Feisty Productions
Podcasts and programmes from Lesley Riddoch and the team at Feisty Productions

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.

Direct download: Senator_Neale_Richmond_interview.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:51pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: Respect_yourself.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 12:05pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Its_a_legal_matter.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 6:42pm UTC

 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.

 

 

Direct download: Decisions_decisions.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 5:25pm UTC

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).

 

Direct download: The_VTay.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:40pm UTC

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

Direct download: Haud_yir_wheesht.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 12:56pm UTC

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?

Direct download: Facts_are_chiels_that_winna_ding.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:11pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Testing_times.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 12:27pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Up_the_wrang_dreel.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 2:01pm UTC

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.......

 

Direct download: Bees_make_honey.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:34pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: A_state_of_chassis.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 1:18pm UTC

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.

 

Direct download: Ca_Canny.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:57pm UTC

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.

 

Direct download: The_Holyrood_Shuffle.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 12:50pm UTC

HU!

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!!!

 

 

Direct download: HU.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 6:21pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Iceland_Special_with_Katrin_Oddsdottir.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 7:15pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Happy_Together.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:02pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: As_ithers_see_us.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 8:07pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: Lords_save_us.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:53pm UTC

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?

 

Direct download: A_game_of_two_halves.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:40pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Boxesbevvy_and_beliefs.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 4:36pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: The_7_Year_Hitch.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 4:40pm UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: Rivers_of_Love.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 5:23pm UTC

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.

 

 

 

Direct download: The_gemmes_up_the_pole.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 11:55am UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: Laws_and_borders.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 7:14pm UTC

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

 

Direct download: Polls_Apart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:12pm UTC

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.

Direct download: A_little_night_musing.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 11:03pm UTC

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)

Direct download: Skye_News.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 2:04pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Oh_Vienna.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 3:02pm UTC

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.

Direct download: Value_Judgements.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 10:23am UTC

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.

 

 

Direct download: Norwegian_Wooed.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 12:55pm UTC

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......

 

 

Direct download: Forest_Grump.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 1:41pm UTC

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

Direct download: A_Subordinate_Clause.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 10:17am UTC

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.

Direct download: The_Health_of_Nations.mp3
Category:The Lesley Riddoch Podcast -- posted at: 2:49pm UTC