Skip to main content

Your basket

The Lesley Riddoch Podcast

The Lesley Riddoch podcast started way back in 2008 - the brainchild of my tech savvy husband Chris Smith, who was also my podcast partner till 2015 when old pal and media lecturer Pat Joyce took over. So it must have been one of the earliest podcasts about the Scottish political and cultural scene. This year (2020) Pat and I started recording via Skype, because each of our households have folk who were shielding during the Covid lockdown - and remote recording works so well we are still Skyping away. The other big development has been acquiring a (volunteer) coach in the shape of Fraser Thompson who’s encouraged us to make a small video about each episode, change the very dated artwork and has updated this website.

Since that first LR podcast twelve years ago we’ve broadcast more than 600 weekly podcasts and had over a million downloads. So enjoy browsing the back catalogue and subscribe to get each new episode. And in case you are wondering, no Pat and I don’t discuss subjects before we start recording each week. We don’t want to get TOO organised!

Pat Joyce

Pat Joyce is a former curriculum leader for journalism at Fife College, a Lochee boy, Dundee United fan, socialist, modernist and grandpa. 

Lesley Riddoch

Lesley Riddoch is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, cyclist, land reform campaigner & lover of all things Nordic.

Support the Podcast

Help support the Podcast and keep us doing what we love.
Our pals and buddies supporters get extra bonus content including guest interviews and access to the podcast archive going back to 2007.

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.

Latest episodes

  • General Election-Podcast Special

    In this special edition of the Lesley Riddoch podcast we give our immediate reaction to and analysis of Rishi Sunak's surprise announcement of a General Election on the 4th of July.

  • Holding to Account

    The report into the infected blood scandal has finally been published and it makes for damning reading. It found that this "not an accident", and that the government and the NHS had engaged in "downright deception" over decades.
    We speculate on whose head will roll as a result of the findings and marvel at the fortitude of survivors and campaigners.

    John Woodcock, Baron Walney , former Labour MP , chair of Labour Friends of Israel, and current chair of Purpose Business Coalition and Independent Adviser on Political Violence and Disruption to the UK government has completed his report entitled Protecting our Democracy from Coercion.
    We ask if given his ties to Israel, fossil fuel companies, and the defence industry whether his independence  can be relied on.


    The ICC has applied for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes against humanity related to the war against Hamas in Gaza. Alongside the Israeli leaders, the ICC also seeks arrest warrants for Hamas’s senior leadership: Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh. If granted, Netanyahu would be the first Western-oriented leader charged by the ICC .

    What has been the reaction of both the UK and US governments? How does the rationale for UK opposition to the decision stack up against international law and its previous stance on Russian war crimes?


    The latest polls show a significant lead for Labour in Scotland  in voting intention at the next General Election. However it's neck and neck with the SNP when it comes to Holyrood.


    UK Labour has also set out its First Steps for a future Labour government.
    Will Anas Sarwar simply parrot the Starmer lines or will he make a separate set of Scottish pledges?

    What impact will the parachuting of Labour candidates from England into Scottish constituencies have on the electorate?
    Meanwhile Holyrood has declared a housing crisis.
    Should this have been foreseen given the homelessness trends over the past six years? Have funding regulations mitigated against non local authority and housing association organisations building social homes?  Will there be over reliance on the "big boy" private building companies? Will "land banking" be tackled seriously?

    https://www.ft.com/content/24117a03-37c2-424a-97ed-6a5292f9e92e
    For full marketing details of the 23 serviced self-build plots available for purchase at Hall’s Field, Lamlash, Arran see link to the relevant page on the DiscoverArran website
    https://www.discoverarran.com/latest-news-blog/96-halls-field-self-build-plots
    For the Marketing Document, which is available for download, and/or if you have questions contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All contacts will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
    While the SNP has slumped in the polls support for the Greens has gone up by 3%. All this despite the expulsion of 13 members for signing a declaration which said “sex is a biological reality” and called for trans women to be banned from women’s changing rooms.

    Signatories also claimed there was a “chilling atmosphere of censure and fear within the party, which affects not only free speech but also free thought”.
    The party said those who signed the Scottish Green Women’s Declaration were in breach of the party’s code of conduct claiming they'd failed to “maintain political discipline” and breaking rules on “behaviours that constitute prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity” and “behaviours that constitute a threat to others”.
    We examine what the Scottish Green Women’s Declaration actually said and wonder if the expulsions signal a potential party split.
    https://scottishgreenwomensdeclaration.scot/
    All of this plus the usual meanderings, listening and viewing recommendations, and the obligatory mention of Dundee United.
    As promised link to YesWeDidnae survey
    https://yeswedidnae.scot/

  • Making Your Mind Up

    As the dust settles on the SNP leadership question and the Cabinet reshuffle, the focus now shifts to what policies the Swinney government will pursue. Will it be a simple battle between "Left" and "Right"? Growth has been promised  but what will this mean in practice and will there be a new openness to ideas outwith the usual lobbying  suspects?
    Change under a changed Labour Party has been the mantra of the Starmer project. This change has been so dramatic that Natalie Elphicke, most definitely not a One Nation Tory, has crossed the floor of the House. A master stroke or a sign that Labour has abandoned all pretence of socialism? Meanwhile ,they've  been outflanked by none other than Suella Braverman on scrapping the two child benefit cap, still support the disastrous "Right to Buy", long abandoned in Scotland, and have no plans to re-open safe routes for asylum seekers. Even their much heralded New Deal For Working People looks like being watered down even further.
    Anas Sarwar appeared on Good Morning Scotland this morning and was put on the back foot simultaneously opposing and defending UK Labour policies while justifying the parachuting of Labour candidates from the south of England into Scottish constituencies.
    Rishi Sunak in his keynote speech yesterday launched what looks like his first salvo in his re-election campaign. It went way beyond Project Fear and lurched into Project Panic. It painted a picture of a beleaguered country assailed on all sides by extremists including those 50% of us who support Scottish independence.
    It was a bad set of results for the parties supporting independence in the recent Catalonian elections. It marked a significant shift in Catalonia’s political landscape, with the Socialists winning big and pro-independence parties losing ground.
    Lesley analyses the result, it's all a bit more complex than the British media would have us believe, and reflects on what significance they may have in a Scottish context.
    All this plus the usual malarkey and Eurovision.

  • Decisions Decisions

    Humza Yousaf officially resigned as First Minister just before noon this Tuesday.
    John Swinney was elected unopposed as leader of the SNP after Graeme McCormick dropped out. The theatre switched stage to Holyrood where the formality of his ascendancy to FM was played out.
    We give our reaction to both of these.
    What will his election to both posts mean for the furtherance of independence?
    Will he manage to unify his party to fight the General Election?
    Will it be simply business as usual in terms of party management and government policies?

    Sir John Curtice has given his thoughts on 25 years of devolution, and despite the SNP's recent troubles, says it's been pretty positive for them.

    Meanwhile the Tories took a real beating in last week's series of English elections. We look at the results and ask what, if any ,extrapolation can be made between them and the looming General Election.

    After Dan Poulter's defection to Labour, the impending watering down of its New Deal For Working People, Labour Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves speech to business leaders  was introduced by ex Tory Minister Nick Boles. Boles has been advising other Shadow Ministers behind the scenes. What change will Labour bring in government?
    Here's the links to the Neal Ascherson and Ian McConnell  pieces Lesley mentioned in the podcast
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/may/04/the-snp-may-be-laid-low-but-the-call-of-scottish-independence-is-loud-and-clear 
     https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/viewpoint/24295961.snp-enormous-problem-scottish-business/

  • SNP Leadership Extra

    In this bonus episode we focus on the news that the field to become the new leader of the SNP and next First Minister seems to be down to just one candidate as Kate Forbes announced that she would be supporting John Swinney's candidacy.
    We look at John Swinney's speech and analyse both it and Kate Forbes statement and speculate on the significance of the key points in both.
    Meanwhile back in Holyrood it was gloves off time as Humza Yousaf, looking liberated by his recent resignation, tore into both Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar at First Minister's Questions.
    England and Wales have a multitude of local, mayoral, and Police Commissioner elections today, plus a by-election in Blackpool South. What, if anything, will they tell us about the state of the parties in the run up to the inevitable General Election.
    All this plus Lesley's knockout blow to Andrew Neil on LBC and references to past World Cups and musicals.

  • Humza Yousaf Resigns

    One topic and one topic alone in this week's episode. We give our immediate reaction to the resignation of First Minister Humza Yousaf.
    Why did he resign?
    Who will be the next SNP leader and First Minister?
    What next for the Greens and Alba?

  • United We Stand

    The past week in Scottish politics has been all about fall outs. Who can speak at an independence rally? Which rally should take precedence? Will the Scottish Greens bail out of the Bute House Agreement over the abandonment of climate change targets and the Cass Review?
    We ask if these disputes mask the dearth of ideas at government level over how to tackle the fundamental issue of climate change and cloud the necessity of cooperation and unity in the drive for Scottish independence?

    The Cass Review has been the focus of much of the media and many politicians. Who is Hilary Cass and what does the review actually say?

    Robin McAlpine of Common Weal thinks the news on climate targets is grim but not unexpected. He called for a move away from a free market approach and  put forward ideas that he is convinced would work.
    https://commonweal.scot/anger-at-dropped-targets-must-lead-to-change/
    Craig Dalzell also flagged up initiatives from five years ago that would have saved government the recent embarrassment of bad headlines over wood burning stoves.
    https://commonweal.scot/shedding-light-on-rural-heat/
    Meanwhile at Westminster the Tories are battering away at getting their Rwanda Bill passed, despite opposition in the Lords, despite the legal implications, the cost, and despite the very real likelihood it wont "Stop the boats". Has it become a totemic Tory policy that they simply can't give up?

    Labour have promised to stop the flights if they form the next government but have stuck to an opposition based on cost and its failure to protect "our borders".
    Sticking with Labour, has Starmer scored an own goal with his statements on English patriotism which he cheerfully conflates with Britishness?

    May the 11th and 12th sees a weekend celebration of all things Cunninghame Graham. Don Roberto and Scotland: international perspectives. There’s a day of talks at the Smith Stirling Museum on the Saturday, and a morning visit to Gartmore House, his childhood home , and the island of Inchmahome, place of his burial, on the Sunday.
    https://donrobertoandme.com/2024/04/04/don-roberto-and-scotland-international-perspectives/
    And if you listen carefully you might just hear a wee mention or two of the world famous Dundee United winning the Scottish Championship.

  • A Sense of Proportion

    In this week's episode we wonder if Iran has fallen into the trap set by an increasingly desperate Netanyahu who was seeing Western support for Israel's actions in Gaza ebb away.
    Israel has long argued that the whole Gaza war has in effect been “a war against Iran” from the start. An Iran which threatened not only Israel but stability across the region and beyond.
    We also examine the legality of both Israel and Iran's actions and the hypocrisy in particular of the USA and the UK.
    Germany has been a staunch,almost unquestioning, supporter of Israel over Gaza, and indeed being a major arms supplier. Does the recent ban on entry to the country of Glasgow University rector Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, who was due to speak on his experiences as a surgeon in Gaza, shine a light on why Germany is facing claims of facilitating genocide at the ICJ?
    Lesley's Lyme disease health issues lead us into our thoughts on Wes Streeting's latest statements on the role of private healthcare in the NHS. Are we being middle class lefties?

    Lesley looks at the recent legislation concerning wood burning stoves and asks if, yet again, it shows the urban centric perspective of the Scottish government.
    Lesley's latest film Denmark The State of Happiness seems to have touched a very sensitive nerve with a significant number of unionist commentators. We try and get behind their rhetoric to reality.
    And if you want to see the film and make up your own mind it's available online here
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTJnu6lAhvM
    plus live at the following venues
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events
    As promised
    The Hutters Rally event in Dundee
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hutters-rally-2024-tickets-840277692197?aff=oddtdtcreator
    Believe in Scotland Rally
    https://www.thenational.scot/news/24247987.believe-scotland-confirms-full-line-up-speakers-hosts/
    There's also a cheeky wee special offer on a £20 annual subscription to The National
    https://www.thenational.scot/subscribe/?utm_source=x&utm_campaign=SS

  • Taking Sides

    As promised last week we do tackle the Land Reform Bill but not before casting our gimlet gaze over other major issues.
    Ally McCoist didn't turnup at the Rangers v Celtic match on Sunday so missed out on the opportunity to fall foul of the new Hate Crime Act. However 48000 other Rangers fans did, we revisit the Act in light of what did and didn't happen.
    Unlike me Lesley didn't watch the match but appeared on Sky's Trevor Phillips On Sunday show. Having really done her homework on all matters Scottish Lesley was armed with facts and data none of which were needed as the focus was on Israel, Gaza and arms sales.
    In the week when Conservative ex Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan speaking on LBC  said the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) group had been "doing the bidding of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, bypassing all proper processes of government to exercise undue influence at the top of government", Guto Harri, Boris Johnson's No 10 Director of Communications, was also unequivocal in his condemnation of Israeli's actions in Gaza. Lesley compares this to the mealy mouthed statements from  Labour's David Lammy, Pat McFadden and others.
     Sarah-Jane Laing the chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates claimed that The Land Reform Bill was a full on attack on the property rights of land owners. The Scottish Government said it would "revolutionise land ownership in Scotland". Lesley it's fair to say has her doubts about both these statements.
    Thanks to a listener we have further insight into how publicly owned Scottish Water actually is.
    If you want to go see Lesley's Denmark film here's the link
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events
    It's also now  available online
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTJnu6lAhvM

  • April Is The Cruelest Month

    Humza Yousaf has been First Minister and leader of the SNP for a year. We look back at the past 12 months and ask no matter how effective he has been in steering Scotland through crises which have seen massive strike action in England why do so many folk seem dismissive of his tenure.
    We also question the timidity of the Scottish Government in challenging the limitations of the devolved settlement and wonder if being a good conciliator is enough for a party leader going into a General Election.
    Lesley suggests that getting on the front foot over economic issues such as bailing out the privatised English water companies should be a political priority for Humza.
    Eylon Musk, and JK Rowling have been vocal and vehement critics of the new Scottish Hate Crime Act. Rishi Sunak has weighed in with support for Rowling despite similar hate legislation in England. How far does this politicking undermine the justified criticisms of aspects of the act by someone like Joanna Cherry?
    We enter these choppy waters and try our best to navigate them.
    Humza and the SNP have been outspoken opponents of the actions of the Israeli Government and the IDF in Gaza since the outbreak of the conflict. As evidence that UK Government lawyers  have advised that Israel has breached international humanitarian law how long can the government continue to allow arms sales to continue?
    All this plus daffodils, weird Fife airport dreams, and Ally McCoist says stuff out loud, in this week's episode.

  • The Act We Act

    April the first( Hands up who thinks Gowk's Day was a smart idea?)sees the introduction of the new Hate Crime and Public Order( Scotland) Act.
    We try and delve beneath the social media sound and fury to look at the reasoning behind the act and its  pros and cons.

    Back at Westminster Stephen Flynn skewered Labour during PMQs with their seeming embrace of Margaret Thatcher. What is the Thatcher legacy? What is the continuing allure of the Thatcher myth?
    Sticking with Labour as yet another of their previous pledges, this time on compensation for the WASPI women, has been dumped, according to Labour loyalist John McTernan  their ceasefire motion changed UK foreign policy and in so doing led to the passing of the UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. Lesley has quite a bit to say on tboth.
    This weekend the Scotonomics Festival took place in Dundee. Lesley chaired a couple of sessions but much has been made of Professor Mark Blyth's contribution in the unionist press. Was the reporting fair and accurate?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C33RWFYec3A
    More showings of Lesley's Denmark movie. Full details below
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • In the Zone

    Humza Yousaf's using the phrase “Tory-free” umpteen times  when addressing SNP activists, and telling Scottish Tory MPs: “The SNP is coming for you.” seems to have set off a political storm not just among the usual suspects but such SNP luminaries as Pete Wishart and the Aberdeen Independence Movement.
    Unwarranted pearl clutching? We discuss.
    Last Wednesday's PMQs saw the unedifying spectacle of Sir Lindsay Hoyle ignoring Dianne Abbott on no less 46 occasions as she tried to speak on the Frank Hester racist comments about Dianne Abbott. Stephen Flynn, yet again, as on BBC Question Time , was an outstanding performer. Lesley asked in her most recent article if performance is all the SNP's presence at Westminster can be?
    The Hester Tory donations issue, " He was racist but it was half a decade ago and we're keeping the cash", set us thinking about the murky world of UK political party funding. And murky it certainly is.
    In stark contrast to PMQs, no question is ever answered, Scottish FMQs is an entirely more rigorous affair. Lesley gives her reaction to last week's session.
    We look at Scottish Green Freeports. Are they Green? Are they indeed ports? What differentiates them, if anything from the English version? Why did the Scottish Government acquiesce in their creation?
    Full details of the Scotonomics Festival in Dundee
    https://scotonomics.scot/festival-of-economics/
    If you still haven't seen Lesley's Denmark movie you can book below
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • It's Not What You Think

    Back after the two week break when Pat decided to take his holidays at precisely the wrong, political, time.
    In this "while he was away" episode we kick off with our reaction to the return of George Galloway to Westminster after his thumping victory in the Rochdale by election.
    As Galloway enters Parliament Lee Anderson departs from the Tory Party to join Reform. This plus speculation on Kate's family photo took up 40 minutes of The World at One on Radio 4. Lesley questions the focus and asks if this represents the values and priorities of Scots.
    We take a look at Hunt's Budget. What traps has he laid for an incoming Labour government? What does it say about Starmer's Labour when it is committed to the same "We can't max out the country's credit card" narrative?
    Sticking with Westminster, is there merit in Keith Brown's suggestion that the SNP should consider Sinn Fein style abstentionism?
    Keith has also been blunt in his calling for Stephen Kerr MSP's candidacy for the Conservative Party be removed after his recent comments on Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government's funding of UNRWA.
    Growth is the cry from both Labour and the Tories but the UK's is anaemic in comparison to that of the USA. What part, if any, will the economy play in the upcoming Presidential election? Biden and Trump have their nominations sewn up but will Trump's culture wars appeal beyond his base?
    Labour also seem about to back Michael Gove's controversial redefinition of extremism. We examine the backgrounds of those driving this and its potential implications.
    Along the way we also cover Michelle Donelan's libel case, the showing of Lesley's Denmark movie to MSPs, the special women's edition of the National and what inspired it, and baggage shenanigans at Edinburgh airport.
    If you want to see Lesley's Denmark movie follow this link
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • Scotonomics Festival-Podcast Extra

    In this podcast extra we speak with William Thomson who along with Kairin Van Sweeden co-founded Scotonomics. It was set up with" a commitment to enhancing economic literacy and fostering discussions that are informed, objective, and accessible to a wide audience, with a particular focus on the economic context of Scotland."
    A major part of this is its annual Scotonomics Festival which is taking place in various venues across Dundee and online from Friday the 22nd of March until Sunday the 24th.
    It's Scotland’s biggest festival of economics with over 30 sessions covering aspects of the Scottish, UK and global economy with academics, activists, economists, policymakers, politicians and the public coming together to discuss people, place and planet.
    We cover what the founding principles and ideology of Scotonomics are and just what they mean for Scotland in the here and now and in an independent future.

    If you're interested in attending here's the link
    https://scotonomics.scot/event/festival-of-economics/
    As well as the events in Dundee there will be an "Economics of the Real World" event  at Leith Dockers Club on Thursday March the 21st. Four internationally renowned economists will challenge  the mainstream economic dogma currently dominating political thought.
    https://scotonomics.scot/event/economics-of-the-real-world-edinburgh/
    This includes screening of the movie "Finding the Money"
    It follows former chief economist to Senator Bernie Sanders, Stephanie Kelton, on a journey through Modern Money Theory or “MMT”, to unveil a deeper story about money, injecting new hope and empowering democracies around the world to tackle the biggest challenges of the 21st century: from climate change to inequality.
    https://scotonomics.scot/event/finding-the-money-film-leith/
    It will also be shown in Dundee
    https://scotonomics.scot/event/finding-the-money/
  • Stitch ups, Suspensions and Statements

    Sometimes a series of events can encapsulate the state of the United Kingdom, the cynical manipulation of tensions surrounding Gaza for party political and personal advantage., the relationship between the media and the political establishment , and the reality of the position of the  SNP at Westminster.
    Last Wednesday saw the House of Commons descend into chaos as the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle , broke with Parliamentary procedure, and the advice of the Clerks, to allow a Labour amendment to the SNP Opposition Day motion calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israeli collective punishment. We examine those events , the role of the Speaker, the ramifications of his decision and his reasons for making it.
    We also give our immediate reaction to the UK government's statement on Gaza this Tuesday afternoon. The statement given as the reason for Hoyle to reject the SNP call for an SO24 debate. A debate he had promised to grant the SNP last week.
    The focus has shifted from the situation in Gaza, aided by political commentators , on to alleged threats to MPs' security hard on the heels of Lord Walney's report on political violence. Who is Walney? What was in his report? Can he be trusted as an impartial actor in the current context of pro Palestinian protests?
    Meanwhile , while claiming "words are important" , the Tory Party is mired in an Islamophobia crisis with Rishi Sunak and a string of ministers refusing to say that ex Deputy Chair of the party Lee Anderson was racist in his attack on Sadiq Khan. This while ignoring Suella Braverman and ex PM Liz Truss's recent similar outbursts. Weakness or a symbol of a hierarchy of racism within the Conservative Party?
    Today is the 50th anniversary of the long secret McCrone Report with its revelations on the potential impact on the Scottish economy of North Sea oil and its implications for Scottish independence.
    The National has published the report in full. Read it and weep.
    https://www.thenational.scot/news/17461406.westminster-doesnt-want-read-mccrone-report-full/
    Simon Forrest CEO of Nova Innovation has written about the  current "  tragedy played out in Scotland " with the failure of both the UK and Scottish governments to reap the benefits of Scotland's new energy bonanza. Renewables.
    https://www.thenational.scot/politics/24145789.top-renewables-firm-ceo-scotlands-energy-story-tragedy/
    Tickets for Lesley's Denmark film are still available right here
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • A Question of Leadership

    Does the murder of Alexei Navalny signal the end or a new beginning of anti Putin activism in Russia? Is it also a wake up call for those of us in the West who have taken our eyes off the developments in Russia, Ukraine, and the destabilization of the region?
    Despite the row over accusations of antisemitic statements by prospective Parliamentary candidates the Labour Party romped to two outstanding victories in the Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections. We examine Rishi Sunak's response to these losses and ask if he might call a snap election. If he is still Tory leader.
    Meanwhile Scottish Labour held its annual conference with a significant focus on Anas Sarwar as leader. Sarwar was quite willing to state his willingness to stand up to Starmer. Will this show of independence stretch to his two Scottish MPs following the Scottish Labour conference position and voting with the SNP on its motion calling for an immediate Gaza ceasefire?
    In response to Scottish Labour’s plans for a windfall tax on oil profits, more than 800 oil ,engineering, and business executives have raised concerns that this could lead to massive job losses in the North East. The SNP is even more committed to phasing out of oil and gas production in an independent Scotland. We ask where stands the Just Transition and the development of local industry and training?
    All this plus the origins and consequences of the Right to Buy policy and the thorny question of Ullapool and its train station.
    If you want to see Lesley's Denmark movie check out this link
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • All the Rs

    In the latest and biggest U-turn in a series of policy reversals Sir Keir Starmer ditched the £28 billion spending target central to Labour's Green Prosperity Plan.
    Why and why now?
    To add to his woes as further revelations appeared on, Azhar Ali, Labour's candidate in the Rochdale by-election, there was a volte face and Ali was deselected. He remains on the ballot as the decision was made too late to remove him.
    We again ask. Why? Why now?
    As accusations of antisemitism are thrown around between and across political parties and individuals has the distinction between anti Jewish racism and anti Zionism been forever blurred?
    Michael Matheson's resignation over the iPad data bill has led to a Cabinet reshuffle. Who's in? Who's out? What makes a "good" minister?
    Professor Jim Gallagher was given a platform on Good Morning Scotland to outline Our Scottish Futures plans on reforming Scottish local government. He argued that Scotland was an over centralized country. His solution seemed to be  bigger local authorities. At the time of recording we could find no trace of the report on their website. However "Rewiring Scotland" has now appeared. We shall, no doubt, return to examine it in greater depth next week.
    A stooshie has broken out over the re-opening of the Redcoat cafe in Edinburgh Castle. A petition asking for it to be renamed has attracted thousands of signatures. The controversy has engaged such luminaries as Professor Sir Tom Devine and us.
    Tickets are still available for the remaining dates of Lesley's Denmark movie. Link below
    https://lesleyriddoch.com/events

  • Polls Apart

    Saturday the third of February 2024 was an historic moment as Michelle O'Neil became the first republican to hold the position of First Minister in the 103 year history of Northern Ireland. Both she and the DUP's Deputy First Minister Emma Little- Pengelly have a family background in the paramilitaries and yet both made impressive speeches emphasizing cooperation and conciliation. We look at this and the promises and potential pitfalls on the return of Stormont.
    Sir Keir Starmer's Labour continue to lead in the polls but internal party polling shows that it is losing support among the Muslim community over its stance(s) on Gaza. What do the polls show and will Labour lose votes not only among Muslims over this? Meanwhile in the latest U-turn Starmer has abandoned the pledge to reform/abolish the House of Lords and threatened MPs who don't toe the party line with deselection for the upcoming General Election.
    Details of Michael Gove's secret State of the Union poll have now been made public post the Scottish Covid Inquiry and it makes very interesting reading.
    Lesley reflects on Nicola Sturgeon's appearance at the inquiry.

    Meanwhile has Rishi Sunak sunk to a new low with his Piers Morgan Rwanda bet?
    If you want to see Lesley's Denmark movie here's the link
    https://www.lesleyriddoch.com/events-mobile

    All this plus Lesley's mystery patient experience, the coverage of King Charles' cancer diagnosis and the usual meanderings frae Pat.

  • A Proportionate Response

    This is the bumper episode to end all bumper episodes.
    We reflect on the DUP behind the scenes maneuvers that looks like leading to a return of devolved government in Northern Ireland. What are the details of the deal done between the DUP and the UK government and what political impact will it have both domestically and in the UK?
    The drone attack on Tower 22 and the death of three US serviceman has added yet another layer of complexity to the expanding crisis in the Middle East. What will Biden's response be? How connected was it to the situation in Gaza?
    We also examine the ICJ rulings on potential Israel genocide in Gaza, the Israeli reaction and the defunding of UNRWA.
    Donald Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary. Is this the end for Nikki Haley or is there still more to play for in the race for the GOP's presidential nomination?
    Michael Gove was the "star turn" in the Scottish leg of the Covid Inquiry. We ask just who was playing politics during the pandemic?
    All this plus epic bus journeys, speirin Scoats, and double heel day.
    If you fancy seeing Lesley's new film on Denmark, follow this link
    https://www.lesleyriddoch.com/events-mobile

  • Rebel Rebel

    In this week's episode
    The much trumpeted and poured over Tory rebellion in the Commons over the Rwanda Bill fizzled out but it looks like it will face defeat in the Lords. We cheer the humanitarian victory but what does it say about the state of British politics when we rely on the unelected chamber?
    As DeSantis drops out of the race to be the GOP presidential candidate the circus moves on to New Hampshire and its primaries. Nikki Haley is the last candidate standing as the Trump juggernaut rumbles on. The Donald is way ahead in local Republican polls but what part will the 40% Independents play in the final result?
    Biden is not on the ballot in the Democratic primary but will a low turnout and lack of "write ins" be blow to his re-election strategy?
     We discuss Lesley's latest National article which looks at the contest and what lessons the SNP could learn from Biden's lack of popular appeal.
    Talking of the SNP Humza Yousaf has expressed his unease at the "National" element of the party name. Where did the name come from? Should it be changed and to what?
    Meanwhile the Covid Inquiry Scottish phase has begun. We try and get our heads around the WhatsApp messages kerfuffle.
    Emily Thornberry was the latest politician to claim that Netanyahu's rejection of the two-state solution was somehow an outlier within Israeli politics and that there were significant opposition voices. We question that assumption.
    According to a new report for Centre for Cities, the average person in the UK has lost out on an average of £10,200. The figures are even worse in Scotland. It rises to £45,240 for Aberdeen, which is the worst-hit city in the report.
    https://www.centreforcities.org/publication/cities-outlook-2024/
    For those of you who don't know the great Dick Gaughan and his work here's a few wee links.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThuBz6ly-ts
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmwHHUsWM_M
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWyWe-udK7M&list=OLAK5uy_lS2djP85J9fMir5R2zW5ETNv7xez7H6qQ

    Meanwhile Lesley continues her tour with the new Denmark film. If you fancy seeing it, here you go.
     https://lesleyriddoch.com/events