Sun, 15 July 2018
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.
Thu, 5 July 2018
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.
Sat, 30 June 2018
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.
Fri, 22 June 2018
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!!!
Wed, 13 June 2018
On the day that Ian Blackford led a walk out of SNP MPs at PMQs in protest at the Westminster Brexit power grab Lesley spoke with Katrin Oddsdóttir, who features in Lesley's latest film in the Nation series.
Katrin was one of 25 members of the Constitution Council of Iceland, which drafted a new constitution for the country in 2011.
Katrin has been a political activist from early age, but became known in Iceland after delivering a radical political speech at mass protests in 2009 while still a law student. She now works as a human rights lawyer.
This week's recording is courtesy of the inimitable Al of Phantom Power. Cheers chum.
Thu, 7 June 2018
After, in my mind at least, the best intro I've ever done, Lesley tries to make sense of the recent YouGov poll which showed Scots to be more optimistic about the future than either the Welsh or English.
She's "assisted" in this by the revelation that I was part of the group of Scots surveyed.
We can't escape Brexit, no matter how much we want to, and today's announcement of the UK's "backstop" proposals and the Irish government's reaction to it, is our next talking point.
Closely followed by our thoughts on the leaked "Doomsday" document drawn up by senior civil servants predicting that Britain would be hit with shortages of medicine, fuel and food within a fortnight if the UK tried to leave the EU without a trade agreement.
It's the 150th anniversary of the birth of James Connolly and as commemorative events are held here in Scotland I muse on the irony of, arch unionist "left wing firebrand", George Galloway speaking at one in Edinburgh.
All of this plus the usual nonsense including Lev Yashin's link with Father Ted, my Iceland football top, and an extra secret track.
Tue, 29 May 2018
Once again Lesley has returned from another trip away. This time it's the Orkney Folk Festival and, once again, we’re struck by the power of music to inspire and move.
Monday night saw the launch of Lesley's newest project, “Nation", a series of films on our nearest, northern neighbours, made in association with the fantastic Phantom Power.
And we begin the podcast with a review and discussion on the first of these, Faroe Islands-the connected nation.
Here's the link; https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nation
It was a momentous week in Ireland as the nation voted overwhelmingly to repeal Section 8 of the constitution.
We reflect not only on the importance of this decision but its potential impact on Irish reunification given the stance on social issues of the DUP.
Next you hear our surprising take on the Scottish Growth Commission Report.
Finally, Lesley returns to Orkney and its innovations in green energy generation driven by the necessity of being ignored by the big energy providers.
Fri, 18 May 2018
After a bombshell of an opening, within which I tell possibly the most niche joke ever, we get back down to business with reflections on this week's shenanigans in the House of Lords.
Lesley's recent gig in Bearsden sparks a debate, wherein I defend the First Minister's softly softly approach, on whether the SNP leadership is playing it too safe on Indyref 2.
As May and the Brexiteers play fast and loose with the Irish border issue are there signs that "liberal unionists" are now thinking the unthinkable over Irish reunification?
All of this plus, evangelical Zionists, the discovery that Scotland is less popular than Gibraltar with English voters, tomorrow's Scottish Cup Final and Lesley's reaction to Willo Flood leaving Tannadice.
Sun, 13 May 2018
We begin this podcast with my flummoxing Lesley by referencing obscure 60's novelty R n B and my great week of live gigs.
The sad death of Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit and the reaction of Prof Tom Gallagher to Nicola Sturgeon's message of condolence means we take a more serious tone and I reflect on decency in public discourse.
Lesley turns her attention to that front-page photo and article on the AUOB march in last Sunday's Herald and wonders if it's three strikes and you're out after Angela Haggerty's ill judged "outing" tweet.
It's Brexit, yet again, with appearances on the Sunday shows by Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Brexiteer Ian Duncan-Smith. The delusion that all will be well in the best of all possible post EU worlds for the UK gets a real "doing" by Lesley.
It's all promises, promises by Richard Leonard and Labour as they arrive late to the protect devolution party and trot out their federal solution to the crisis of the British state.
The second half of the podcast is a conversation between Lesley and Angus Brendan MacNeil at the Arctic Circle Faroe Islands Forum. What can we learn from this other devolved region?
Thu, 3 May 2018
I open by stunning Lesley with Chris McEleny's "dream team" Yes campaign leadership suggestion. This leads Lesley into her thoughts on just what shape any future independence campaign should and could take and what role any "leader" would be permitted by the media.
It's the local elections in England and I succeed, yet again, in surprising Lesley with my revelations on the voting system used. Both of us try to get to grips with the arcane structure of local government down south, and the complexities of making sense of the results.
We return to independence and we've often speculated on just how No voters could be convinced to change their minds. I try to explain the research of neuropsychologist Professor Tali Sharot and what, if anything, it can contribute to strategies on how to do this. Judge for yourselves how successful I am.
Kevin McKenna's thought provoking article in the National on the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol provides a springboard for a discussion on the role of drink in Scottish society, the impact of its abuse in working class communities, and whether this is simply another nanny state measure enacted by the middle classes.
Finally, we review FMQs, in particular Miles Briggs' attack on the Baby Box scheme, and David Mundell's appearances before two committees at the Scottish Parliament.
Plus there's the usual old toot including a lesson in Dundonian and more than any of you wanted to know about the play-offs for the SPFL.