehorn in some musical and football references. Check out this week's title as well.
04/10/1845m 28s

Decisions decisions

We return, after some time, to the murky world of Trump and US politics as Christine Blasey Ford appears in front of the Senate Judiciary about the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Lesley asks if Kavanaugh can survive Blasey Ford's compelling testimony and that of his other accusers. Trump defended Kavanaugh during his recent rambling, shambling, press conference. So bad that James Kelly sat with his head in his hands throughout most of it and Jared Kushner was caught on camera describing it with a word one expletive. In complete contrast, Lesley was impressed by Jeremy Corbyn's closing speech to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. Has a radical gauntlet been thrown down for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP? I chip in on remarks made by Ian Lavery and Andy Kerr at the conference and wonder if a blanker "Labour bad" approach is smart politics from independence supporters. We've avoided Brexit for a wee while but can no longer given what happened in Salzburg. Is No Deal now inevitable? Will there be a General Election in November? Can Theresa May survive? And, given the RHI scandal, can her confidence and supply partner Arlene Foster hang in there with her? All the above, and more, plus a wee bonus announcement about the new Nation film on Norway right after a false ending.
27/09/1849m 56s

The V&Tay

We're back after our three week break and unashamedly spend the first part of the podcast singing the praises, with a few caveats, of the brand-new V&A Dundee. Many thanks to Jenny, V&A Dundee press officer for her help in organising our visit. However, we get back to grim reality with the recent controversy over P1 assessments, yesterday’s defeat for the Scottish government over them, on a Tory led motion, and the reaction to it among independence supporters. Lesley's thoughts, as always, are well worth a listen. Ruth Davidson's revelations concerning her mental health issues and her lack of desire to become UK PM have definitely caused controversy and we give our, different, perspectives on them. Theresa May's recent comments to EU leaders on the Irish border question provide the ideal introduction for Lesley to reflect on her recent visit to Belfast and the mood of both nationalists and unionists over Brexit. All of this plus fire-raising suffragettes, Bobby Gillespie, and McVities Rich Tea Biscuits (other brands are of course available).
20/09/1852m 13s

Haud yir wheesht

If a week's a long time in politics the past two have seemed like an eternity and it should be no surprise to anyone that we begin and end this podcast focusing on the ongoing controversy surrounding Alex Salmond. The majority of our time is spent trying to unpick the story and reach our own conclusions on its importance to the SNP, the broader Yes movement, and the rights of folk, in particular women, at work. Lesley's trip to Finland reignited her commitment to the reform of the current toxic Welfare state and the introduction of Universal Basic Income. We explore how it might release so much potential for so many people and just how it might be funded. In between times I manage to slip in references to the BBC series "Rip It Up", the legendary Dundee band St Andrew and the Woollen Mill, and my granny
31/08/1846m 52s

Facts are chiels that winna ding

After a shock opening, where Lesley blows my cover as the essence of cool by revealing my in-depth knowledge of Friends, we get down to this week's business. As we get ready for this Saturday's AUOB march in Dundee, Lesley’s been out and about at showings of the first two movies in her Nation series and loves the feeling of almost religious solidarity folk get from sharing these communal events.   Me being me, an RC (Recovering Catholic) I cast a somewhat sceptical eye over where an overzealous attachment to SNPGood v SNPBad may lead us. Lesley also visited the fantastic Re Use Hub in Dunbar and as well finding some great maps may have unearthed the future of recycling. Keith Brown announced that the SNP was launching its own fact check account and we, respectfully, question whether this should be left up to independent organisations like the Ferret Fact Check Collective. Finally, can we learn lessons from Don Jorgensen's of the Danish SDP’s gentle, witty, riposte to Fox News's Trish Reagan's attack on Denmark's social democracy? After a shock opening, where Lesley blows my cover as the essence of cool by revealing my in-depth knowledge of Friends, we get down to this week's business. As we get ready for this Saturday's AUOB march in Dundee, Lesley’s been out and about at showings of the first two movies in her Nation series and loves the feeling of almost religious solidarity folk get from sharing these communal events.   Me being me, an RC (Recovering Catholic) I cast a somewhat sceptical eye over where an overzealous attachment to SNPGood v SNPBad may lead us. Lesley also visited the fantastic Re Use Hub in Dunbar and as well finding some great maps may have unearthed the future of recycling. Keith Brown announced that the SNP was launching its own fact check account and we, respectfully, question whether this should be left up to independent organisations like the Ferret Fact Check Collective. Finally, can we learn lessons from Don Jorgensen's of the Danish SDP’s gentle, witty, riposte to Fox News's Trish Reagan's attack on Denmark's social democracy?
16/08/1843m 38s

Testing times

We're back after our two week break where Lesley had a braw time on Barra and I struggled with my less than stellar DIY skills. It's results time for our senior school pupils but Lesley examines whether it makes any sense at all to conduct national tests on five year olds and asks what, if any, evidence exists for doing it. As deadlines approach on Brexit deals and the wave of All Under One Banner marches goes from strength to strength is it time for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to embrace the groundswell of popular opinion and go for Indyref2 before it's too late? After his recent controversial article in the Daily Telegraph is this the end of Boris Johnson or another step on his way to becoming leader of an overtly reactionary Tory Party? All of the above plus daft twitter nonsense and dark days at Tannadice.
09/08/1841m 27s

Up the wrang dreel

Lesley's latest  Scotsman article on berries rotting in the fields sparked some controversy among its readership. But just what are the causes of this farming disaster? Talking of controversy, Tommy Sheppard became headline news with his reply to Labour MP Ian Murray that, in retrospect, he would vote to bring down the Labour government of 1979 just as his SNP colleagues did back then. For those of you too young or too sensible  to get the symbolic nature of that exchange I launch into a history lesson. Feel free to fast forward! As the "dark money" scandal continues to rumble on just what are the connections between the think tanks which appear constantly in the media and what, if anything, can be done to increase transparency over their funding? After a flurry of thoughts on the new batch of Tory ministers, Brexit chaos, and the threat of a No Deal, Lesley shines a laser like light on climate change, the real headline issue. All of this plus, a story I spotted you'll all go and google, the great raspberry v strawberry debate, and the pleasures of getting out of the car.
26/07/1849m 28s

Bees make honey

We begin with the stushy that Lesley's latest article in the Scotsman commenting on Nicola Sturgeon's stance on Donald Trump's visit caused.  Never read the comments section is our sage advice. Hard on the heels of the Donald's departure for his infamous Helsinki meeting with Putin our very own populist wannabe, Boris Johnson, made his resignation speech in the House of Commons. Lesley reflects on just why this wasn't a Geoffrey Howe moment and what the former Foreign Minister's behaviour says about the state of present day political discourse. I chip in on the pairing scandal before escaping to the world of women's sport, the career of Billie Jean King, and des Elles au velo in particular. Lesley has been spending time among the chilled out Buckfast bees which gave me the opportunity to drop in the pub rock referencing episode title.  We nearly make the end of the episode without mentioning Brexit but.......
20/07/1837m 6s

A state of chassis

Benjamin Franklin famously said that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Politically we can add Trump and Brexit,especially after this week. Lesley, hotfoot from her appearance on Sky News, takes on both these inescapables with her take on Trump's visit to Scotland. What does Nicola Sturgeon's refusal to engage with the self-proclaimed master of the deal tell us about a future independent Scotland? Having spent my morning watching Theresa May fighting for her future on the Marr show I insist on telling you and Lesley all about it, at far too much length. The BBC is set to "revamp" its politics output on television, axing The Sunday Politics show, and reshaping The Daily Politics and I get Lesley's perspective on these moves to attract a younger, more digitally aware audience. There's also the usual baloney, initiated by me, which this week includes my appreciation of the great Fred Quimby.
15/07/1844m 18s

Ca Canny

Lesley's article in today’s National on the ABE theory of football, Anybody But England, sparked a Twitter war this morning featuring none other than JK Rowling. And this kicks off (couldn’t resist it) this week's podcast. I then tell you more than you genuinely ever wanted to know about yesterday's SNP Opposition day debate on the Claim of Right. To use Lesley's favourite word, it got a wee bit feisty.  Yesterday also saw the launch of Lesley's second film, in association with Phantom Power, Iceland; The extreme nation, in Glasgow. Can we learn that small is indeed beautiful from our northern neighbour? Gordon Brown decided in this week which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the NHS to re-enter the political stage claiming that independence would lead to its complete meltdown. Just what is it that forces former political heavyweights to make these comebacks? All this plus The Bridge, Doris Day and why I don’t wear shorts.
05/07/1841m 19s

The Holyrood Shuffle

After musings on German versions of fairy tales, the World Cup, and Lesley's sweariness watching football we begin with the recent reshuffle of Scottish government ministers. The faces may have changed but what about the policies? This and Lesley's recent wee trip up to Lismore sparks her thoughts on local democracy, the price of land and rural depopulation. While in Ireland I took the opportunity to listen to Irish opinion on Brexit, in particular the excellent Tony Connelly and Colm O'Mongain's RTE Brexit podcast. I reflect on their interviews with Amanda Kramer and Lord Patten. Lesley gives her thoughts on why swathes of England are still wedded to Brexit despite the mounting evidence of its disastrous economic impact. I attempt to lift the gloom after the surprise Democratic primary victory of Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. Is this the signal of a US left response to Trumpism or will it be strangled at birth by the party machine? There's also T20 cricket and the latest on Willo Flood.
30/06/1848m 57s


After bemusing Lesley with my opening homage to last week's star guest, Katrin Odsdottir, we return to relative sanity with Lesley's reflections on her recent film trip to Iceland. Some of you may just have noticed that there's a World Cup happening in Russia, and Iceland, population around 300,000, have qualified drawing their opening game against Argentina, Messi and all. What have the Icelanders got so right and can we in Scotland learn from their success? We just cannot escape the ongoing saga (that Iceland keeps popping up) that is Brexit, and Kirsty Hughes, founder of Scotland for Europe, has written a thought provoking article asking why the SNP is not loudly demanding an end to the UK's withdrawal. I chip in my tuppence worth on why I believe the SNP is actually playing the long game in terms of securing a majority when Indyref2 comes around. We get so intensely involved in our chat that we miss the first seven minutes of Iceland v Nigeria and we dash off to don our scarves and baseball caps. HU.....HU.....HU!!!
22/06/1841m 49s

Iceland Special with Katrin Oddsdóttir

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.
13/06/1816m 33s

Happy Together?

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.
07/06/1844m 10s

As ithers see us

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; 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.
29/05/1846m 9s

Lords save us

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.
18/05/1836m 57s

A game of two halves

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?
13/05/1848m 57s

Boxes,bevvy and beliefs

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.
03/05/1848m 35s

The 7 Year Hitch

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.
26/04/1850m 14s

Rivers of Love

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.
19/04/1848m 26s

The gemme's up the pole

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.
05/04/1848m 8s

Laws and Borders

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.
30/03/1847m 1s

Polls Apart

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
15/03/1858m 39s

A little night musing

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.
07/03/1848m 10s

Skye News

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)
01/03/1855m 42s

Oh Vienna

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.
15/02/1845m 16s

Value Judgements

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.
01/02/1842m 15s

Norwegian Wooed

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.
27/01/1846m 18s

Forest Grump?

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......
18/01/1856m 23s

A Subordinate Clause ?

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
12/01/1846m 45s

The Health of Nations

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.
05/01/1840m 38s

Don't look back in anger

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.
22/12/1747m 41s

Bees in oor bunnits

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.
15/12/1752m 37s


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.
08/12/1741m 44s

You'll have had your VAT then

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.
23/11/1741m 23s

Priti Vacant

In this week's extended podcast we kick off with the resignation of Priti Patel as Secretary of State for International Development. Lesley speculates on the potential implications for beleaguered Theresa May and asks has she actually been lucky despite all her recent setbacks ? We discuss the shadowy role of Lord Polack of the Conservative Friends of Israel in Patel's fall from grace and could this be the moment for Penny Mordaunt to stake her claim for the Tory leadership? Boris Johnson is next in Lesley's gimlet gaze as the full impact of his ill thought and poorly prepared statements give spurious legitimacy to the imprisonment of UK journalist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by the Iranian government. We go into extra time for Lesley's reflections on last Saturday's Build Conference. All this plus The Gruffalo in Scots , baby boxes,and feral cats.
09/11/1752m 51s

Visca Catalunya

We unashamedly spend the vast majority of this week's podcast on the continuing crisis in Catalunya. Lesley was a first hand witness to last week's momentous events and gives a fantastic insight into what it was like on the streets of Barcelona as the drama unfolded. She also, tells tall Castilian tales, recounts her experiences with anarcho-syndicalists and , most importantly, lets the world into the dark secrets of Brian Taylor's dancing. I pitch in here and there but inevitably finish up talking about the fitba. Dinnae let on tae the Wee Ginger Dug! There's also a plug for the Build:Bridges to Indy event this weekend in Edinburgh.
31/10/1742m 54s

Credit Crunch

Lesley returns after  her bout of the lurgi and it's Riddoch in full righteous wrath mode as the injustices and human costs of Universal Credit are dissected mercilessly,and it's shown for the cruel shambles that it is. I lurk on the wing and chip in on yesterday's debate in the House of Commons on Universal Credit and the lack of understanding of the plight of ordinary folk on the government benches. Lesley reflects on last week's Arctic Circle Assembly ,Nicola Sturgeon's starring role, and exciting prospects for joint Icelandic Scottish cooperation on post fossil fuels energy supply. Finally it's back to the SNP Conference, the mood of delegates , the fringe events, and are there signs that the party is slowly coming around to a more collegiate approach to its leadership allowing Nicola to "get on with the day job"?
19/10/1746m 47s

Catalonia and Conference Special

In this week's extended podcast we delve into the ongoing crisis of democracy in Catalonia and the Tory Party conference in Manchester. Lesley strips away the "playing for sympathy" card of the Conservative apologists and focuses on May's  policies and the reaction to them amongst delegates.  I fling in my midgie magnet analogy and we both speculate on Boris and Ruth's ambitions. By way of Nick Robinson's moan on the role of new media outlets undermining trust in the BBC we try and make sense of what's happening in Catalonia.  Lesley previews her upcoming trip to Iceland for the Arctic Circles conference. I shamelessly plug Dundee Wanderers Hockey club. And we both take credit for Scotland's last gasp win v Slovakia.
06/10/1756m 37s

A Corbyn fir me?

We kick off this week by going back to one of last week's topics as Lesley follows her journalist's nose to investigate the issues surrounding standing at work. This leads to our considering the pros, and some wee cons, of trades unions. The ongoing saga of the  twelve year equal pay fight by women workers and the hypocritical attack on the new SNP Glasgow City Council by Joanna Baxter speeds us neatly into the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. While Corbyn inspired his audience is he a hollow man when it comes to Scotland? And if unity broke out on the conference floor, even Tom Watson chanted "Oh Jeremy Corbyn", it was gloves off in the fight for the leadership of Scottish Labour. In addition to all this there's a flag inspired rant from me, Lesley wonders if Ruth Davidson has been found out, and I quote Cicero. All this and a Riddoch bonus at the end,You lucky people( a prize for knowing the source of that catchphrase- no peeking at Google).
28/09/1747m 33s

Millionaires and the millions

It's our first anniversary and we hit the ground running with dramatic scenes at today's FMQs as  Alex Rowley comments that when it comes to tax the SNP always sides with the millionaires against the millions. An Alex own goal ,as Nicola pounces, or something far more interesting in the struggle between Sarwar and Leonard for leadership of Scottish Labour? Lesley returns to the state of Scottish local government and examines how the sparkle of fantastic community projects could be harnessed to radical reform to achieve the best of both worlds. I focus on the case of asylum seeker Samim Bigzad and the complete disregard for the law displayed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Is this yet another example of creeping Conservative authoritarianism? A less than happy flight experience at Stansted airport leads Lesley to thoughts on ,not only ,modern travel but also the nature of the modern workplace. We finish on the tale of L'Oreal v The Naked Soap Co. Why? Because they're worth it.
21/09/1737m 53s

The New North

After Lesley and I ruminate on our low tech methodologies of checking whether we're recording an interference free podcast- my nipping ben the hoose at its heart- Lesley examines the Arctic Circle's October Assembly in Iceland and the Scotland and the New North Conference taking place in Edinburgh in November. I chip in on Radio 4's short series,"The English Fix".In particular the final episode featuring Sir Roger Scruton. Lesley goes back to the future and reflects on Tony Blair's latest Brexit intervention and I chip in on the Common's debates on the EU Repeal Bill. The alert among you, and that means all of you, will note the rustling of paper and my confusion during some of Lesley's contribution. This is accounted for by my accidentally flicking back to notes covering Brexit from some months ago resulting in an almost out of body state of confusion as I went back to the future. Lesley masterfully covers my blushes. All this and the Scottish Independence Convention Build 2 Conference.
14/09/1743m 27s

The Basement Tape

This week we return to our peripatetic ways and record in the , well appointed, basement of Gillis Mclean. My waxing lyrical about Galway's victory in the All Ireland hurling final leads us to explore the nature of place, culture and community. Honestly it's not as worthy as it sounds. Returning to home ground Lesley explores and dissects Ruth Davidson's plans for New Towns. We move on to the Scottish Government's ambitious new programme and will the action live up to the idea. I can't escape my political past when I look at the state of the Labour Party leadership contest. And , by the way, you can play spot the Pat and Lesley getting names wrong game.
07/09/1738m 50s

Labour Pains

This week we spend most of our time on the sudden resignation of Kezia Dugdale as leader of Scottish Labour. Lesley considers the remaining runners and riders for the poison chalice of Scottish politics and which of them, if any, can restore Labour's fortunes. I chip in on the sad lack , not just in the Labour Party, of outstanding political personalities. The recent special on the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival presented by Jack Whitehall leads us into the metropolitan mindset of not only the chattering but political classes. All this plus meanderings on walking to school as kids, dancing for independence, and holidays in Ireland.
31/08/1745m 54s

What's in a name

The latest in our continuing series of podcasts from exotic locations features Lesley's thoughts on the "National" in Scottish National Party and BBC Scotland's reply to her critique of its management structure. I weigh in on elites , diversity and the demise of local newspapers. However the biggy is the continuing Brexit shambles. Just what does it tell us about whose voices are listened to and whose are ignored? There will be no surprises in what Lesley's answers are. This plus, fleeting references to Daily Telegraph headlines and the suddenly reappearing Ruth Davidson all to the accompaniment of rattling coffee cups and thirties jazz.
24/08/1726m 41s

The Lure of Greatness

Andrew O'Hagan's powerful statement on his journey from No to Yes kicks off the first part of this week's podcast. This allows Lesley and I to consider the siren song of a return to a mythical ,unified Britain of the past, if we leave the EU. The recent resignation of BBC Scotland commissioning and scheduling  supremo Ewan Angus raises the question of the potential for radical change at the national broadcaster.Will it be taken? We also reflect on the tragic events of Charlottesville ,the courage of the Heyer family and the moral vacuum in the face of fascism of Donald Trump.
17/08/1740m 39s

Wha kens, kens.

This week sees the return , by "popular" demand , of our theme music. We begin by saying that we won't talk about Trump and North Korea but then go on to talk can fill the rest in in yirsels! The rest of the podcast is taken up with the two major issues Lesley addressed in her columns. We ask is the one size fits all,  top down command structure of Police Scotland working and what , if anything, will be done to resolve its all too apparent problems? Our attention then turns to the  meeting between Mike Russell, Damian Green and you know, that other guy, him, the Secretary of State for Scotland, to discuss what new powers may be granted to Scotland post Brexit. Although Lesley focuses on fishing, particularly after Michael Gove's recent conversations with Denmark, the implications for the continuing role and importance of the devolution settlement are profound. In the process we manage to name drop some gie interesting fowk and I slip in gratuitous references to Peanuts and Lawside Academy.
10/08/1750m 5s

Hurlin stanes

In a week which saw fractious infighting and criticisms within the independence camp Lesley stresses the need for inclusion and tolerance and highlights the pitfalls of our tendency towards tribalism. I question whether anyone outside of the online bubble either knows or cares about these disputes. Lesley uses the very different approaches between the Scottish and English prison systems to highlight the progressive nature, across party political divides, of Scottish society. And in the midst of these pleas for peace,love and understanding I, once again, deny being a hippy. Doth I protest too much?
03/08/1728m 43s

A Long Chain of Goodwill

Lesley returns refreshed from her holiday on Uist and is (almost) unbearably smug about how sunny it was. We kick off with her reflections on the break and then slide into that complex set of relations between the SNP , the broader Yes movement, and the SIC .However, dinnae fash yirsels chums we tap into that 1967 summer of love vibe and explore the importance of fun ,community, culture and disco in rediscovering and reinventing not only ourselves but Scotland. All that plus inflated hedgehogs, bear attacks in the Italian Alps,Bjork's dad, and, wait for it, a wee mention of cricket.
27/07/1739m 21s

Broadcast News

This week we focus entirely on the BBC's plans to restructure Radio Scotland creating two new stations.One dedicated to speech and the other, on DAB, to music. However us being us we manage to introduce thoughts on the male and female brain; why young women give up sport; a Ray McKinnon impression( by Lesley); revelations on Lesley's football career and the extremely healthy state of the  Scottish traditional music scene. All this at the second time of asking.I did press that record button.....Honest guv!
13/07/1745m 0s

To boldly go

In this week's extravaganza I set in motion a series of appalling puns before we settle down to discuss rail nationalisation and how the Scottish government could be genuinely transformative even within the union. Lesley looks at two pieces of "SNP good" news on the economy and the NHS and how they might just have caught out the commentariat. Almost inevitably we return to Grenfell Tower and the amazing fortitude of that local community in not giving up or in to establishment pressure. All this with some wee references to the DUP's financial deal, the Catalonian independence referendum and the Scot's language.And not forgetting a bout of coughing , or two, frae the bold Riddoch!
05/07/1744m 56s

A movement and a party

Having regaled you with a lang ane last week yir back on rations wi this half hour podcast . After discovering my shady past we focus on Nicola Sturgeon's " reset" speech on indyref2 on Tuesday. There's questions on just what might be  the "Al Capone"tipping  moment to get folk on board with voting Yes next time around; what the SNP's bold and radical policies might be and could they just stand back and let the hash of a Tory Brexit play out? We finish with startling revelations on our dubious eating habits!
28/06/1732m 29s

Danish Visions

Lesley returns from Denmark rejuvenated, revitalised and any other "r" words you can think of after her stay on Bornholm - a Danish island which has just hosted the biggest act of political engagement in Europe and maybe the world. Not following Norman Tebbit she also got on her bike in Copenhagen, you pronounce it any way you fancy. I chip in around the edges on the state of Scottish FE colleges ( the unincorporated colleges are  Argyll College, Newbattle Abbey College, Orkney College, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Shetland College and West Highland College by the way)and essay a Portadown accent for no good reason. We finish with thoughts on the health not of the body politic but that of the nation.
22/06/1753m 20s

No Words

As the full horror of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower reveals itself we ask if this was not an accident but the inevitable outcome of the state of UK society. A society which promotes civic neglect, has contempt for the poor, places profit above people , and silences dissent. Lesley reflects on the continuing aftermath of last Thursday, Tommy Shepphard's abortive bid to become Leader of the SNP in the House of Commons ,Common Weal's six ideas to revitalise the Scottish Government and if any kind of "soft" Brexit can be achieved. We also have a wee bit of chat on the Corbyn Effect.
16/06/1745m 3s

Ye Whit! General Election Special

It's the morning after the night before and Lesley, fortified by at least six coffees and lashings of chocolate, unleashes herself on the election results. That "bloody difficult woman"; the SNP campaign; the Tory deal with their " friends" the DUP; the Corbyn effect ; the significance of the votes in Scotland for indyref2 are all subjected to our , hopefully informed, if slightly manic, analysis. On the way we also manage to cover the Giant's Causeway museum, the perils of postal voting, and banning Ouija boards.Trust me, if you listen, it all makes sense. Lesley also pays tribute to Angus Robertson and ,in particular,Alex Salmond as they both leave Westminster.
09/06/1751m 7s

Debatable Lands and Johnny A'Things

After a two week break where Lesley journeyed round Orkney and Shetland and I grappled with internet technology ,we're back. For my sins I've been watching the leaders' debates and interviews trying to make sense of this strangest of General Elections. Meanwhile Lesley has not only been sampling the musical delights and high kicking dancing of the Orkney folk festival but also following the local battle to be elected MP next week. In the midst of this I'm reminded of the failure of my beloved Dundee United( cheers chum!) and Lesley extols the virtues of the Hardanger fiddle.
01/06/1743m 43s

Manifesto Destiny

Lesley returns refreshed and invigorated from Croatia. I on the other hand am hot foot frae Kirkcaldy. Oh the glamour of it all! The launch of the Conservative Party manifesto, north and south of the border;that ITV leaders debate, minus May and Corbyn and the post Brexit position of the  Scottish fishing industry give us plenty to chew over. By the way yon EU spokesperson neither of us could remember is Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.You , of course, good listeners knew that! Ruth Davidson's Orwell lecture on nationalism and patriotism also turns up some surprising stuff on the sainted George.  All that and more plus  tales of Balkan sea swimming.
19/05/1741m 26s

Leaks and Lego

This week's podcast was recorded live at the Butterfly Cafe in Dundee. Lesley was just about to jet off to sunny Croatia and we took advantage of the cafe's good auspices to podcast from the children's play area( highly appropriate I hear you cry!). So, not only will you hear herself and me but ,to the background of happy coffee drinkers ,you'll meet the bold wee Felix and his mum enjoying themselves with the Lego( other plastic building bricks are available). In the midst of all this Lesley manages to chat about the leak of the Labour manifest, and the exclusion of the Greens from much of the General Election coverage both north and south of the border. I cover the ongoing Tory election expenses scandal. And we both try and get our heads round the "You're fired" moment featuring Donald Trump and the erstwhile head of the FBI.
12/05/1732m 52s

It's the locals

This week we rush headlong into the stramash of the local elections. Are rumours of the Tory Scottish tidal wave over exaggerated? Just what is going on when swathes of solid Labour areas suddenly turn blue? Have we reached peak SNP? Is it the constitution stupid? Lesley dashes hot foot from PM and I try and decipher my hastily scribbled notes as we bring our caffeine fueled brains to bear on these questions. I also chuck in a gratuitous Duke of Edinburgh anecdote. Friend to the famous me!
05/05/1744m 47s

The road and the miles

After the excitement of last week we return to "normality". Lesley has been haring round the country and we chat about the Yes walk across the Tay Bridge for the rally last Saturday and the perils of speaking after the Wee Ginger Dug and his pal Paul. I'm given 30 seconds to explain the STV voting system for the local elections.Judge for yourselves my success! Lesley reflects on defensive and aspirational nationalism and  Tory local election strategy.  This and opinion polls lead us to discuss whether the constitutional question now permeates and frames all Scottish elections. I give my personal perspective on the FE college strikes and the answer to the burning question," Who are the two most popular westerners in Vietnam?".
28/04/1741m 26s

Now is the time

This week we concentrate entirely on May's decision to call a snap General Election on June 8th. Lesley reflects on her appearance on BBC Newsnight and what this may say about future coverage. I chip in here and there .
19/04/1736m 6s

The Brexit Club

On the day that Theresa May finally triggered article 50 we , inevitably, focus on this. What is Nicola Sturgeon's "cunning plan"? Is Scotland merely Maidenhead, no offence to Maidenhead, in May's Brexit strategy? Lesley recovers from her appearance on "Call Kaye" and reflects on what, if anything, the BBC has learned from its coverage of Indyref1. As the Scottish Labour Party takes a leaf out of my favourite time traveller's book, Sam Beckett if you're interested but others are available, and returns to 1979, I crack the myth of the SNP ushering in Thatcherism. The  almost under the radar Scottish local elections round up this episode but not before I display my linguistic, or otherwise skills. I should have said Tam Biet by the way. You're going to have to listen now if only to figure out what the ruddy heck I'm on about.
30/03/1741m 4s

A whisper of wind

We return to home base this week and for Lesley it's all the B's. Belfast, Brexit, borders, boring , and baltic as she runs through her recent travels.  There are reflections on the life and legacy of Martin McGuinness. The futures post Brexit of Ireland, north and south, and the implications for Scotland. That Section 30 debate in Holyrood and the indyref2 campaign. I kick in with GERS and possibly the Gers lowering the tone with my well crafted "jokes".
24/03/1746m 42s

It wisnae a bluff

Well chums, guess what this week's podcast is all( well nearly all) about. Lesley takes a wee break from her round of national and international media appearances to go over yesterday's events. It's a mad dash through Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of Indyref2( any ideas on names other Scoxit are most welcome) and much,much  more referendum speculation. Is the postponement of activation of Article 50 a sign that May has been outflanked? What can we expect from the press and broadcasters this time? We reflect on the reactions to the First Minister's statement from independence supporters.   There's also a passing reference to the Donald and disappearing climate change data; the decency of Stephen Daisley and a not half bad attempt at an Aussie accent by someone.
14/03/1740m 34s

Devolution 9 ?

Thanks to the "kindness of strangers" and their driving skills we bring you this week's podcast. Theresa May's appearance at the Tory Party conference in Perth kicks us off and Lesley's predictions about the reining in of the powers of the Scottish Parliament post Brexit seem to be coming true. We touch briefly on the , now infamous, Melanie Phillips Times article, before moving on to consider the recent election in Northern Ireland. It was both Budget and International Women's day and I examine the impact of Hammond's changes to National Insurance and taxation for the self employed and their particular impact on women. Finally, do Lesley and I actually disagree? St Patrick's or Paddy's day? The public wait with bated breath!
09/03/1741m 28s

Six appeal

This week sees the return of the Fife twa after Lesley's op. Lesley pays tribute to the larger than life, late Paddy Bort ,doyen of the Edinburgh folk scene and powerful advocate for local democracy. You know when you ask someone a question and they actually give you the answer! Well, stand by for Lesley's forensic dissection of the BBC's proposals for a new Scottish channel, in particular the news at nine. We try and get to grips with the Sadiq Khan speech at the recent Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth and I , in particular, just don't understand Labour's strategy. Back in Westminster the Tories seem to be prevaricating over the details of the  transfer of powers back from Europe to Holyrood. Can Mundell's "guarantees" be trusted? In addition to all this there's more than a passing mention of Antonio Gramsci and I make another startling confession  this time involving a Hillman Imp and a dry stane dyke.
02/03/1741m 23s

Secrets and lies

First a shameless plug. Lesley's terrific series on the links between Ulster and Scotland ends this Sunday and if you want to see the final episode or catch up on previous ones, follow this link We return to the podcast after a week on the sick and Lesley reflects on her off again , now on again upcoming op and the state of the NHS. I continue the medical theme , with a sporting twist. The recent revelations over dementia and heading footballs lead me to the Frank's Law campaign. We wonder what the Scottish Government could/should do in the light of the UK's seeming roll back from the Dubs plan to rescue refugee children. No week is complete these days without mentioning the Donald and we don't disappoint as 45 meets Netanyahu and complains about leaks. Closer to home Lesley looks at the report on reform of the 1989 Official Secrets Act and what the resounding silence in most of the media over this says about the state of our surveillance society. Lesley rants, justifiably, about the £21million pound nuclear industry archive to be created in Wick. All this in addition to radio ventriloquism,"T2",spoiler alerts for "Lion" and my mum phoning mid podcast.
16/02/1747m 1s

It's just not cricket

The meat in this week's podcast is the plan to pilot the Universal Basic Income in Glasgow and Fife and Lesley's appearance on BBC's The Big Questions . We also partake in  the full English, Brexit that is, sink our teeth into the planned Trump state visit and ruminate on the dog's dinner that's Labour response to them both. There are also startling revelations on both our parts which lead to recollections of school ,university, wide boys and Hooray Henries.
02/02/1746m 15s


Following my startling revelations  over Burns' suppers Lesley reflects on this most Scottish of institutions. I, moving swiftly on, consider just how important the Scot's language is to our national culture. However it wouldn't be a podcast without Brexit and this week's no exception as we pull apart the Supreme Court's decision concerning the Sewel convention. Lesley wonders if this nit picking parliamentary approach is the right path to take to securing independence and shouldn't we be mapping out the kind of country we want to be rather than engaging in navel gazing. Finally, there's no show without Punch, or Trump, and the prospect of our so called independent nuclear deterrent being under the effective control of the Donald is less than pleasant to consider for this pair of lefty peacenicks.
26/01/1737m 40s

A Whole Lotta Lesley

Welcome back to the first( or is it the second?) podcast of 2017. This week Lesley is in fine form as she dashes through a packed past seven days. There's her wee stushy wi' the man frae Brexit Central on Scotland tonight. Theresa May's 12 point plan for( you guessed it) Brexit. And the Scottish Independence Convention's conference in Glasgow. I do a lot more listening and asking questions than normal( sighs of relief all round) as we wonder if the Scottish conversation has moved beyond the single market and free trade areas. However I do manage to slip in some references to my football team.
19/01/1741m 21s

EU Jimmy

In the final podcast of 2016 it's hold the front page as we grapple with the , just released, Scottish Government's  Brexit plan. Lesley takes a vital phone call from the Faroes as she girds her loins for an appearance on the PM programme. There's a fair degree of caution as we navigate the murky waters of Scotland's defamation laws. I make a startling revelation about my Saturday night viewing and why cartoons are what socialism is all about. And we wish all you folks all the best for this season of joy....well , sort of.
21/12/1638m 59s

Soft snow and soda bread

This week we reveal the meticulous technical preparation that goes on before each podcast. Lesley returns from Belfast and reflects on the impact of Brexit on Ireland both North and South and I chip in on the Supreme court hearing. In the light of the PISA results we discuss the state of Scottish education and what relevance , if any, these results  should have in shaping its future. On the way we meander through the highways and byways of motoring in the Arctic, the hunter gatherer diet, reindeer and just who is Captain James T Kirk's evil alter ego.
14/12/1639m 31s

Ca canny and shoogly pegs

On this  St Andrew's day Lesley heroically  battles through a stinking cold. We celebrate The National's second birthday and its vital role in Scottish domestic politics. Next January's re-launch of the Scottish Independence Convention sets us off not only into the future of the Yes movement and the SNP but also Scottish Labour. In the light of recent polls just how can the , seemingly inevitable, Indy Ref 2 be won? Is Labour on a slippery slope to another  humiliation in next year's local elections and will this signal another leadership struggle? And will this fight not only be left v right but independence v unionism? Amidst this speculation Lesley keeps her cough in check until the final moments and I bemoan my lack of cuddles.
01/12/1635m 57s

Ways of Seeing

This week Lesley looks at Landseer's  Monarch of the Glen and considers how its particular vision of Scotland could be re presented in the 21st century. As the deadline for  the eviction of the Patersons of Arran by Charles Fforde heads ever nearer we ask what ,if anything, the Scottish Government could, and indeed should, have done. I ponder echo chambers, safe spaces ,free speech , and no platforming. And  Lesley agrees to check out the mighty Horslips  but only if I listen to Bjork. Challenge accepted.
23/11/1643m 10s

Matters foreign and domestic

Lesley returns to the fight to stop tenant farmers the Patersons of Arran being evicted. This despite the Scottish Government's "radical" land reform act. Is this the test of the SNP's progressive credentials? I focus on the Brexit debate in the Scottish Parliament as we all try and find out where the parties stand on membership of the single market and whether the EEA is the Scottish Government's new preferred option. Lesley asks will Scotland's 32 huge councils become just 14 massive ones and why is Scotland the  only European nation without truly local government?   And finally we reveal our favourite driving music. Be prepared to be shocked and awed!
16/11/1638m 23s

A mass of contradictions

It's the afternoon after the long night before and Lesley and I ruefully consider the election of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Who voted for him? Why did they vote for him? Where did Hillary and the Democratic Party go wrong? What will his foreign and domestic policies look like?
09/11/1645m 32s

Controlling Power

This week Lesley and I ask lots of questions. Who rules after the High Court verdict on activating Article 50? Parliament? The Executive? The People? Drawing on the experience of the Nordics is the EU actually the best option for an independent Scotland post Brexit? Is the UK government deliberately sabotaging Scotland's renewable energy programme for its own political gain? And finally, the big one. Why are chocolate biscuits so much smaller and less chocolatey than they used to be?
04/11/1642m 18s

Intestines and umbrella

In this week's podcast Lesley returns refreshed and optimistic from her trip to Eigg. She reflects on the plight of the Paterson family on Arran facing eviction because of flawed legislation and asks for your support. We revisit the need for local government reform and and I get all nerdy about the lessons to be taken from the Walloons'  successful opposition to CETA. As for intestines and umbrella...well you'll need to listen to solve that riddle.
28/10/1642m 28s

Arctic Circles

If a week's a long time in politics, is two weeks an eternity? Lesley returns after her sojourns at the Arctic Circle Assembly and the IdeaSpace fringe event at the SNP conference. I chip in with a defence of men in "locker rooms" and we both grapple with some interesting technical issues.
19/10/1634m 58s

The Power of Place

This week's episode shows what happens to two normally rational folk who only got through the Tory Party conference by consuming copious amounts of coffee. Lesley examines UKIP infighting, the return of the Nasty Party,British jobs for British workers, and Nordic Horizons by way of a failed rectorial campaign, and the importance of the number 87 to local government. We also have our first on air disagreement.  We're away next week as I channel my inner Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride as my Jenni gets married.
07/10/1653m 42s

The difficult second album

This week Lesley reflects on , the Mither tongue, the potential for a Scot's 7, and whither goest newly autonomous Scottish Labour. While I , due to popular demand, sit  a wee bit further away from the mic and wonder if Hillary Clinton is a presidential candidate not to be sniffed at.
28/09/1639m 25s


This week sees the return of the podcast . Lesley tells all about ,her visit to the Faroe Islands , the significance of the number 49000, and why bigger ain't necessarily better . I, on the other hand fumble my big introduction but do manage to pronounce Caithness correctly.
23/09/1634m 5s

Honours and Local

Two  big themes today are the role of honours and what do we mean when we say 'local' ? We also manage to include  David Cameron, the Saltire Society, marching in Leith and a warning about spam texts.
31/07/1645m 40s

Best Foot Forward

This week Lesley talks foot operations, getting ready for the next referendum and the perils of 'Brexit Lite'. There is  a new wager, and lots of news of forthcoming events.
24/07/1636m 56s

Stylish Meetings

This week saw the first meeting of Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon. Whatever they talked about is the start of this week's speculation. We also manage to discuss the value of Cyprus to the Brexit debate, the terrible events in both Nice and Turkey and the leadership contests in Labour and the SNP.
17/07/1642m 16s

You Have Got The Country Back

This week , we arrive late to the leadership contests to find one all over and the next one , barely started. We talk Ireland, Berlin and everything in between.
11/07/1651m 55s

Demos and Leadership Contests

The week we talk about the various demonstrations which have been happening from gatherings to safety pins. We also touch on the various leadership contests and their contrasting styles from SNP to Labour via Tory.
03/07/1657m 12s

More unintended results

After the European referendum result on Thursday , there seems to be turmoil everywhere. Lesley tries to make sense of what is happening as a result.
26/06/1652m 32s

Towards the end of Europe

This week we reflect on two big topics; testing in Primary Schools and Europe. The Scottish Government is introducing 'assessment' in primary schools - is this a good idea? After the tragic death of Jo Cox MP, we turn our attention to Europe.
19/06/1650m 22s

Back from Belfast

This week Lesley flies back from Belfast. She has spent a week filming in Northern Ireland and is full of stories of pipers, bands and the Irish Language. We also manage to touch base about Europe, Hillary and have a bet.
12/06/1644m 47s

Andy stands in for Lesley

Andy Wightman MSP was our special guest this week. Lesley was away wrangling with her PhD and Andy popped into the pod. We talked about fracking, Europe, land reform and what was it like to be a MSP.
05/06/1635m 37s

Diet and Dundee Design

This week we are talking about the latest dietary advice and Lesley interviews Sion Parkinson of the Dundee Design Festival. And we take in Vital Spark at Dunoon, Men's Sheds and the challenge of local democracy.
29/05/1641m 56s

Scotland In Reverse

Sometimes it feels like Scotland gets into reverse gear. The recent decision by Muirfield Golf Club not to admit women seems retrograde. Lesley picks this topic up and develops a theme about gender imbalance across the new media, the BBC, and the ways it can be addressed. We also touch on local campaigns including the Cupar postie. Note to our listener, it is recorded outside and there is ambient noise.
22/05/1645m 23s

Eurovision and Named Person

This week the topics could not contrast more. Eurovision turned up all sorts of interesting observations...especially Australia's involvement for the second year running. But the fallout from this week's BBC Question Time question around the Scottish Government's policy of 'Named Person' was remarkable. We have opinions.
15/05/1643m 50s

The Results Service

This week Lesley talks through the Scottish Election results; the "we wuz robbed", "the Tories are back" and who were the winners and losers.
08/05/1645m 29s

Two Parts

� This week we manage to record in two parts. The first is a meander through the week.  The big news is the Hillsborough verdict and its implications. We also briefly touch on 'Ken', Jackie the musical , and a hustings in Dundee.  And the lack of vision in this election....then we come back after watching the last leaders' debate...what was it about ?
01/05/1636m 26s

Huw and predominant party system

In this week's podcast Lesley talks about her encounter with Huw Edwards on the TV. She also recounts the Electoral Reform Society meeting and its aftermath. She also mentions Affa Sair, and  a forthcoming ball in Fife. Oh, and Obama too.
23/04/1631m 14s

It's a battlefield

Lesley is just back from filming outside the Old Firm and describes her reaction. We also touch on the ability of Brexit suits to bore Scots. The story of Paul and his  three year sanction is sure to touch everyone. And finally, we talk Wick and the importance of tights.
17/04/1643m 9s

Panama LGBT schools and bridges

This week we talk about the  Panama Papers and discover an interesting segue in land reform. How's the progress of LGBT doing in Scotland? And we have to mention schools and also a tangetial meander around bridges; old and new.
10/04/1641m 20s

There's an election on - we're back

After a brief hiatus, we are back in the pod. The Scottish General Election campaign has started and we are all underwhelmed...slightly. Is the debates, the formats or the politicians ? We have some thoughts...also the National Living Wage - the untold story.
03/04/1644m 27s

English Tea

Trying to keep up with the European negotiations, it was going to be an English breakfast, then delayed to be an English brunch, an English lunch and then an English tea. However, there is still no news. So, we talk about it anyway and discuss Apple and the Greens.
19/02/1638m 18s

Land, the National Debate and Tories

This week we try and update where the Land Reform legislation is. We also touch on the National ( the newspaper ) Debate and what is happening to the Tories ; north and south.
14/02/1635m 55s

We Are Back

After a month of travel, music and news, we are back in the pod and talking about everything. This is a long podcast, 7 shirts, and covers a lot of ground and emotions.
06/02/1641m 57s

Wandering Star

Chris is back with a voice and Lesley has a good news story, a few opinions about the #FRB , David Mundell and localism and the SNP Budget.
22/12/1534m 45s

Distinguished Men and Women

In this week's podcast we talk about the Paris Summit on Climate Change, the result of the Carmichael court case, the 'Donald' and then the passing of two great writers; William McIlvanney and Ian Bell. We also touch on the campaign to put Dr Elsie Inglis on the  new bank notes.
13/12/1538m 8s

Different Bridges

This week there is a theme of bridges in the podcast. Whether it is the land owners offering land to communities, Jeremy Corbyn needing to build some, the Forth Road and that Nordic TV series; bridges seem to be the idea of the week.
06/12/1530m 47s

The Untied Knot

This week we manage to talk about the proposed bombing in Syria, more Labour problems, tax credits , the Scottish Climate Chaos march, Mary Barbour, Andrew Stoddart and Shooglenifty.
29/11/1535m 58s

Robinson and Energy News

This week we follow up on Lesley's National column on the BBC and the pool of talent; including Nick Robinson. We stray in Alex Bell's comments about the White Paper. There is a lot of good news from Applecross and the success of the fund raising for their hydro scheme.
22/11/1539m 53s

Toujours Paris

This week, it is difficult to see beyond the events in Paris. But we try to make sense of it all. To change the mood, we also report on the news from the LibDems and then update the Andrew Stoddart campaign.
15/11/1535m 11s

For Sale and Rent

This week Lesley talks about the sale of Channel 4, the Swedish Union of Tenants and updates everyone on the status of the current campaign about the eviction of East Lothian tenant farmer Andrew Stoddart and family.
08/11/1534m 7s

Talking about

This week in a chilly kitchen , Lesley talks about her visit to the Scottish Labour Conference fringe where Land Reform was on the agenda as the main conference counted votes about Trident and TTIP. She has a few comments about that video and the House of Lords. Belfast and Nesca Robb also featured in her thoughts this week as she was filming 'over by'.
01/11/1525m 25s

Steel and Get Your Retaliation In First

Lesley is back from the mining town of Kiruna and has been musing about steel and ore extraction. She also had some things to say about Tony Blair and his recent comments about Iraq.  And she reveals why she is rushing off to Belfast's a very busy week.
25/10/1528m 34s

SNP Conference and Land Reform

Lesley spent a few days at the SNP Conference and hosted a fringe meeting on 'Land reform'. But here was a lot more action that happened in the main conference, as she relates. She also wrote about child poverty in the National and explains her frustration with the inertia in action to combat this growing issue.
18/10/1538m 42s

Greens, bad and badder

Lesley spoke at the Scottish Greens conference today and heard two amazing speakers ( and doctors) ; Harry Burns and Jack Monroe. She also wrote about the Tories and immigration. Is it a case of bad cop, badder cop? Lesley takes a cab and gets introduced to Uber. In a sporting weekend, we also manage to include Jim Spence's analysis of why Scotland's footballers aren't so great anymore. And finally, we talk about Northern Ireland for the craic.
11/10/1541m 6s

Mandy talks rural housing

Whilst Lesley was down at the Ardfern at a Blossom event, she met Mandy Hampton. They had a long and interesting conversation about Mandy's planning, building and green energy experience in rural Scotland. It's an insight into the challenges of living in a remote rural community and the real world challenges.
04/10/1530m 41s

Corbyn, Conferences and Touring Scotland

This week's podcast reflects on the 'Corbyn' Labour Party Conference. It looks like it is going to be 'interesting' with more debate and dissent than usual. Will others emulate this ? Lesley has also been roaming around Scotland and has tales from Arran, Rothesay and Oban to relate. We also touch on a new 'City Link Festival and it's not about transport.
27/09/1541m 38s

One Year On Live

In front of a live audience at the "Leith Said Aye - Pilton Said It Mair" event on Friday 18 September 2015. Organised by Yes Edinburgh North and Leith, this was a great way to spend the anniversary...stories, questions and contributions.
20/09/1545m 3s

Court TV, HoL, German Outlooks

This week's @lesleyriddoch podcast covers a lot of ground. Lesley talks about a day in the STV studio watching the 'live' court case relating to Alistair Carmichael and then meeting the House of Lords in Edinburgh. She also talks about the recent changes in the perceptions of Germany following the sudden rise in refugees and the German response. We also rave about the Dundee Rep production of "The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Black Oil". Naturally, we are right across the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Leaders too.   And we round things up with a couple of upcoming events to mark the anniversary of the referendum.
12/09/1541m 56s

Train Brain Dead

Lesley jumps off a train and rounds up all the news of this week and talks about legal actions to come next week. Topics include, Gordon Brewer, Alistair Carmichael, the refugee crisis, appeals, Nordic House, the Nairn Book Festival and a whole lot of other stuff. And it being brain dead, Chris manages to leave his mobile on during the recording . Sorry.
06/09/1538m 27s

Arbroath to Portobello

This week we are talking about the House of Lords, #ourland demonstrations in Arbroath, #beachbusk in Portobello, the BBC, welfare benefit sanctions. We also look forward to next week.
29/08/1533m 39s

Adrian joins in

This week Adrian Sinclair of ChapelFM joins us in the pod. He is the director of a Leeds basedcommunity radio station, a recent returnee to the labour Party and a long time friend with opinions. It was Saturday night and we sat down around the kitchen table and started to talk about the Corbyn effect, the Labour Party and devolution of power amongst a number of things.
23/08/1544m 37s

Gordon's back

Gordon Brown makes a major speech intended to influence the Labour Leader's election. The #ourland campaign kicks off this week and there is plenty to talk about there.. Lesley visits Islay and reports back. And the big news this week; we recorded the podcast in a polytunnel.
16/08/1542m 5s

Deep in the silly season

We are back in the pod after Lesley's return from North Uist. There seems to be little going on and the silly season is upon us. However, we can still find interesting things to blether about. The topics this week include, John Rae, Bruce Fummey island life and the technology challenges of Scotland.
09/08/1535m 50s

What's with Andy?

This week we tackle the HoL and explore what Andy Burnham is up to. The race for the UK Labour leadership is throwing up new proposals all the it a case of the 'Corbyn' effect? Also we have to mention the opening of the Nordic House Exhibition.
02/08/1529m 48s

Back To Domestic

The question is , when do we get back to domestic politics and stop this Westminster firework display?   However, we start this week's podcast with the celebration of Evelyn Gillan which Lesley was part of and the remarkable legacy. We also touch on Chapel FM, what English students are saying, the Labour Party, the Flying Pigs, Ally Bally, and what's happening in the Nordic House this week.
26/07/1538m 32s

Mhairi, Jeremy and Evelyn

This week we talk about the row about the handling of Mhairi Black MP's maiden speech by the BBC. We also examine Jeremy Corbyn as the potential next leader of the Labour Party. Lesley also pays a heartfelt tribute to Evelyn  Gillan who sadly passed away this week. We also manage to fit in a trip to Kirkcaldy and the paintings arriving for Nordic House exhibition.
19/07/1542m 20s

Mainly Police Scotland

After this week's terrible news from Stirling M9 accident, it's difficult to talk about anything else. Clearly, Police Scotland are going to be under scrutiny but before we rush to judgment , are their other factors to take into account?   We also touch on holidays, the budget and EVEL. It's our first week back in the home pod.
12/07/1527m 29s

A Tribute To An Island

On Sunday, we sat down and did our usual weekly podcast. However, Lesley felt she had more to say following the astonishing ‘No’ vote in Greece. Recorded outdoors on a balmy Cretan evening, this extra @lesleyriddoch podcast tries to tell the story of meeting some extraordinary people in unusual  circumstances as Greece decided it’s path. We also talk about the Cretan wildlife. And if you are wondering; the sound of ‘plastic bags flapping in the background? They are palm trees buffeted by the brisk evening breeze.
08/07/1521m 19s

They said 'no'

Still on holiday in Crete on the day of the big referendum and the results start to come in...they said 'no'. As you will hear, this was not the result we had been anticipating from talking to people and watching the media. This week's podcast is slightly shorter thn usual - we are on holiday , after all. Next week normal service resumes.
05/07/1522m 43s

Will They Go

Will they go ...or will they stay? Lesley is on holiday in Crete and talks to local Cretans as to what they think about the Greek Euro Crisis. We also manage to have an interesting discussion about local wild life before plunging back into our own, in the form of 'clypegate'. And we finish on Obama and Castle Toward.
28/06/1531m 50s

What Northern Citizens Think

This week Lesley travelled down to Huddersfield to speak at the #NorthernCitizens Convention to talk devolution. We also briefly touch on that Daily Record story again and wonder aloud about the  focus - Holyrood or Westminster, as bits of Scotland get sold off. Are we following Holyrood 'blow by blow'?   On a lighter note, we talk West Fife SNP lupins, lost property at weekends, food on trains, the success of Uffie Elbæck and the challenges of securing the rights  to display Icelandic art.
21/06/1541m 58s

Starkey, Elections and An Exhibition

This week we manage to respond to the cyclical David Starkey on the SNP, David Cameron and Kristina Lemon of the Swedish Election Authority on elections,Norwegian councillors on childcare costs, the Daily Record on chairing poverty conferences, and the latest news from our favourite Scottish council. Lesley also reveals details about a new Nordic House Exhibition which opens in July in Edinburgh
14/06/1547m 47s

Just The People's Council

This weekend, we were in Oban for the People's Council event. In this podcast we try and relate all the issues which were covered in this gathering of activists. From the way it was organised through to the speakers and the insights, there is a lot to share about the moves afoot in local democracy. As usual, we also try and catch up on the week and bring in other detours.
07/06/1539m 46s

Qatar and PR

It's all TV appearances, football, Paisley, Porty and PR this week.  It's time to talk about the unasked questions of 'Question Time'  and Michael White's moustache. We also talk about the possibility of Scots boycotting the forthcoming football friendly with Qatar. There are also some startling revelations about PR from the Electoral Reform Society.
31/05/1544m 49s

Ali Out

This week's podcast sees the retiral of the Alistair Carmichael megaphone of mirth. But will the big man follow? Opinions in the pod are divided. Other topics include more guidance for labour ( north and south), the Irish and referenda, some Eurovision and Land Reform.
24/05/1543m 4s

Runners and Riders

Jim Murphy resigned this week and now we have the spectacle of the UK and Scottish Labour parties looking for a leader. In this week's podcast we discuss the various names being offered as potential leaders. What role will the trade unions have?
17/05/1541m 35s

A beginning, a middle and more middle

The 2015 General Election delivered some surprises, an exit poll out of the blue, a Tory majority and party leadership changes. Lesley tells us what it was like to be on the STV couch for 4 hours and then what the rest of the election night was like for her.   She also outlines her thoughts on a Tory majority, a single party Scotland and the new community initiatives which are springing up.
11/05/1545m 8s

Taking it to the streets

In this final podcast before the votes are cast in the 2015 General Election, we talk about heckling in all its forms. We also talk about what we have liked about the campaigns and those things we have been less than keen about...there have been a lot.
06/05/1540m 30s

The Problem With Staying

This week is slightly different. After all the acivity of the General Election so far, we pause to reflect on where we have got to. Ed Milliband seems to have suggested 'No Deals' with the SNP, but what does that mean? Are Scottish votes second class? How are things shaping up as we contemplate the post #GE2015 UK? We recorded very late on Friday night/Saturday morning after Lesley had finished talking to the excellent ( as ever ) Stephen Nolan. We touch briefly on events, name drop and recommend a good TTIP education  resource ( thanks - Kenny ) We will be recording again on Tuesday night...before the last hectic day of the election campaign.
02/05/1531m 24s

Holding the Microphone

It's about "Holding the Microphone" this week on the @lesleyriddoch podcast. Whether it's 'Project Fear', SNP manifesto launches or Mediterranean migrants ; the key question seems to be who is holding the microphone.   We manage to talk about columns in the National, the Guardian and the Scotsman. There is another gratuitous wager, and we attempt to answer a listener's question.
26/04/1534m 20s

Lesley Loses Her Voice

This week Lesley swears she's got's hardly surprising with the packed week she's had. From a dawn demo at Faslane through to packed meetings at Haddington, North Berwick and Duns. She also commented on the BBC about the Leaders' Debate...and passes on news about the People's Council. And more.
19/04/1539m 10s

On the Cards

This week's podcast picks up after the mid week 4 leaders debate...there was another one and then Lesley headed down to London and the Andrew Marr there is probably a tale or two to tell. And Lesley reveals what's on her crib sheets written out on cards...Trident, Cuba, Hilary, PR...and what did Lulu say?
12/04/1536m 2s

4 Leaders

Tonight on STV, the four  leaders of the main Scottish political parties went head to head. Ruth, Nicola , Willie and Jim took on Bernard Ponsonby and an invited audience in Edinburgh. Fresh from our Berlin trip, we sat down to watch and recorded this podcast straight afterwards. We did not have a chance to be swayed by any other opinions. This was our verdict. And we are sticking to it.
07/04/1525m 13s

Berlin Calling

This week's podcast is from Berlin. Lesley tackles the big news of the week which seems to be summed up in one name; Nicola. We talk through the 7 leaders' debate and the aftermath. There are some lessons and some warnings in recent events.   Naturally enough, we also share a some forthcoming publications from Stewart Bremner and Greg Moodie ...and also details of an unique walking tour of Cabaret Berlin from Brendan Nash.
05/04/1529m 54s

Skype from Skye

Lesley is on a mini tour of the Highlands and Sunday saw her sitting in the Sligachan Hotel and reflecting on discussions in Strathpeffer, Farr, Cannich and Skye. Using the available technology, we discussed these topics and Milliband/Cameron, the bogey man and Mrs Sturgeon.
29/03/1533m 48s

Matters Arising

This week's podcast is like a meeting trying to cram in reports from Keith, Elgin, Dunoon, Strathaven, Perth and Carnoustie. The topics include the Peoples' University, 'Join the Dots', allotments, women only short lists and  the monkey in the sidecar. As we touch on the subject on the subject of the eclipse; listeners are advised to don sunglasses whilst enjoying this week's pod.
22/03/1536m 22s

Sad on Saturday Night

It's Saturday night and the pod beckons. More tales of Oslo and social enterprises, a personal story from the Western Isles, the numbers behind immigration, and today's happenings at an eventful Women for Independence meeting in Perth and Radical Independence Campaign in Dundee.
14/03/1543m 7s

The Oslo Pod

This week we are in Oslo and recording in a Norwegian kitchen. After a walking tour of Oslo, Sarah Prosser joins us to explain some of the realities of the city. The talk is of social entrepreneurial skills, and what Norway and Scotland can share. We also touch on issues closer to home about equality and what Labour does next.
08/03/1541m 10s

Things People Say

It has been quite a week for people, including politicians, to say incredible things. Whatever it's the stars of "Meet the UKippers", through to Jack Straw, Malcolm Rifkind, Natalie Bennett; everyone had something to say.   Lesley also thinks Scotland needs to become a participatory community focussed democracy and explains why.
01/03/1543m 46s

Is Gas Green?

This week, we tackle the energy companies and customer loyalty. Greener Kirkcaldy also hosted an interesting presentation by Prof Stuart Haszeldine who talked through the potential of underground coal gasification. With the current background of 'fracking', could gas ever be green? And Lesley spent her birthday with the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association - how did she get on? You'll have to listen to find out.
22/02/1539m 44s

Buzz, Biffing and Boozing

This week's podcast covers why there is no buzz in the general election campaign so far. We also consider the various tactics people are considering about how to biff the established order and generate the buzz. Naturally enough, this includes an update on the 'community bank' ...and Portobello. Booze and the latest welcome statistics on tee totallers prompt a limp down memory lane.
15/02/1546m 28s

Polls and Castles

This week we delve into Lord Ashcroft's latest polls and also talk about a variety of 'community' projects ( some good- some problematic ) including 'Castle Toward' which seems to exemplify something that needs to change.
08/02/1536m 29s

Back and Big

We are back from our brief hiatus and we have a lot to catch up with...Jim Murphy on Women's Prisons and fracking , the Greek election result, the Daily Express and how the SNP are doing as they select candidates and some entertainment recommendations. It also means this is a big podcast ...or should that be a long listen.
01/02/1541m 36s

Chilcot and Bingo

This week's podcast was delayed for some personal reasons . We try and get some perspective on the delay of the Chilcot Report, how Scottish Labour is picking up issues and running with them and the impartiality of the Civil Service. Naturally enough, as Lesley launches her latest edition of 'Blossom' in the Empire Bingo hall, we talk bingo.
22/01/1527m 10s

Nous Sommes Charlie

In the light of the terrible events last week in Paris, we have a few words about the Charlie Hebdo attack. Difficult to say anything new but we try. Jim Murphy has also been explaining at length his strategy for the Scottish Labour Party. Lesley has some views on the details as they arise. As promised, we also broadened our reading this week and dipped into the 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' publication.  As mentioned on 'Question Time', TV Leaders' Debates - Lesley Wrote about it in the Sunday Post and explains a little bit more Finally, we finish a windy podcast with a review of 'From Scotland With Love'.
11/01/1535m 1s

Welcome to 2015 - Frozen

Happy New Year to everyone. In the first podcast of 2015, we talk Michael Marra tribute nights , @AMWWFmusic , hogmanay travels, the lore of Australia for young Scots, honours, and our plans for the 2015 podcasts.   Chris talks to the Director of the Glasgow School of Sport.  And Lesley explains the appeal of 'Frozen'.
04/01/1528m 11s

2014 Review - T to Z

In the final part of our podcast review of 2014, we tackle 'T to Z'. From tourism through to the crowd sourced 'Z',  we also salute our listeners, 'Yes' shops ( various )  and the joys of Wiston Lodge and much more besides.   Although, this has been a four part series, there have been many people, places, events and topics which we could have mentioned but sadly, there wasn't enough time. However, the archive material is there for everyone to enjoy - please listen to what interests you.   And on the subject of 2015 - we will be back in the swing of things by Monday 12th January.
01/01/1532m 30s

2014 Review - M to S

In the third of the series of 2014 Reviews, we travel from M to S. We start with an example of 'M' and touch on politicians, newspapers, 'Question Times', boat festivals , TV stations and programmes as we finally land on 'S'.  As you can imagine, there is a fair bit of referendum but more happened. It is also worth pointing out that all the Lesley Riddoch podcasts are still there in the archive for you to download and listen to. So, if there is a topic you want to hear more about from 2014, please search the archive, it's bound to be there.   The final part of the 2014 Review will be posted on New Year's Day 2015, when we surface. So have a a happy Hogmanay and all the best for 2015 from us to you.
31/12/1437m 2s

2014 Review - G To L

In the second 2014 Review podcast, we tackle G to L. From Gordon to Land Reform via Norway, huts and 'everything is awesome'. We discover why musicians vote the way they do and the problems with brothers.
26/12/1442m 47s

2014 Review - A to F

This special series of  @lesleyriddoch podcasts tries to cram the year into A to Z. This one concentrates on A to F; from MPs in boiler suits to villages with big impacts. We also learn why Brian Cox is a sweet heart and which MEP Lesley went to school with. Alloa, Bella Caledonia, Commonwealth Games, Co-op Farmers and more are here in the first of this series of holiday break podcasts.
24/12/1434m 28s

Women's Prison and Radio Schedules

This week's podcast reflects on a week of 2 Common Weal meetings in Aberdeen and Leith and 2 Women for Independence meetings in Dalkeith and Edinburgh. The topic of the new women's prison in Inverclyde was raised and Lesley wrote about it in the Sunday Post. The petition started by the Edinburgh Women for Independence Group is here.   Finally we talked briefly about the changes to the BBC Radio Scotland schedule. There are some interesting local and international opportunities .
22/12/1420m 49s

Jim, Shops and Sheds

This week, a new Scottish Labour leader is elected, Lesley speaks in an Alloa charity shop and a shed project in Easterhouse closes. Elsewhere Nigel Farage and Russell Brand trade verbal blows and the Amazon review crowd deflate some hot air.
14/12/1438m 42s

Women's Quotas and Alex Returns

This week's @lesleyriddoch podcast muses on women's quotas  following a Nordic Horizons event and ponders the return of Alex Salmond.We also manage to cover Aye shops , Stirling Women for Independence, more Land Reform, and describe the arrival of 'Wee White Blossom'.
07/12/1431m 7s

Land and Smith

This week's @lesleyriddoch podcast looks at the latest Scottish Government proposals on 'Land Reform' and the immediate reactions to the Smith Commission Report. We also  talk about East Coast railways.
30/11/1432m 51s

The National

In this week's @lesleyriddoch podcast we discuss the new 'National' newspaper, fracking, marine energy, Radical Independence, 50:50 cabinets and round up the week's speaking engagements.
24/11/1440m 35s

Goodbye Hello ( Rock Star)

Lesley reports back from the SNP Conference which said farewell to Alex Salmond and welcomed its new leader; Nicola Sturgeon. What was the vibe? There was also a lot of talk about who might stand "under the SNP banner" in the 2015 UK General Election - Lesley's name is mentioned - what does she think? And finally, after numerous requests, more details of the community banks are revealed.
17/11/1439m 54s


This week we tackle TTIP and try to wrap our brains around it. Is it as bad as everyone seems to think it is? And is there any rationale for it?   Lesley spoke at the Rural Parliament and found a raft of issues to address. Also, there are updates on Restaurant Day, Nordic Horizons, Women's Quotas and 'White Blossom''
10/11/1434m 51s


This week's podcast tries to keep up with the various leadership contests. Scottish Labour seems to be having the media attention and if it is to be believed; it's a foregone conclusion. Is Jim Murphy the answer? Really? Lesley thinks not. She explains her reasoning. Also a quick round up of the week's events and more news about 'Blossom'.
02/11/1439m 20s

Johann and Timo

This week we recap the book festivals at Lismore and the Radical Book Fair. It is also saw the shock resignation of Johann Lamont the leader of the Scottish Labour Party and a fair few folk had something to say about that. Lesley had a slightly different take on the various commentators. Nordic Horizons also hosted Timo Santala , the co founder of 'Restaurant Day' and there is plenty to share about this event. We also construct an interesting new radio programme which is modelled on unlikely combinations.
26/10/1438m 51s

Good Enough

This week's podcast takes its title from something Lesley saw in Denmark, which she reveals at the tail end of the podcast. We also manage to talk around gender, equality, the nature of devo whatever and infrastructure. It also includes a number of meanders and shout outs.
19/10/1434m 35s

Brown, booze, books

Just back from Swansea for the first time in 30 plus years, Lesley finds Wales ‘different’. This week’s topics in the pod include; Gordon Brown, the Smith Commission, the Devo Max slate, the best kept secret about alcohol sales and the books we are supposed to read.
13/10/1438m 16s

Back From Holiday

We are back in the pod after a week’s break. Even though we were on holiday, Lesley still managed to keep across all the news stories. This included Alex Salmond on a phone in, Human Rights, Angela Constance and Women For Independence meeting in Perth. Lesley is pretty forthright about all these topics and reveals some of her plans for the next wee while.
05/10/1437m 48s

QT Plus

This week’s podcast starts with Lesley’s appearance on BBC’s Question Time. Lesley talks through the questions which ranged from the consequences of the Referendum, the Labour Party, and bombing IS. We also manage to tackle some thoughts about the new media rising in Scotland.
26/09/1442m 18s


It is difficult to categorize this podcast. It’s about the polling day and then the aftermath of the Referendum. We cover the media hype, the role of Alex Salmond  and the rise of 45. It’s a long listen and very emotional and “the referendum is over but the energy persists.” It is one of the most uplifting podcasts we’ve done
21/09/1446m 16s

Stories 2

In a quick follow up to the ‘Stories’ podcast this week, Lesley runs through the other stories that happened below the radar.  If you were worried that other countries are not interested in this referendum; then listen to whom Lesley has been talking to. Hint – it’s Australian TV and radio and 20 plus Norwegian students    We also talk to retired Lt Colonel Andrew Parrott who explains all the defence issues; simply and without panic.   And finally, we have tales from the front line to relate about broadcasters and balance. We also try to name check all the stars of the week.
17/09/1440m 4s


Here we are 3 days away from the referendum Vote and the pace has picked up. Lesley has been on the road constantly; Helmsdale, Portgower, Strathpeffer, Ardrishaig, Shawlands and the Glad Café. She was on the Radio 4 World Tonight Debate and watched the Big Big Debate. We talk about the lost purse, signs, the hunt for tshirts , flash mobs and ‘love’ in the campaign. There are lots of stories to tell.
14/09/1440m 0s

The 51 Breakthrough

This week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast comes from Orkney. Lesley has been talking about housing at the Orkney Science Fair and opening the Yes Shop in Kirkwall.  Ed Miliband has been in the news as well…but probably not in a good way. And there has been a YouGov poll which puts ‘Yes’ at 51% for the first time.
07/09/1430m 2s

Sweden and Pensions

Just back from a visit to Sweden, Lesley explains Radio Sweden, immigration and their upcoming general election. Turning to matters at home, pensions have been an issue raised in this phase of the Referendum Debate and Lesley expands on her thinking in her Scotsman column. Finally, she rounds up her experience on more meetings and watching the Big Debate alone abroad.
01/09/1436m 26s

Ref TV , Visibility

This week sees the last episode of Referendum TV and Lesley reflects on some of the highlights and unexpected aspects of working with fellow journalists and presenters. We also manage to squeeze in Scotland’s visibility, Leith Says Aye, Sarah Beattie Smith of the Green Party on ‘Citizen’s Income’, George Foulkes on Lords Reform, Otters For Yes, the West Midlands Police Commissioner  by-election and more besides. Finally, before the next  big ‘Salmond versus Darling’ debate; we tell you what the result is- this is a spoiler alert.
24/08/1442m 35s

More Big Issues

In this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast, we sweep up some of the big issues which have been mentioned in the newspapers. Lesley starts with her Sunday Post article “Let’s Do The World A Favour And Ditch Trident” – which has proved popular on Twitter.  We also touch on the current NHS role in the debate; “health is more than hospitals”. Finally we round up the vibe from various meetings and Referendum TV.
18/08/1429m 32s

Consequences Before Everything

In this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast,  Lesley expands on the reasoning in her recent Scotsman column “Let’s Concentrate on the Real Debate”. The whole referendum seems to have got snagged on the consequences of a vote rather than examining the rationale for independence. We also recorded the views of a number of tourists and visitors to Edinburgh who share their insights.
11/08/1427m 20s

The Debate about The Debate

This week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast talks about the STV Debate.  The debate itself kicked off more debate, analysis and polls. Referendum TV had its first transmission and we get a view from behind the scenes. We also review “The Pure, The Dead, and The Brilliant”. And finally, Alyn Smith MEP explains how Europe works and the missing issue in the campaign MSM debate.
08/08/1432m 43s

Games and Voices

This week we are talking the unexpected bonuses of the Commonwealth Games and the return of football. We also heard from Bruce Fummey with his unique take on the referendum. Lesley reveals a new media outlet; “Referendum TV’.
04/08/1432m 40s

The Commonwealth Games

In this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast and following Lesley's Scotsman column this week, we turn the Commonwealth Games upside down and give them a good shake. Men’s emotions, rugby support, the strength of TV pictures, the ‘new’ Glasgow kiss, amongst other things, get a good airing. We also talk cycling and badges.
28/07/1431m 21s

Heb Med

This week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast is an outside broadcast from the Western Isles, recorded in the ‘Mediterranean’ swelter of Luskentyre. Lesley has touring the Western Isles with Angus Brendan MacNeil MP as part of the “Blossom and Bu Choir’ tour. Together they cover the topics of remote communications on islands, including an interesting insight into how UK telecoms works and what 4G could do. Both are learning Nordic languages and are taking different things away from that experience. With 8 weeks to go; what’s the temperature of Westminster about the #indyref ? Will the Commonwealth Games have an effect ? And finally, the role of boiler suits in politics?  This podcast is full of the craic.
21/07/1429m 24s

Last Week This Week

We are trying to catch up on a busy week which included appearances on the Daily Politics , ‘Any Questions’, a hutting rally and some powerful writing about national security and child abuse at Westminster. Lesley takes us behind the scenes and explains what it’s like to prepare for these types of political programmes and offers an insight as to why some panels are more amenable than others and why you need panda jokes.
14/07/1435m 47s

Intimidation and Debate Fatigue

This week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast starts by trying to unpick BBC2’s “Scotland:For Richer or Poorer?”  and Channel4’s “The Great British Break-Up?”. Both programmes seem to illustrate a couple of problems which are leading to ‘debate fatigue’. There is also a mention of intimidation which Lesley wrote about and we examine that in a bit more detail. Lesley also offers a few thoughts about how this malaise in the #indyref could be addressed. Which in turn leads to some views about transport infrastructure priorities and Glasgow Airport Rail Link.   We also talk about  “Time To Dump Trident For Good" and Lesley reveals more of the  background to why the polls don’t always reflect the reality of Scots’ opinions about nuclear weapons.
08/07/1433m 26s

Kay and Brian

At the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, we met up with Kay and Brian. Both are keen 'skiffers' and involved in the local Portsoy community. It was good to get them into the pod to talk about the Festival, skiffs and, inevitably politics. If this referendum debate is about anything, it’s about understanding ourselves and listening to different voices.     We hope you enjoy this ‘special podcast’ and we’ll be back around the kitchen table momentarily.
04/07/1420m 57s

Belfast and Portsoy

Lesley spent a few days in Belfast with academics and wrote about how a commentator said  “Whatever the result, Scotland has already won.” Here she explains a bit more detail behind the headlines. We also manage to squeeze in references to Farr, Newtonmore, Mark Cousins and the forthcoming ‘Words from the Wild ‘ Book Festival on Knoydart. There is also a quick review of ‘A Dangerous Game’ , Anthony Baxter’s follow up to ‘You’ve Been Trumped’.   We also will be releasing a wee treat mid week; a short interview Chris did in Portsoy with some skiffers. Watch out for that.
30/06/1421m 46s

Major and Crossfire

John Major comes north and seems to be the latest heavyweight to offer advice as an opinion. And who should be the next poster person to appear?  Lesley also reflects on what it takes to talk to farmers at the Royal Highland Show. Surprisingly, it’s not all subsidies. And we had to talk about it. BBC Radio Scotland’s new programme; Crossfire. There were a number of opinions expressed and Lesley explains her thinking about the shortcomings of the format and more problems in the MSM.
23/06/1444m 43s

Geiteberg and Rowling

Lesley is back from the Geiteberg Folk Festival just outside Oslo. Whilst there, she managed to grab a few words with one of the Directors; Brian Ó hEadhra. Both share a love of all things Norwegian and Scottish for different reasons. Arriving back home, as the row over JK Rowling seems to continue to rumble along; Lesley has a few thoughts. Finally, this is a short 'start the week' podcast; we will be back at longer length later this week to catch up on more of the week's topics and issues.
16/06/1418m 56s

100 Days

It’s ‘100 days until’ and we’ve had ‘hope to nope’ from Obama, glorious leader jibes and the inevitable countdown to 18 September .We discuss these topics along with ‘Devo More’ and how the Queen deals with fainting.  Lesley is also frustrated by the media coverage and we learn which European country has the highest IT workers per capita.
09/06/1442m 42s

Ranty At Aunty

Popular BBC Scotland presenter Gary Robertson  is about to leave  and ‘Scotland 2014’  arrives – Lesley has written about her concerns. In this podcast, she explains why she thinks things have been going wrong. We also touch briefly on Blair and Bush and Tory tax proposals. And oddly enough, end on some good news …yes , you will have to listen to the very end.
02/06/1438m 48s


This week we are in Stromness on the ‘Blossom trail. In the light of the European election results, does this shed any light on Scottish politics? And you would have noticed that the Land Reform Review Group has reported and Lesley has blogged and written about it, but here she talks through some of the issues. Finally, there is a new proposal for a ‘national council’ – what is that all about?   Lots of questions and some answers in this week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast.
26/05/1428m 28s

Puffins To Intolerance

This week’s big themes are; relating to nature, energy companies mis-selling and the role of the ‘ethnic arguments’ in the constitutional debate.    We also manage to weave in seeing puffins and gannets at the Bass Rock, Carrying the Fire , St Johnstone, the language of Labour,  the new BBC referendum programmes, wrestling and the Atlas of Productivity.
19/05/1434m 2s

It's No' Fair

This week’s podcast is framed and named by William McIlvanney , who “observed at the Ullapool Book Festival this weekend, the Scottish slogan is not ‘wha daur meddle wi me’ but ‘wait a minute, that’s no’ fair’.” We talk through the week’s events; the Grove Community Garden opening in Fountainbridge Edinburgh, the rise of competitive gardening, the Radical Independence gathering in Inverness and the calls for ‘reconciliation’ and nearly everything else in between; including the role of 12 year olds to educate the world.   To keep up to date and interact with us; you can follow us both on Twitter ; @lesleyriddoch and @chrisg_smith …where we try and keep things moving right along.
13/05/1436m 45s

Bank Holiday Special

Whilst the rest of the country enjoys the May Bank Holiday, we are hard at work tackling the issues. Lesley thinks David Cameron should try a ‘zero hours’ contract.The whole issue of land reform bubbles up again with news about the Coop sale  and a hard hitting Scotsman column from Lesley.  We discuss the question; land reform and a referendum campaign – how do they fit together?   We also discuss Fintry’s FRESh community awards and the Big Ref Debate… ideas and lessons from both, it would seem.
05/05/1438m 14s

Getting Down To Business

As the CBI changes its mind, is Lesley conducting a witch hunt? Renaissance man Icelander Halldór Guðmundsson  came to call about Harpa at the latest Nordic Horizons meeting. He did talk about Harpa and a number of other fascinating Icelandic topics in a way which prompted a lot of thought.   Finally, Lesley is just back from Dunoon, Arran and Islay where she had a great time talking about ‘Blossom’. There were a lot of people who helped on the way to a great series..but she also discovers local issues around land and planning. She also outlines the differences between ‘events’ and ‘community meetings’…and the artist was Jan Ferguson…
29/04/1430m 8s

Things out of our control

This week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast is still reeling from the cyber attack at our Typepad blog hosts. So we started to speculate on other things outwith our control. The list starts with the BBC Referendum debate in Orkney. Was this a format not suited to a debate? A debate not suited to the format. And how did this contrast with the Science Festival Energy Referendum Debate ; ‘The Perfect Mix’ ? Lesley doesn’t write the headlines in the Sunday Post either and has a few things to say about Eck and subs.   Finally we wrap up with the challenges of islands, explore ‘inalienable’, ‘Our islands, our future’ and discuss the good news from Community Land Scotland.
21/04/1437m 16s

Updates, Energy and Defence

After a busy period of activity; there are updates to deliver and comments to be made. The e-petition from Carolyn Leckie has clearly influenced a decision not to demolish the Red Road Flats as a part of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. There was a public meeting in Blairgowrie to discuss how to proceed with the Co-operative group and their sale of Rosemount Farm. After a brief visit to Easdale on the Blossom Tour, the whole topic of ‘energy’ came up. Lesley wrote about the subject in response to Brian Wilson amongst others. If you want to understand the role of renewable energy in the constitutional debate, Lesley does a master class here in this week’s pod. And after interventions from former military figures, the International Development secretary and Polly Toynbee; we try and pick facts from the fear.   And as the SNP wheel out new female cabinet members, Lesley has a few thoughts on the historic role of women in this debate.
14/04/1442m 3s

The Anti trident rally, tangling with a Tory and Red Road

In a packed Podcast this week, Lesley talks about the Anti-trident rally in Glasgow and reflects on the passing of Margo MacDonald. Moving along to the Aye Write debate, Lesley locked horns with Rory Stewart the Tory MP about ‘modernity’ amongst other things. All of which took place in Glasgow which is set to ‘wow the world’ by blowing up the Red Road tower blocks – is this a good idea and a fitting way to open the Commonwealth Games?   Finally we explore some of the issues around today’s Scotsman column; including the comments.
07/04/1434m 54s

Kokar, Coop and the Big Beasts

Lesley is travelling this week in the Aland Islands and reports back on the big international debate which is facing Finland. A hint; it’s about NATO and Putin. Back home Lesley has blogged and written about the Co-op but now there is a campaign involving the potential community purchase of Rosemount Farm near Blairgowrie ( @rosemountcoop ) which she explains in some detail. And over the last weekend, there have been calls for the big hitters, the big beasts of the Labour Party to get stuck into the constitutional debate. Tavish Scott was the voice of the concern and Lesley reacted in print. Here she explains why “the day of the wee, once timorous beasties has finally arrived.” And, Lesley had a few words for the R&A in the Sunday Post.   Finally, apologies for the sound quality, but it was a long VOIP call. Lesley will be back home next week.
31/03/1424m 38s

Renewables Tory Bingo Scotlab

This week’s @Lesleyriddoch podcast picks up on the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change’s presentation to the Scottish Renewables Conference. On the basis of what he said and hasn’t done; it’s a continuing surprise that renewables and renewable energy don’t feature more prominently in the current constitutional debate.  It’s a similar picture as we turn to Grant Shapps’ current problems; #ToryBingo. Lesley wrote about this in the Sunday Post and here we speculate more about the Budget and its implications.  Lesley shared some late night radio magic with the irrepressible @stephennolan at the Scottish Labour Conference. Lesley gets a mixed reception from delegates. She also has good things to say about @keziadugdale and some mixed views about the leaders’ speeches.  Finally – there is plea for Nordic Horizons’ neutrality. Please enjoy this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast responsibly and share generously.
24/03/1428m 7s

Europe, the BBC and Renewables

In this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast, we reflect on an interesting event  with The European Movement in Scotland and 5 Million Questions; a lively debate about Europe and the Scottish Referendum. Which leads onto the current spat  about Andrew Marr and Barroso…and thence to the BBC and its current take on the Referendum.  And the demise of the ‘Headlines’ programme. And the Vikings in England.   And finally, with the Scottish Renewables Conference this coming week, we talk TESLA, batteries and the Westminster hold on renewable progress.
16/03/1432m 33s

Unmerited Awe

This week, we discuss the continuing discussion of ‘bad news business’ which Lesley wrote about in her Newsnet Scotland blog . What is the mystique of business which seems to invoke an unmerited awe for business leaders? Especially when the Co-op are the latest to announce big problems in their core business model. In a similar vein, Gordon Brown seems to have made another maiden speech in his intervention in the constitutional debate. Likewise, Sir Menzies Campbell has launched the ‘Campbell ll’ report. Is there a consensus growing in the Union.   Finally, Lesley pays her own personal tribute to the late Professor Alisa McKay and Bob Crow.
11/03/1427m 40s

The Rammy and Farmers

This week Nicola Sturgeon and Johann Lamont met in the latest STV debate and talked over each other. This has been termed ‘the stairheid rammy’. Lesley thinks there is more to it than simple disagreement. In business news this week, the Co-op are about to sell farms and won’t split them up, Holyrood are about to look at farming subsidies and Standard Life are uncertain. Lesley thumps the table.   Finally, Aberdeen and Lesley have a wonderful ‘Blossom’ experience.
03/03/1430m 54s

Everything is awesome

The lore of the Lego Movie, peripatetic Cabinets and their meetings, Sovereign Funds, the ‘Top Islands’ ,curling and what Jackie Bird did when she visited . As ever, Lesley manages to weave a narrative in between this varied range of topics. ( She wrote about the Trip Advisor awards for Lewis and Harris in the Sunday Post and the meetings of the UK and Scottish Cabinets in Aberdeen in the Scotsman.)
24/02/1429m 20s

The Osborne and The Donald

In the #indyref ping pong match, does the way you deliver your messages count? Lesley thinks there may be something to it. And does it matter how you treat Bernard Posonby? And is the EU membership question new? It’s the week where Donald Trump stopped loving Scotland and its’ wind turbines. Are we going to miss him and do you think he has checked Ireland for turbines?   All these questions and others, in this week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast
18/02/1429m 3s

Currency Union Special

The Guardian, late last night, led with a story about George Osborne coming north later this week to dash the chances of a currency union. It’s a topic we’ve not really covered in the podcasts over the recent past. So George, Ed and Danny prompted Lesley to clear the pod studio and assemble a few thoughts in response. Is this a ‘special’ pod or a ‘dinghy’ pod trailing after the main @lesleyriddoch podcast; it’s up to you. Certainly, Lesley sees this intervention as a potential gamechanger in the flow of the #indyref debate.     And, there are some new ways of accessing the podcast; there is a ‘Lesley Riddoch Podcast’ page over at Facebook . You can get the Lesley Riddoch Podcast on a free subscription on iTunes here.  And, if Android is your platform of choice, we hear good things about ‘Pocketcasts’  - any listener feedback on this one would be appreciated. As ever, we make these podcasts from scratch each, so it’s delivered fresh, straight from the Feisty Studios to you each week-ish.
12/02/1433m 13s

No wooing

This week Lesley talks about the ‘Wooing the undecided voter’ which she wrote about for Newsnet Scotland. At the same time, David Cameron was urging the English, Welsh and Northern Irish to woo the Scots to ‘No’ by showing and sharing the love. At the weekend, Lesley also crossed swords with David Aaronovitch over the contention ‘English, Scottish? Too close to separate over a range of attitudes’. Wings Over Scotland provided a summary and the audio; but here Lesley outlines her thinking and the background to their clash. And, finally, as the Scottish Labour Party prepares to unleash its proposals for devolution post ‘No’, the rumours are not setting the heather alight or so Lesley thinks. And a timely reminder, you can get the Lesley Riddoch Podcast on a free subscription on iTunes here. It’s delivered fresh, straight from the Feisty Studios to you each week.
10/02/1426m 3s


This week Lesley has been prompted to think about the role supermarkets have in educating our youngsters. If you follow Lesley on Twitter, you will know this is a hot topic. But are all corporate bodies bad? The interventions of Alistair Carmichael, Tom Hunter and Mr Bean all get woven into the latest state of the #indyref debate. As Lesley also tackles the petty side of immigration, following emails from those affected by a distressing anomaly in policy.
03/02/1439m 28s

Board Women and £500

This week Lesley wrote about the Scottish Government’s “backing a quota to enforce 40 per cent representation of women on all public and company boards – after a Yes vote.”  She also talks through the background to this article which includes the exchanges on twitter of Nicola Sturgeon, Shona Robison, Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Marra as they worked through the policy or not on a wet Sunday afternoon. And could you get the Scots to change their mind for £500 ? Apparently so, if you believe the latest polls. In the week where humour raises its head in the referendum debate; we worry about the panto stars, Jim Murphy and cybernats. And Lesley has been swimming. Rant alert. Was it Michael Jamieson, the Olympic Silver Medallist, who was her source of annoyance or inspiration in the crowded lanes? You will need to listen to find out.
27/01/1432m 12s

Hydro Shares, Wood

This week, Lesley reveals how she has bought shares for the first time. Naturally, it’s in a community energy scheme ; Garmony Hydro on Mull. She explains some of the reasons and muses about wood, community energy and even, scavenger licences from the Forestry Commission. We manage to bring Bain and Co, Newburgh coffee mornings and building societies into the equation. And we almost finish on marine energy; Lesley explains the difference between wave and tidal. However, this week, you must listen to the end, because there is a wee clarification.
20/01/1430m 35s

Pick a day

After Fat Cat Wednesday and Groundhog Day, it was obvious we needed to talk about days. But soon we were on to the plight of Premiership Football managers, Commonwealth Games sponsors, #indyrefski, why Lesley is saying no to ‘Yes’, whether ‘facts is facts’ and the excellent Ruter.
15/01/1432m 1s

Are we invisible?

Scotland is the midst of a constitutional debate and our near neighbours seem to have no opinions, according to Lesley in Newsnet Scotland. We discuss some of the reasons. One of the ideas to enliven the debate was a TV Debate. If David Cameron won’t face Alex Salmond for a variety of reasons, are there better choices? How about lining up celebrities? Eddi Reader, Eddie Izzard, Kevin Bridges, Jim Davidson, Brian Cox and George Galloway are the names in the frame. We also touch on a great piece by Pat Kane  in the excellent Bella Caledonia ( as ever ) and discover a new leftish movement out there; Mair nor a rock wind.
06/01/1434m 49s

Between Years

In the last @lesleyriddoch podcast of 2013, we try to dodge around and corral the issues of the season. These include the ‘big’ events for 2014, food and drink, honours, and how they fit in Scotland today. We start by attempting to consign a series of expressions, tropes and memes to 2013.
31/12/1332m 32s

Nigella, Trains and Papers

Nigella Lawson of cooking fame has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast considers the fall out of the case and tries to make some sense of it all. In a week when Lesley was being whisked around Helsinki by trams, we stop to ponder the latest European Commission survey on the public opinion on trains. The Scotsman also revealed this week it was to move premises. This simple statement provoked an interesting ‘twitter’ storm with some surprising tangents.
23/12/1330m 50s

Not Snarky

In this week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast, we discuss the Douglas Alexander intervention into the referendum debate. Lesley’s approach is to try to be ‘not snarky’ as she gets stuck into the arguments. The topic of supermarkets and future food price gets a good chewing. Is it a real worry?  Some, like Dig In Bruntsfield and the Fife Diet folks might see this as an opportunity. And we also touch on the positive ideas out of recent Lighthouse exhibitions. And then, there is Oslo. Lesley has been on another field trip, eventful as ever. And she comes back full of stories of bread, trams and transport. There’s also advance notice of the next Nordic Horizons meeting which promises to be very good on integrated public transport a la Ruter.
11/12/1329m 21s

The Silence of the Prams

This week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast; ‘Scotland’s Future’ – the White Paper gets released, childcare gets discussed or not, and there’s a lot of television about. There are mentions of Alan Little’s excellent ‘Our Friends in the North’, Scotland Tonight’s use of ‘heng oots’, the riveting spectacle of Eddi Reader on Question Time and that debate between   Nicola and Alistair . And Chris explains what it is like to meet the Ice Queen, Irene Macdougall of Dundee Rep who is in this year’s Christmas show, “The Big Friendly Giant”. (And thanks to Chris Cook for the inspirational title of this week’s Pod )
02/12/1336m 30s

Radical White Papers

This week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast has Lesley fresh back from the WEA in Sheffield and the Radical Independence Campaign event in Glasgow on November 23. Two very different experiences as she describes them. Looking forward, this week will see the long anticipated White Paper which will answer questions. Lesley will be spending some time this week talking about this document; rumoured to be 700+ pages. We discuss if it’s all the possible answers or none – or somewhere in between. We also briefly talk about the role of negotiations in key policy areas. Especially, in the light of the recent Iranian Nuclear agreements; would it be possible to avoid a ‘McWeimar Republic’? And, it wouldn’t be a @lesleyriddoch Podcast without gratuitous mentions of things Nordic, music of the 70/80s and Volvos. They are all there.
25/11/1342m 16s

Health Visitors and Community Treats

This week’s @lesleyriddoch podcast develops some of the themes about health visitors and the continuing debate about ‘early years’. And after a dander around Assynt and Ullapool; the importance of community cinema, head torches, Dundee rep becomes clear. The Blossom audience in Lochinver is filled with the folk from the early evening screening of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ and a helpful member of the audience offers to illuminate the stage with a head torch. Saturday night in the Ceilidh Place hosts a fantastic production of ‘Promises, Promises’ with Ann Louise Ross. And finally, after a Mike Vickers suggestion and a Borgen episode, could there be the need for a new party; a ‘Community Action’ party?
18/11/1328m 13s

Too much democracy

In a week where elections to NHS Health Boards are being wound up as ‘a good idea’, we discuss whether there is too much democracy. Is the NHS too difficult to engage with, anyway? If there is too much democracy, is the referendum too serious? Lesley spots a new feature from her last speaking engagement; there might be hope. And finally, Borgen returns. So why are we so in love with long running complex TV series? It’s all to do with Saturday night , apparently.
12/11/1325m 30s

Tom Johnston,Shipbuilding ,Cooperation

This week’s @lesleyriddoch Podcast is full of lectures. From Kirkintilloch; where Lesley reflected on the legacy of Tom Johnston and the community spirit to Govan and the latest news about shipbuilding. In common with a lot of bloggers, like Derek Bateman, Lesley has a different view of the proceedings, unlike the MSM. If you didn’t make it along to the excellent Nordic Horizons event; ‘Nordic Cooperation with Mary Hilson and Johan Strang, Lesley gives you the highlights about how the Nordic nations are practically working together. (Still worth listening to a recording of the event…it’s lively and thought provoking.) And …finally, there’s news of another insight into Copenhagen, coming in December at the next Nordic Horizons meeting.
07/11/1323m 54s

London Dundee Energy

Lesley arrives hotfoot from a literary Dundee and a wind blasted London. In Dundee, she meets the family that reads together and has an AL Kennedy moment. In London, she had been taking part in a debate at the Institute for Government. Her verdict; a different type of question and questioner.   And, what about energy? Is there anything new to say? Well, you can always rely on Dundee to delight. And so it does, with tales of community energy.
30/10/1330m 23s

Any Questions, Scottish Money, SNP Conf and the Centre for Human Ecology

Fresh from an appearance on ‘Any Question’ on BBC Radio 4 from Rothbury, Lesley still has points and observations to make about her fellow panellists. Energy came up as a topic and Lesley has more to say on the subject in response to David Willetts’ assertions. Lesley also reveals what local people said to her following the recording and the audience’s surprising reaction to the Scottish independence debate. She also had occasion to use a machine in London which would not take Scottish notes. The resulting twitterstrom threw up some interesting points. Lesley also managed to have an eventful time at the SNP Conference in Perth and has a tale to tell. And, on the road with ‘Blossom’, there was a very interesting meeting at the Centre for Human Ecology which prompted lots of questions. Some of which we discuss.
23/10/1332m 51s

Moray and Guest Yes

This week Lesley talks about giving the keynote at the Moray College graduation ceremony and gets a good view of the local issues which are niggling folks in Moray. It’s libraries mainly. And how does that link back to being a guest speaker at the Yes group in Moray? And is ‘Vaping’ real smoking or not? Finally, guess what Lesley thinks about ‘Sunshine On Leith’. This week’s podcast contains all the answers.
14/10/1328m 41s

Women's Football, Books and Radicals

Scotland Women's Football team put 7 past Bosnia but it's Tam Cowan's comments that make the news. Equally, Lesley visits  the Wigtown Book Festival and finds as ever; feisty conversations, women who lend watches and a whole different spin on the independence debate. And then there was the Green Party Conference in Inverness, Lesley reports back from the front line.