scottish stuff

Scottish Independence Podcast 173 – Human Rights and Poverty in the UK

“I think if you had got a group of mysogynists in a room and said ‘guys, how can we make this system work for men and not for women?’, they wouldn’t have come up with too many other ideas than what is already in place”.

The 173rd episode of The Scottish Independence Podcast is the much talked about report by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, talking about the UK.

It’s so important I was going to just read the whole thing out and put that out as a podcast but fortunately for me there was a presentation and a Q&A, and here it is.

Hope you enjoy.

You can download the show directly if you click THIS LINK.

You can listen online at the show’s spreaker webpage, or you can subscribe with itunes. We can also be found on youtube and on facebook.

These podcasts are independently minded and independently funded, you can help to keep them going by making a donation.

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Journey To Yes 22 – Clive Ponting

Another in the wonderful series by Phantom Power.

This time it is Clive Ponting, a man who really knows what the British Government tends to get up to and why.

It’s partly an interview and partly taken from a talk. I am pleased to announce that in a sort of double feature, the new episode of The Scottish Independence Podcast (out tomorrow), will be that talk in its entirety, unedited.

That’s for tomorrow, but for tonight, here is Clive Ponting’s Journey To Yes (all the others in the series can be found here).

In Support Of Alasdair Gray

Just a little note here in support of Alasdair Gray …but not for the reason you might be expecting.
I know he has been under attack for his comments regarding the situation surrounding who runs the arts in Scotland but I don’t want to talk about that.

Rather, I was delighted to see that Alasdair Gray turned down a knighthood (which he was offered by the Brown government, not this one).

It seems that in preference to the company of the aristocracy and their hangers-on, he preferred the company of, to name but a few, Alan Bennett, David Bowie, Francis Crick, Michael Faraday, E.M. Forster, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, Stephen Hawking, Peter Higgs, Eric Hobsbawm, Aldous Huxley, L.S. Lowry, Harold Pinter and H.G. Wells.

And that is without even getting into the list of people who have turned down other honours.

Just wanted to say well done Alasdair.

I only recently became aware of this song on the subject as well.

In recognition of a hundred million album sales
In recognition of your popularity
You take your gaudy prize
From people you said you despise
You wear your self-respect upon your bended knee

In spite of all your claims
It looks like youre just the same
As every other clown who likes to put the crown
Before or after their name

In recognition of your service to the working class
In recognition of your party loyalty
You get an ermine robe
And you declare when you are probed
You only took it so the missus would be pleased

In spite of all your claims
It looks like youre just the same
As every other clown who likes to put the crown
Before or after their names

Oh vanity
It gets them one by one
Cat, religion, monarchy
But only in tale, fairly frail

In recognition of your bravery up on the stage
In recognition of your bankability
You get to wait in lines
With soldiers crippled by land mines
And you think its the Yanks that dont get irony

In spite of all your claims
It looks like youre just the same
As every other clown who likes to put the crown
Before or after their name

In spite of all your claims
It looks like youre just the same
As every other clown who likes to put the crown
Before or after their name

Their name
Their name
Their name

The Scottish Independence Podcast Episode 12 – Patrick Harvie

For episode 12 of The Scottish Independence Podcast I spoke with MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie.

We discussed the decision of the Greens to join the Yes campaign, some of the goings-on in Holyrood, the environmental advantages that Independence will bring, an increased focus on giving real powers to local government and much more besides.

Hope you enjoy it.

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

If you go to the show’s homepage you can listen online or download from there.

Patrick is on twitter here.

The Scottish Independence Podcast Episode 8 – On the BBC, With Professor David Miller

Podcast 8 is up and it is pretty packed.

The way BBC News behaves is often a cause of dismay/fury/disappointment/surprise (delete as applicable to last story you read or watched).

Instead of attacking the latest thing on Newsnicht, Newsnight or the news itself, I think a bit of context might be useful.

Therefore, this interview, that I conducted a while ago, focuses on the organisation rather than the any specific output and how it can be influenced. It also touches on how that organisation sees itself.

In order to get into these matters I spoke to Professor David Miller. As well as being a Professor of Sociology he is also the author of Tell Me Lies: Propaganda & Media Distortion In The Attack On Iraq and more recently A Century Of Spin: How Public Relations Became The Cutting Edge Of Corporate Power. He is also one of the founders of Spinwatch, and as a little correction to what I say in the podcast, Powerbase (which used to be called spinprofiles). Powerbase is a wonderfully useful tool for journalists and bloggers.

There is also a report on BBC Bias from BBC Scotlandshire.

I hope you enjoy.

THIS IS THE DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK (right click and save)

Go here to listen online.

Gretna, City of Love

I caught this oddness recently…

Labour’s Patricia Ferguson said: “It is utterly absurd for Alex Neil to claim that independence will end poverty. He is treating the people like fools. Poverty wasn’t created in 1707 when we joined together and it won’t be abolished by erecting a border at Gretna. That is a malicious falsehood put about by those not brave enough to tell people what their politics are really about.”

Now, as far as I know, if Scotland votes Yes in 2014, there aren’t any plans to “erect” a physical border at Gretna. It would stop all the marriage custom coming in and out for a start.

Secondly, after saying this she has the cheek to say “malicious falsehood” in the next sentence.

Now let’s get on to the Tories…

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: “The Scottish Government is once again preaching its very own brand of flat-earth economics. If it wanted to spend more money as a separate country, it would have to either borrow significantly more, or tax significantly more. It would be interesting to know which route the SNP intends to take.”

I highlight “flat-earth” because if my party had just allowed government funding to go to creationist schools I would be a bit more careful in my choice of anti-science phrases.

So what did Alex Neil say to rile these two up so much…

“I honestly believe that if we were independent and could manage our own resources in our own way not only would we get much higher levels of employment amongst younger people and indeed older people, but we could do what every Scandinavian country has done and effectively eliminate poverty from our society.”

Possibly true, possibly not but in fairness to the Tory guy, he at least responded to a conditional with conditional, something that Patricia Ferguson was unwilling or unable to do.

All I am saying here is, and for the millionth time this is from an independence supporting non-party-not-joining-party-either person, who has got the positive story here?