And we're up to episode number eighteen of the For A' That podast. Today's features an island-hopping theme, kicking off with Cyprus, vaulting over to Shetland, gliding over the People's Republic of Bute, and resting up on the sovereign territory of the Federated Microstates of Rum, Eigg and Muck (those schismatic Cannaites, presumably having gone their own way. Splitters.)
On this week's show, Michael and I were joined again by Natalie McGarry, who will be a familiar face to many of you from her appearances on Scotland Tonight and was our first guest on the podcast, four months back, in episode number two. She's also currently in the running, along with fifteen other candidates, to be one of the SNP's MEP candidates in the 2014 European elections. This long list will be trimmed down to six at the party's Spring Conference, which will then be ranked by the party membership in a postal vote in July.
On this week's show, we touched briefly on Cyrpiot banking scandals, before mooting home rule for Shetland. A daft notion? Self-determination which it behoves those who favour Scottish independence, in peril of inconsistency, awkwardly to support? Last week also saw the publication of Lord McCluskey's proposals to Scottish Ministers on the regulation of the Scots press - and it turns out, anybody with a keyboard, a blog, or a twitter account, just about anywhere in the world. The issue has been well covered elsewhere in the blogosphere. We chew over (and by consensus, spit out) His Lordship's recommendations, their desirability and workability.
I asked Natalie and Michael what they made of the referendum franchise proposed by the Sottish government last Monday. Bracketing the legalities, we also discussed whether the SNP's decision to disenfranchise prisoners in the referendum represented canny politics, evading controversy, or represented "yet more dispiriting evidence of the SNP's conservatism", as one soul put it to me last week. The discussion broadened out a bit into the Nationalists' attitudes to human rights norms. Michael has blogged about the two human rights futures offered by the SNP and Westminster governments respectively. With my sceptical bunnet on, I asked whether Alex Salmond's new-found poise of the ardent human rights defender really cuts the mustard, given the SNP's recent record on political controversies which have turned on fundamental rights.
As usual, you can tune in directly here, sign up to our RSS feed so in future the podcast comes to you, or download the sound file via Spreaker or on iTunes.