The Scottish Independence Podcast 130 – Inside The Common Space

FireShot Screen Capture #300 - 'Media Tweets by CommonSpace (@TheCommonSpace) I Twitter' - twitter_com_TheCommonSpace_media.pngFor the 130th episode of The Scottish Independence Podcast, I went along to the Glasgow office of the Common Space.

I tried to find out how the project got started, who works there, how they work and their plans for the future.

I spoke with Angela Haggerty, Ben Wray, Aidan McCrae, Stuart Rodger, Alice Muir, Maxine Blaine (who definitely isn’t Robin McAlpine) and Tiffany Kane.

CpKaZR7WIAAKIRoListening to these conversations, I think you’ll get a feel for who is working there and their motivations. Those motivations and ambitions are journalistic, political, economic, technological and others.

And what have ostriches got to do with anything?

Hope you enjoy.

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Side By Side

Two interviews here side by side, for two people who will never be side by side in just about anything.

Every time I see them on TV together I can’t help thinking that Kirsty Wark has such a visceral hatred for Alex Salmond that when she is confronted with him she leaves the realm of the professional interviewer and enters that of the outraged teenager…

Paxman Is Becoming Increasingly Absurd

We’ve all seen that interviewees are getting the better of Jeremy Paxman more and more often. From his occasional spats with Salmond, to the Prime Minister of Iceland, a former podcast guest of mine and a memorable kicking he got from a Plaid Cymru economist, we’ve all seen it happening.

He seems determined now just to be curmudgeonly for the sake of it but with no point in site. He has also been described as “certainly the picture of the patronising Englishman”.

But it isn’t just politics. I was sitting on the train happily listening to a BBC science program (at time of writing it’s the second show down the list) and even they now seem to be taking potshots at him.

So I cut this together in case you missed it…


Italo Svevo (real name Aron Ettore Schmitz) is not one of the best-known Italian writers outside of Italy. In fact, were it not for the intervention of James Joyce, he probably wouldn’t be particularly well-known in Italy itself.

It is an interesting story. Joyce was tutoring Schmitz in English and read some of his work. He liked Zeno’s Conscience* so much that he sent it away to a publisher in France who translated it and published it. The French critics praised it highly.

Due to the success in France, his writing worked its way back into Italy where he began to become more famous.

A few months ago I read a short later work called A Perfect Hoax (Una Burla Riuscita) which I found quite amusing and insightful. I therefore thought it might be good to try the more famed work Zeno’s Conscience. It is funny but I have to say that something that caught my eye particularly was this quote which was in a much more serious tone…

You arrive at murder through love or hate; it is only through wickedness that you propagandise murder.

Cartoon from The Pleb

* In other translations it is called The Confessions of Zeno which is a bit of a copout of a name because it sidesteps the problem that in Italian the word used is “coscienza”, which can mean “conscience” or “consciousness”.


I am not one to defend the Scotsman (newspaper) but check out these two headlines for the same story in Scotland’s 2 biggest biggest broadsheets. The first is from the Herald and the second is from the Scotsman…

£5m centre at Bannockburn to cash in on Scots history


New centre aims to recapture experience of Bannockburn

Both of those give a markedly different impression about what is going on.

The content of the stories is basically similar but doesn’t the Herald one leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth?



There was a BBC report the other day saying this…

Climate target ‘could cost £8bn’

The cost to the taxpayer of meeting Scotland’s climate change target has been put at about £8bn by 2020.


Scotland has set one of the world’s most ambitious targets for cutting emissions.

The Climate Change Act passed by Holyrood last year aims to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

But BBC Scotland business editor Douglas Fraser said there was no estimate of what the targets would cost the government – or business, home-owners or drivers – when MSPs voted for the legislation.

Ok, I suppose it is important information. We need more “Not doing something would destroy this, that and the other” or “Not doing something would mean this amount of carbon/global warming etc” kind of articles.

When it is all presented as the BBC story above presents it seems like they are measures designed to hurt people when the truth is that they are probably measures that fall way short of meeting the current crisis – even if they go further than other places.

I suppose the BBC would say however, that that kind of article costs too much.


Below is a talk given by Robert Fisk given by Robert Fisk at the Al-Jazeera Forum. It is well worth the read. I made a little video with something from another speech Fisk made if that would make you more interested.

Robert Fisk, The Independent newspaper’s Middle East correspondent, gave the following address to the fifth Al Jazeera annual forum on May 23.

Power and the media are not just about cosy relationships between journalists and political leaders, between editors and presidents. They are not just about the parasitic-osmotic relationship between supposedly honourable reporters and the nexus of power that runs between White House and state department and Pentagon, between Downing Street and the foreign office and the ministry of defence. In the western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words.

It is about semantics.

It is about the employment of phrases and clauses and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history; and about our ignorance of history.



The style of reporting in these stories tells you a lot about why we have some of the problems we do.

Today on the BBC there is this headline…. Nature loss ‘to damage economies’

This is followed by…

The Earth’s ongoing nature losses may soon begin to hit national economies, a major UN report is to say .

The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) warns that some ecosystems may soon reach “tipping points” where they rapidly become less useful to humanity.

While the rest of the article gives some solid information, putting it all in these terms shows a mistake in thought that goes back to biblical ideas about the natural world being something that is simply there for the purposes of human exploitation. There is no suggestion that it might be a good idea to preserve the ecosystem for its own sake.

It is possible to extrapolate from the above statement the idea that as long as economies are fine then quite frankly flora and fauna can go and get f*cked.

Please have a look at this article I wrote for opednews in particular and my other site exit stage right if you want to see how dire things are really getting and why this is all way beyond economics.

Picture from


Great little video here. It hints at best at a deep hypocrisy in the staunch defenders in the union and at worst at a deep schyzophrenia. I have featured some of the other ones on the channel before too.