The Scottish Independence Podcast 67 – Margo MacDonald

23887163A few months ago, after I’d interviewed a couple of MSPs (John Finnie and Jean Urquhart), I asked them and their assistants if they would be able to put me in touch with Margo MacDonald or her assistant, and then maybe we could set something up.

I got the contact for her assistant and it seemed she was willing to come on and give the show a try, but  I should  ask again a bit later on when she had more time.

Unfortunately, we never got round to it before she passed away.

However, what I’ve done here is to put together some audio of her speeches and various appearances throughout her career.

They go from the fun, funny and flippant to the extremely serious end of the spectrum. Some of them are TV or radio interviews, some of them are her interventions in the Scottish Parliament and there are some other interesting snippets in there too.

Regular listeners will know that the guest on the show chooses the tune. That not being possible, I did some digging around and it seems she liked country music, so I put some of that in too.

Margo-Macdonald2_2872599cHope you enjoy…

This is the direct download link (right click and save as)

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Scottish Birds Of Prey Being Mass-Poisoned

A disturbing story from the website Focusing On Wildlife

Red-kite-in-flight-007Bird experts believe that one of the UK’s most valued bird of prey colonies is being targeted after 16 raptors were found dead from poisoning in a small area of the Highlands. The bodies of 12 red kites and four buzzards have been recovered over the past two weeks within a two-square-mile area on the Black Isle, north of Inverness, in what ornithologists suspect is the largest mass poisoning of birds recorded.

It is already the largest number of red kites killed in a single cluster in the UK in modern times, and the largest number of raptors suspected of being poisoned in the same area in Scotland, after decades of systematic persecution by gamekeepers and farmers.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced it was doubling its reward for a successful prosecution in the case to £10,000.


The attacks appear to be deliberately targeting the core breeding area, which has been one of the two main reintroduction sites for the species in the UK along with the Chilterns, west of London, for the past 25 years. It is a significant setback to a successful campaign led by Scottish government ministers to combat bird of prey persecution, which is illegal under wildlife conservation laws: after a record number of incidents five years ago, the number of poisoning incidents fell to three in 2012, and then six last year.

The RSPB is certain the bird’s numbers are being suppressed by deliberate persecution by grouse shooting estates, or as a result of attacks by gamekeepers on birds of prey generally. One recent study found that between 1999 and 2006, an estimated 166 red kites from the Black Isle were poisoned.

The full story is here.

A Forward-Looking Britain

ModernSo it came out the other day that the First Sea Lord (I’ll come back to that very shortly) isn’t entirely happy about the prospects for the currently totally ruling-the-waves British Navy.

You know, that’s the one that has one aircraft carrier with no aircraft and another one mothballed, all at great expense.

You see, to keep a modern force (see photo) with modern capabilities (see previous paragraph), it seems we need to keep the union.

It’s an absurdity.


My problem though, is a bit different. Even though it’s all no more absurd than many of the other things we’ve been hearing over the indyref period, I just find it difficult to take anyone walking around called The First Sea Lord seriously.

I’ve no idea if he is a nice man or not, even if his statements seem more political than operational.

It’s just that the insistence on the pomp and circumstance that makes you arrive at the sort of place where people are walking round with these sort of titles, and we’re supposed to take them seriously, is a clear indication of a state that is living in the past.

It reminds me of the book The Last King Of Scotland in which it was written that Idi Amin had given himself the full title of…

His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.

Again, I refer you to the Bateman article on the matter, he seems to have got the idea.

Three New Common Weal Reports

Childhood1-212x300Three new reports have been published by the Reid Foundation.

The first suggests that a 30 hour working week would be good for all. “The report – by Pat Kane, Gillian Wales, Isobel Lindsay and Ben Wray – outlines the harm overwork is doing to our economy, society and environment”. You can find that one here.

The second “considers how the Common Weal can connect to children and young people’s  concepts of social justice”. That one is here.

The third is “how an independent Scotland could be an opportunity to improve work environments for all.  The Occupational and Environmental Health and Research group at Stirling University have produced a report on how workplace injuries could be drastically reduced in an independent Scotland by learning from Nordic models of occupational health and safety”. That one is here

Happy reading.

The Nth Degree

I have no recollection who spoke at my graduation ceremony. Probably an entrepreneur or retired civil servant or something, like I said, I really can’t remember as it is a more than a decade ago now.

Here however, is one I wouldn’t have forgotten and in the spirit of what he says, I’m sharing with anyone who’d like to watch it here as it is something I like, and it’s nice to be “pro-stuff”.