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)

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes 

We are also now to be found on youtube

P.S. If you’d like to help this and the other podcasts keep going, please go here.

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.

Poseidon

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”.

For A’ That 42 – Margo And Beyond

nonsenseFor the 42nd episode of the For A’ That podcast Andrew and I were joined for the first time by Vonny Moyes who is the Arts Editor for The Skinny magazine and also wrote a marvellous article over at National Collective recently. Our returning guest this time was Gary Dunion, who, amongst a number of other things is the Communications Director for the Scottish Greens.

The first thing we discussed was the passing of Margo MacDonald, and how the parliament may well be a much poorer place without her. We were lucky to have a number of different perspectives on this. Gary in particular had been working with her recently and had an interesting story to tell.

From an interesting story to a frankly bizarre one. We’re used to better together prophecies of financial doom or some such other thing, but George Robertson took it on himself to make a prediction of actual apocalyptic doom should Scotland go independent, with the Forces of Darkness being unleashed (artists rendition above).

Gravely DisappointedThis forced us to bring our own big guns out and so we got to it. In fact we unleashed our dogs of war, with grave consequences for Andrew.

Vonny had some interesting comments on the importance of language in the whole debate, and we also put our heads together to try and predict where the next scare story could possibly go – have they run out or have they used them all up too fast?

There’s much more besides in the latest episode, and I haven’t even mentioned Douglas Adams in the introduction either.

Hope you enjoy (and if you feel up to helping us along with our running costs you can pop us a donation too.)

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

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes

We are also now to be found on youtube

For Your Listening Pleasure – 3 – Astronomy Cast

This is the third in a little series explaining about podcasts I think are great – what can I say, I like the medium!

large_webI think Astronomy Cast is actually the first podcast I started listening to. They have now done probably 450 episodes (the numbering doesn’t take into account the question shows they’ve done), and I’ve listened to them all. It’s been going for 8 years and if you look through the back catalogue you are sure to find something to interest you.

The host is Dr Fraser Cain, who also runs Universe Today. He plays the everyman interviewer (even though he is absolutely by no means ignorant of the subjects which they address) who is having the week’s topic explained to him by the expert, who is Dr Pamela Gay.

The explanations of various astronomical phenomenon are clear without being too simplistic or too complicated and it’s always a good listen.

I won’t say any more other than that I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

 

 

 

The Scottish Independence Podcast 66 – Alistair Davidson

7GAbpwBqFor the 66th episode of the Scottish Independence Podcast I spoke with Alistair Davidson.

Alistair runs a small think tank called the Centre for Technology and Society and will be writing the digital rights part of the Reid Foundation‘s Common Weal project.

He also blogs here.

We spoke about the use of social media in the campaign so far but I suppose the juicier parts of the interview were those explaining what Snowden really means, as although Glenn Greenwald defended himself brilliantly in that famous interview, we didn’t actually get any nearer to what was going on.

We also discussed how an Independent Scotland could make itself safer in terms of digital security and also how it could do better for itself in the digital industry.

Hope you enjoy…

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

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes 

We are also now to be found on youtube

P.S. If you’d like to help this and the other podcasts keep going, please go here.