24 February 2013

A' the Burdz.

A drear Sunday out here, under a louring slate-grey Oxfordshire sky, with crumbs of indecisive snow, toppling down. Perfect weather to lend your lugs to episode fifteen of the For A' That podcast. As usual, Michael Greenwell and I were joined by a new guest plucked the universe of Scots natterers. In the imposing burgundy-leather armchair this week, Kate Higgins of A Burdz Eye View

We took potshots at a range of targets, this week. Has the Scottish Government cocked up by flogging shooting rights in Raasay to an absentee landlord, instead of the local crofting community? The Burd certainly thinks so, arguing that it is "everything that [she] thought an SNP government wouldn't allow to happen". Both Kate and Michael are leery about huntin', shootin' and fishin'. Me? I earned my first honest quid from helping pheasants towards their feathery demise in a hail of shotgun pellets, and feel a bit less squeamish about it. Ought we to be worried about the gaps of knowledge and perception, separating rural Scotland and the country's city states? Is there a risk that, made cautious by the referendum, the SNP's apparent enthusiasm for land reform will come out underdone? Kate has her anxieties.

Taking aim at plumper fowl (or ought that to be, a fouler plump?), we also had a chat about the economic and political impact, if any, of the UK's downgraded credit status, from the dizzy heights of AAA to the leaner foothills of AAa1. Is George Osborne's goose cooked? 

In others matters strategic and tactical, back in Scotland, were pro-indy students at the University wise this week to hold a mock independence referendum? Was it a useful way of generating debate on campus, or an unforced error whose main achievement was a raft of bad publicity for the Yes campaign. Lastly, if you were detected breaching the law of the land, would you prefer your case to be heard by a jury of lay fellow citizens, or a bewigged professional? I put Michael and Kate in the dock.

The usual conventions apply. You can listen to the show using the player right here on the blog, or download it to your portable gramophones for later listening here and on itunes here.


  1. I bide in rural Scotland and I am beginning to sense the Yes voters are drifting away. They feel politicians only think of the cities and have little or no understanding of rural life.

    If I get the opportunity to promote my own MSP's knowledge of the countryside I do so, but John Swinney's appreciation of the problems may continue to assist his re-election in the future but it will do nothing in the referendum.

    Did I say I agreed with Kate?

  2. Agree with the excellent subrosa and the (equally excellent) Burd, though I can't share the latter's surprise re the Raasay situation that it is "everything that [she] thought an SNP government wouldn't allow to happen".

    The indispensable Andy Wightman is rather less surprised, and has brought together some observations -


    Raasay occupies a sad place in post-Culloden history - the MacLeods there suffered some of the worst atrocities committed after the failure of the '45 - atrocities committed by the MacLeods of Skye, who in classic clan fashion took advantage of their namesakes' distress to strike.

    The betrayal of the modern crofting communityOn Raasay is not of course on that scale, but is a depressing affair.

  3. Subrosa,

    A late response! I'm not so sure that rurality is suddenly germane now in the way it wasn't once. Certainly, the polls don't seem to be picking this up. As I said in the podcast, however, as someone raised in rurla mid-Argyll in the 1990s, the gulf between the culture I grew up in, and the one I went to secondary school in Glasgow with, was telling...


    Glad the show and Burd diverted! I've never been to Raasay, myself. Another pod on the way tomorrow...