The Lesley Riddoch Podcast

May 19 2020 37 mins 728

Scottish politics dissected from a left, pro-independence stance. Each week, award-winning broadcaster and journalist, Lesley Riddoch chews over the week’s news with former media lecturer and Dundee United fan, Pat Joyce. If you like intelligent, quirky chat about Scottish society and culture, and Scottish, UK and international politics analysed from a Scottish perspective; this podcast is for you.































Trust never sleeps
Apr 21 2020 62 mins  
As lockdown continues, despite the growing murmurings from some quarters that it should end, the UK Parliament is set to amend its arcane procedures to allow remote working. We ask if the way Westminster works is fit for purpose, and the very nature of , what passes for, debate and governmental scrutiny, derived from public school and Oxbridge debating societies, has been shown for the sham it is during the crisis. Lesley hones in on trust in the Conservative government,and the sheer hypocrisy of the likes of Jeremy Hunt, in creating a bankrupt and privatised, by stealth,English NHS, while ignoring the alarm bells rung by health and social care professionals during the Tories tenure in power. The focus is increasingly turning both on an exit strategy and how and what a return to "normality" will look like. Will it be business as usual with turbo charged austerity to pay off the "debt" or will lessons be learned as to how we can create a greener, fairer society? A significant part of any exit strategy will be developing a system to cope with the ongoing fight against Covid 19. I had a look at how South Korea created a robust system of contact tracing and what resources the Scottish government needs to put in place to do this. We also ask if we would be prepared to accept the "invasion" of privacy, South Koreans have taken on board. Lesley was at the centre of a bit of Twitter storm over her retweet of a Robert Peston piece on the use and staffing of the London Nightingale Hospital. She clarifies her position, for those. like George Foulkes, who decided pile in without reading the whole thread. There's also been a notable upsurge in articles, from journalists, both on the right and left of politics,making the case that the Covid 19 crisis has significantly diminished the case for Scottish independence.We beg to differ. There's, as always,other stuff and nonsense, including a gratuitous advert for Ronseal, and a guest appearance by Harry Styles.





2020 Vision
Mar 24 2020 67 mins  
After the major announcements last night by the Scottish and UK governments extending the emergency measures to combat the spread of Covid 19 there was only one way to begin this week's podcast. Lesley examines the bit by bit approach taken by the UK government and we speculate on whether the very male nature of the Johnson Cabinet has influenced its approach. Lesley focuses in particular on the plight of the over five million folk who are self employed,in the gig economy, or on zero hours contracts. Is the very nature of the British state,since the 1980s, being challenged by the Covid crisis and what can we, collectively learn from it in shaping the post Corona virus country? She also expands on how the lessons learned might be applied to tackling the climate emergency. I put in my tuppence worth, not only on those topics, but chip in on two mythologies, the Blitz spirit so beloved of Brexiteers and the right in general, and the non existence of the,so called,"magic money tree". At any other time the result of the Alex Salmond trial would be the headline across the media. We try and and evaluate the impact of the verdict and what the whole process means to the SNP, Yes movement, civil service, police, and Crown Prosecution Service. Lesley has been hard at work putting together a film celebrating the 700th anniversary of The Declaration of Arbroath. If you need any lifting of spirits, just listen to this segment, and cheer. Along the way there's also mention of the venality of some employers, my scubby shave, and Agatha Christie novels.




Gaming the system
Feb 18 2020 46 mins  
There was only one way to begin this week's podcast ,it was the bizarre claim by Jackson Carlaw, newly anointed Scottish Tory leader, that around half of the Scot's electorate were adherents of a cult. Lesley eviscerates this ludicrous suggestion and we try and figure out what his strategy was. Lesley's been aware over the past few weeks that groups of independence activists, from a variety of perspectives, have been planning to, and in one case actually have, set up parties to stand on the regional lists for Holyrood in 2021. We analyse why this is happening and what impact, if any this will have on the SNP and Greens come election time. Swathes of the UK have been hit by flooding in the past couple of weeks. Folk have been calling out for increased spending on flood defences but are there more effective measures that can be taken not to protect but prevent these reoccurring catastrophes? Grouse moors , yup those old friends of ours, are pivotal to the problem of flooding and Pete Wishart and John Swinney courted controversy when they attended an evening celebrating the end of the shooting season with the Scottish branch of the British Association of Shooting and Conservation.Was the Twitter storm that followed justified? Andrew Sobisky, one of the weirdos who responded to Dominic Cummings, resigned after an expose on his appalling ideology by Andrew Learmonth in the National. What does his appointment say about Boris Johnson and the role of Cummings at number 10? All this plus unashamed plugs for McGoldrick,McCusker and Doyle , and the Orkney Folk Festival.






Guests of the nation
Jan 13 2020 52 mins  
Lesley is fresh from Saturday's AUOB march in Glasgow and is still buzzing from the carnival atmosphere. As is right, and fitting, we begin this week's podcast with this, yet another, fantastic day. Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland appeared on Sunday Politics Scotland and retreated from his previous position on indyref2. We reckon "Union" Jack, and his no mandate mantra will turn out to be the best recruiting sergeant we've seen for the Yes movement. Not to be left out by the Tories, the Labour Party, north and south of the border, continues to tie itself in knots over Scottish independence and its perennial cri de coeur of federalism. Despite our best attempts we haven't been able to escape the soap opera that is the House of Windsor. Feel free to fast forward over our take on it, if you, like us ,are scunnered wi the hale shebang. Stormont is about to sit after a hiatus of three years. What has happened to break the deadlock? The citizenry of Edinburgh is up in arms over the activities of Underbelly over the Christmas and New Year period. What can we learn from the shenanigans over the Christmas market, Hogmanay celebrations and the Looony Dook? We end on the last two movies we've seen, 1917, and Jo Jo Rabbit. We loved them both but, there's always a but, with some reservations. Finally, I couldn't resist mentioning the Terrors of Tannadice stretching their lead to 17 points and the perfect hat trick from Lawrence of Arabia himself.







On the QT
Nov 26 2019 65 mins  
As Boris Johnson flew up to Scotland to launch the Scottish Tory manifesto has the SNP pulled off a master stroke by announcing its ground breaking, in UK terms, extension of paternity leave? Labour has also been forcing the issue on WASPI women but is it too late to the party and can it be trusted on matters of equality given the record of Labour controlled Glasgow City Council? It's been a busy old week for the party leaders facing both the public and political commentators. We focus on last night's Andrew Neil interview with Nicola Sturgeon and that Question Time leaders' special. This takes us quite naturally into Dr Philippa Whitford's QT appearance in Bolton and Lesley turning down an opportunity to appear on a national current affairs panel in London. Richard Leonard was on the Call Kaye Show yesterday and got a grilling on the,apparent, rift between Scottish and UK Labour on nuclear disarmament. He also laid out Labour's 2021 date for a potential indyref2 but does its 50% of the electorate voting Yes show that its running scared? The Orthodox Chief Rabbi of the UK stepped firmly into the political arena today with his pronouncements on the fitness of Jeremy Corbyn to be PM. This followed closely on the Pope's statement on nuclear weapons and the Scottish Catholic bishops' letter to parishioners on matters they should consider when casting their votes. Just how involved should religious leaders become in politics? Along the way we also discuss, Oor Wullie,Sibelius, the incredible disappearing Jacob Rees-Mogg, and the power of song.


















Boiling frogs
Jul 16 2019 46 mins  
Lesley found herself at the centre of a Twitter pile on when she raised how cold the working conditions were for staff at her local Tesco store. She discovered there was a lot more to it than face value when she responded to the criticism, not only in terms of the treatment of workers but the climate emergency. SEPA has also come in for some stick this week for its use of short haul air flights to the Scottish islands. Again, Lesley probes beneath the presenting issue to examine the potential for technological solutions and the underlying problem of our top down, centralised systems. Sticking with climate, Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defence & Candidate for President of the European Commission, has promised a Green Deal in order to secure left votes for her candidacy. In the same speech she also reiterated the EU's complete support for the Irish backstop. This in stark contrast to the latest utterances form both Johnson and Hunt, who have both declared the backstop "dead". The two Tory leadership contenders did condemn the latest tweets from Donald Trump telling the four Democratic members of the House of Representatives to go back to the countries they came from but refused to label the comments as racist. As Trump doubled down on his attacks last night, just what does this say about the current state of the USA and the UK. The latest set of drug death figures for Scotland are about to be released and they're expected to show yet another horrific rise. Just what can the Scottish Government do, given that drugs policy is a reserved matter? There's also a wee bit of chat on the importance of sporting events being free to air, my cricket listening habits, and our obsession with turning off taps.




The Selectorate
Jun 11 2019 46 mins  
We kick off this week’s podcast with the unavoidable bunfight that is the race for the Tory party leadership (I defy you to name the 10th contender without Googling him). Lesley focuses on the broadcast media’s coverage of what is an entirely internal Conservative party issue but one with major implications for the wider public. Almost seamlessly we switch to examining Ruth Davidson’s support for Sajid Javid, has she backed the wrong candidate given Boris Johnson’s early lead amongst Conservative MPs and what will the impact be on the Scottish branch if he’s elected? We also touch on Richard Leonard’s recent announcement of Scottish Labour’s u turn on a second EU referendum where they’d argue for Remain. My tweet on the birthday honours list certainly got Twitter excited and as Lesley lets us know, in no uncertain terms, her views, I consider why the actions of our” heroes” resonate so strongly with some of us. Last week’s section on Mondragon and cooperatives led to some great feedback and after that I decided to look into what was happening in Scotland in a wee bit more depth with some surprising results. Lesley visited the fantastic Shieling Project, an off-grid learning centre in Glen Strathfarrar. The project is all about outdoor living and the tradition of the shieling where folk lived outdoors all summer herding the cattle. https://www.theshielingproject.org/ Naturally we couldn’t ignore the Scotland Women’s World Cup campaign and Lesley returns to its coverage across the media.





Democratic deficits
May 15 2019 54 mins  
Andrew Marr interviewed Damian Hinds (he’s the current Education Secretary-nope me neither) and Nigel Farage on his show this Sunday. Both were on to talk about the European Parliamentary elections. Both had to try and do this without the benefit of their parties issuing manifestos. Lesley picks apart the significance of this and the flaws at the heart of the UK's political system which mean the party of government and the party leading in the polls for that election can get away with it. Sticking with the Euro elections, the Sunday Mail recently endorsed the Scottish Green Party, breaking a long tradition of supporting Labour. We discuss, even if this was a cynical vote splitting move by the Sunday Mail, why Yes supporters could vote Green, and how quickly the political landscape on the climate emergency has changed. As the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the return of the Scottish Parliament roll on two former First Ministers, Jack McConnell and Henry McLeish both came out in favour of reform. McConnell, perhaps seduced by his time in the Lords, wanted the creation of a non-elected second chamber. McLeish, hankering after a more European style assembly, suggested moving to an increased number of MSPs by bringing in the Single Transferable Vote system. We reflect on both these proposals, more favourably on one than the other. Theresa May will be bringing back the EU Withdrawal Bill to Westminster on June the third. This " Great Repeal Bill" is the one that enshrines the power grab from Holyrood. We return to, not just to the specifics of the bill, but the underlying message it contains about Scotland's place in the UK. As per usual there's a smattering of other nonsense, mainly on Highland League football, Chinese takeaways and clip on sunglasses. Wee note from Lesley; I checked on who controls Oil and Gas Licensing and I was wrong. It's still the UK Government via the Oil and Gas Authority quango they set up — it's licensing for onshore oil and gas (basically fracking) that was devolved in 2018. Apologies.

March to the beat of a different drum
May 10 2019 61 mins  
Saturday saw over 100,000 supporters of Scottish independence march through Glasgow. Lesley was there and gives her impressions of what it was like out on the streets and the reflects on the continuing commitment to the cause of the grass roots movement. All of this despite brickbats from some obvious, and some surprising, sources. We both tuned into the latest edition of Question Time, featuring yet again Nigel Farage. We wonder if the shambles we witnessed was simply a show that Fiona Bruce let get out of hand or was it just the spectacle that the producers wanted. It's the 20th anniversary of the return of the Scottish Parliament and Lesley reflects on its achievements, with praise for Labour First Ministers Henry McLeish and Jack McConnell, and the new Scottish social security system. I'm not sure if this makes up for my less than complimentary remarks on Richard Leonard's European election video, or Paul Sweeney's latest podcast gaffe. We try and figure out just why the Tory Party leadership candidates all decided to chuck their hats in the ring next and pick apart the latest European election polls. Spoiler alert, bad news for Labour, but disastrous for the Tories. Sticking with the Euro elections Lesley returns to Catalonia, the plight of the jailed leader of the ERC party Oriol Junqueras, and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Along the way there's also the usual badinage, and maybe a wee mention of football.






































Facts are chiels that winna ding
Aug 16 2018 43 mins  
After a shock opening, where Lesley blows my cover as the essence of cool by revealing my in-depth knowledge of Friends, we get down to this week's business. As we get ready for this Saturday's AUOB march in Dundee, Lesley’s been out and about at showings of the first two movies in her Nation series and loves the feeling of almost religious solidarity folk get from sharing these communal events. Me being me, an RC (Recovering Catholic) I cast a somewhat sceptical eye over where an overzealous attachment to SNPGood v SNPBad may lead us. Lesley also visited the fantastic Re Use Hub in Dunbar and as well finding some great maps may have unearthed the future of recycling. Keith Brown announced that the SNP was launching its own fact check account and we, respectfully, question whether this should be left up to independent organisations like the Ferret Fact Check Collective. Finally, can we learn lessons from Don Jorgensen's of the Danish SDP’s gentle, witty, riposte to Fox News's Trish Reagan's attack on Denmark's social democracy? After a shock opening, where Lesley blows my cover as the essence of cool by revealing my in-depth knowledge of Friends, we get down to this week's business. As we get ready for this Saturday's AUOB march in Dundee, Lesley’s been out and about at showings of the first two movies in her Nation series and loves the feeling of almost religious solidarity folk get from sharing these communal events. Me being me, an RC (Recovering Catholic) I cast a somewhat sceptical eye over where an overzealous attachment to SNPGood v SNPBad may lead us. Lesley also visited the fantastic Re Use Hub in Dunbar and as well finding some great maps may have unearthed the future of recycling. Keith Brown announced that the SNP was launching its own fact check account and we, respectfully, question whether this should be left up to independent organisations like the Ferret Fact Check Collective. Finally, can we learn lessons from Don Jorgensen's of the Danish SDP’s gentle, witty, riposte to Fox News's Trish Reagan's attack on Denmark's social democracy?















Boxes,bevvy and beliefs
May 03 2018 48 mins  
I open by stunning Lesley with Chris McEleny's "dream team" Yes campaign leadership suggestion. This leads Lesley into her thoughts on just what shape any future independence campaign should and could take and what role any "leader" would be permitted by the media. It's the local elections in England and I succeed, yet again, in surprising Lesley with my revelations on the voting system used. Both of us try to get to grips with the arcane structure of local government down south, and the complexities of making sense of the results. We return to independence and we've often speculated on just how No voters could be convinced to change their minds. I try to explain the research of neuropsychologist Professor Tali Sharot and what, if anything, it can contribute to strategies on how to do this. Judge for yourselves how successful I am. Kevin McKenna's thought provoking article in the National on the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol provides a springboard for a discussion on the role of drink in Scottish society, the impact of its abuse in working class communities, and whether this is simply another nanny state measure enacted by the middle classes. Finally, we review FMQs, in particular Miles Briggs' attack on the Baby Box scheme, and David Mundell's appearances before two committees at the Scottish Parliament. Plus there's the usual old toot including a lesson in Dundonian and more than any of you wanted to know about the play-offs for the SPFL.






































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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