The Scottish Independence Podcast 120 – Jack Foster on NewsShaft and the Media

LOGOTOPbw.pngFor the 120th episode of the Scottish Independence Podcast I invited Jack Foster, one of the filmmakers behind the documentary Scotland Yet, and in more recent times one of the organisers of NewsShaft to come on and talk about the beginning and unfortunate demise of the NewsShaft project.

We also discussed some of the things that go into producing alternative media that sometimes go unseen. Another topic we got into is the current state of both mainstream and alternative media in Scotland.

4200_bcbdShould the various alternative media sources in Scotland help each other more, or is it just a nice sounding idea that can’t really go anywhere? And what to make of some of the more hysterical stories that are showing up at the moment? There is all that and more…

Hope you enjoy…

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The Scottish Independence Podcast 47 – Jean Urquhart MSP

Jean-Urquhart“If I’d had my way, in 1999 before a politician’s bum had hit a seat in this chamber…I would’ve had them all travel, for at least 6 weeks round Scotland to visit every local authority. And ideally to go by public transport because small country as it is, we need to better understand its attributes and its issues.”

… as said by Jean Urquhart MSP, who is the guest for the 47th episode of the Scottish Independence Podcast.

Aside from that, we get into what it is like being an independent in the parliament, some history of the Scottish Independence movement, why she resigned from the SNP, are the Shetland and Orkney independence movements we hear about real and much more.

Hope you enjoy…

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The Scottish Independence Podcast 44 – Alastair Hutchison

SSA52347For the 44th episode of the Scottish Independence Podcast the guest was Alastair Hutchison from the group Lib Dem Voters for Indy.

We talked about the group and how it got started. We talked about why liberals may or may not make the jump from federalism to independence and we talked about why the Libdems didn’t join with SNP in 2007, when such a thing might have been the logical step.

Alastair is also a Hearts fan, and we talked about Hearts fans and how the debate is playing out in a group that unusually includes Alex Salmond AND George Foulkes.

100 followersIt’s also the 100th podcast in total that we’ve done.

535914_603760349639039_4094819_nHope you’ve been enjoying them!

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

You can listen to the show online at its web page

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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.

Ups And Downs

m_p3A few little thoughts on the recently published expenses stories.

Firstly Westminster…

MPs’ Expenses Bill Soars To Almost £100m

Taxpayers are shelling out more for MPs’ personal costs and running their offices than in the run-up to the 2009 expenses scandal.

Most of the increase was due to larger staffing budgets but MPs’ personal expenses also rose from £23.5m in 2011-12 to £23.8m.

That works out on average as Westminster MPs costing £153,846 a year, not counting wages. The figure is now higher than before the 2009 scandal.

Now Holyrood…

MSPs claimed a total of £12.2 million in expenses in the past 12 months, down £500,000 on the previous year.

That works out on average as £94,573 per MSP.

Furthermore, the article says that 8.9 million was paid in staff costs by MSPs. If we take staff costs out of the figure, the personal expenses claimed would be around £25,581 per MSP whereas MPs on average claimed £36,615.

So on both these counts it appears that Holyrood MSPs cost about a third less than those in Westminster do.


Another interesting point to note about the Westminster expenses was that…

They also show some 155 MPs employed family members over the 12 months.

Outspoken Tory Nadine Dorries’ daughter Philippa was among the highest earners, receiving £40,000-45,000 as office manager.

She is now believed to have left to train as a lawyer, but her sister Jennifer has been taken on as senior secretary with a salary of £30,000-35,000.

If we have to be making cuts, I think I can see a big one in all this somewhere.

For A’ That 30 – Full Frontal

For episode 30 of the For A’ That podcast I was joined by former Scottish Socialist Party MSP and member of Women For Indy, Carolyn Leckie and New Statesman contributor and co-editor of Bella Caledonia, James Maxwell. Andrew wasn’t with us as he had some wetlands to vex.

BJ8FtJ-CcAAUOLf.jpg largeOur discussion started with the accusations this week that all is not as it seems with Labour For Indy. Is it a front group, is the hand of the SNP behind it? Carolyn and Jamie seemed to feel the whole story says more about our media than it does about the group itself.

We moved on to the Unions and their reticence to get involved officially so far.

Salmond’s interview on Russia Today provoked a little discussion, and not just about what he actually said.

We discussed the form of democracy Scotland should take after Indy. For example, should there be further referendums on issues like monarchy and currency? Should the parliament be unicameral or bicameral. If there is a second chamber, how could that be organised?

Finally, we spoke about James’ recent article in which he suggested that aside from damaging (or not) the Yes campaign, the campaign of Better Together is just generally damaging.

I also had a little announcement to make, about which you can learn more here.

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Michael Greenwell

For A’ That 19 – Wholly Rude In Holyrood

For the 19th episode of the For A’ That podcast Andrew and I were joined by Stewart Lochhead of the 3 Men In A Blogblair_kennard_640 site.

This week there was a lot going on down Holyrood way, from the usual shenanigans at First Minister’s Questions to the Iraq war debate and finally the announcement of the referendum date as September 18th 2014.

On the announcement we discussed not any historical significance the date itself may have, but rather the lack of respect in the tone of some of the members of the Holyrood parliament towards the announcement and indeed referendum itself. Andrew gave an example from his own history as to why this tone was a little off.

On the Iraq war debate, we had a think about whether the claims of some members that the whole thing was orchestrated only in order to make the SNP look statesmanlike before the announcement of the date itself. Was it justified to have such a debate?

Finally, we took a look at some of the polls that suggest that a majority wish to have all decisions about tax, spending and welfare made in Scotland. On the face of it, where’s the difference between that and Independence? What would it take just to help people to make that final little jump?

Finally, why do Better Together now have one more reason than the rest of us to dislike Barbara Streisand?

Hope you enjoy…

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Michael Greenwell

For A’ That 13 – Down The Aisles

fuck-yeah-protest-tumblr_kyiiwzck4e1qajmybo1_400We are back after a little unexpected break and this time Andrew and I were joined by Duncan Hothersall.

Our agenda included the recent equal marriage vote in Westminster and also how this issue has  played out at Holyrood.

This led us to the idea of conscience votes as a concept and what our representatives are actually supposed to do, and it also moved the discussion toward the idea of how religion can still influence policy.

Finally, there was neigh way we could resist having a word about horse meat (see what I did there?).

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For A’ That 12 – In And Out

Tory ConferenceBack to our roots this week as it was Andrew and myself having a chat.

We talked about the EU from a few different perspectives. The referendum and how it will affect things was one topic and we had a natter about some of the fundamental misunderstandings about what the EU is/does as well.

How the EU referendum might change things over at Holyrood got an airing. Could it strain the Unionist alliance?

The European Court of Human Rights has also been in the news a bit more than normal recently. Andrew has some interesting ideas as to why.

The rhetoric and the reality of what Obama had to say for himself this week was our final little topic.

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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.

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

Patrick is on twitter here.


Just posting a few stats here that I found over at the Scottish Patient.

The reason I am also putting them here is that as he predicted, they were largely ignored by mainstream media.

Details of yesterday’s poll TNS/System 3 are as follows:

Holyrood Constituency Vote (with change from 2007 in brackets)

SNP: 41% (+8%)

Labour: 29% (-3%)

Tory: 15% (-2%)

LibDem: 11% (-5%)

Other: 3% (1%)

Holyrood Regional Vote (with change from 2007 in brackets)

SNP: 40% (+9%)

Labour: 30% (1%)

Tory: 13% (-1%)

LibDem: 10% (-1%)

Green: 4% (nc)

Other: 4% (-7%)

Holyrood seats analysis

Running those figures through the Weber Shandwick seats predictor gives the following result (with change in brackets):

SNP – 58 (+11)

Labour – 41 (-5)

Tory – 16 (-1)

LibDem – 12 (-4)

Green – 2 (nc)

Westminster voting intentions (with change in brackets)

SNP: 32% (+14%)

Labour: 36% (-4%)

Tory: 19% (3%)

LibDem: 9% (-14%)