This week Lesley travelled down to Huddersfield to speak at the #NorthernCitizens Convention to talk devolution. We also briefly touch on that Daily Record story again and wonder aloud about the focus - Holyrood or Westminster, as bits of Scotland get sold off. Are we following Holyrood 'blow by blow'?
On a lighter note, we talk West Fife SNP lupins, lost property at weekends, food on trains, the success of Uffie Elbæck and the challenges of securing the rights to display Icelandic art.
I'd like to thank the editor of the Hamilton Advertiser who has apologised for his paper's mistake over the fee I was paid for chairing and speaking at a poverty conference in 2013. In case you don't read beyond the headline an agent was paid £1320 - not me. From that total he took VAT and his own fee -- I was paid £850 for two and a half days work, not one. Which works out at a daily rate of £340. Certainly a lot for folks on benefit but fairly average for self employed people like myself. I've asked the Daily Record to take down the web pages which still quote the original story with the wrong figures. I doubt that will happen but I hope this unpleasantness is now over and papers can give folk more than a few hours to respond to financial stories from years ago when all the details are with their accountants. Meantime South Lanarkshire Women's Aid are running an extra arts group for the women and kids in their care and I hope to get along to the current exhibition later this summer. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/clarification-south-lanarkshire-conference-fee-5906392
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The Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile will become the Nordic House during this year’s Edinburgh Festival – a multi-media exhibition of landscape art from all five of the Nordic nations. One of the most heavily visited roads in Edinburgh will become a visible symbol of Nordic/Scottish cooperation with all national flags flying together over the Royal Mile. A Nordic Culture Fund grant has backed this display of paintings (reproductions) photography, music and (we hope) a makeshift Nordic hut to depict a small number of the landscapes to be found across Scandinavia including ; Aland photograph collection of women and families fishing & farming on the Finnish islands before WW2; Kaare Espolin Johnson - who lived in Norway’s Far North & produced striking images of people & seascapes, despite being almost blind; Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, an orphan and fisherman who became Iceland’s most prolific painter using a variety of styles to depict landscape and lava formation; Vennelyst – photographs of Copenhagen’s oldest allotment garden comparing life in the 1900s to the present day; Kiruna -- the town in North Sweden that's being moved to avoid a massive crack in the earth caused by decades of iron mining.
The Scottish collaborating partners are the Scottish Storytelling Centre arts venue, architect, Lateral North Director and Nordic House curator Graham Hogg and Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster and Director of Nordic Horizons a policy group which brings Nordic specialists to speak in the Scottish Parliament. We aim to question the myth of an empty frozen North & explore contrasts and continuities with Scottish art & landscape. The Nordic House opens on Wednesday 29th July and closes on September 5th with an evening of films about the two painters and talks from Espolin Johnson’s son Gisle and the Icelandic Consul Kristin Hannesdottir. More events are being arranged. The Storytelling Centre on the city’s second busiest pedestrian thoroughfare has three shows daily during the Festival and an estimated 11,000 visitors daily during the festival. The building is part of the John Knox House (Edinburgh’s oldest) and contains a bookshop, exhibition and cafe. There will also be a children’s trail with Nordic soft toys and a find-the-animal quiz.
Funded by the Nordic Culture Fund
If you're interested in the background to each exhibit, there's a short podcast below where Lesley Riddoch talks to Chris Smith about the pioneering exhibition.
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This week we manage to respond to the cyclical David Starkey on the SNP; he regularly erupts and this latest one is spectacular. We compare and contrast David Cameron and Kristina Lemon of the Swedish Election Authority on elections. Lesley spoke to Norwegian councillors on childcare costs and they revealed an interesting fact., We had to clear up the Daily Record on Lesley chairing poverty conferences and what really happened.
We also share the latest news from our favourite Scottish council. As things develop, Argyll and Bute may be booking a regular slot on the podcast. Can it get much worse ? Other questions posed and answered this week include'
What was afoot at the Greg Moodie book launch? Whose birthday(s) was it this week ? How many shirts is it reasonable to iron?
Lesley also reveals details about a new Nordic House Exhibition which opens in July in Edinburgh. A pretty packed podcast this week.
I see there has been a newspaper story reporting the payment of £1320 to me by South Lanarkshire Council to present a conference on poverty in 2013. As a result, I’ve decided to pay £1320 to South Lanarkshire Women’s Aid. I think I should have regarded the event as a charitable one – even though it was arranged by a council. I standardly charge £250 per day for charitable groups (if they have a budget) but I’ve made no charge for most of the 200 plus events I’ve spoken at over the last two years, some related to the indyref but most on housing, welfare, renewable energy and poverty. I usually ask £20 for petrol. I am self-employed and no-one else covers the costs of my time. Very often I am the only non-salaried person in the room at professional events and that’s why any fee shows up – others are present as part of their job and their expenses are paid by employers. The sum paid by South Lanarkshire represents almost half of my annual earnings from conference work. It’s always worth putting individual payments into perspective, it’s always worth remembering sums include mileage and VAT which businesses have no option but to levy -- and it’s always worth supporting Women’s Aid.
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This weekend, we were in Oban for the People's Council event. In this podcast we try and relate all the issues which were covered in this gathering of activists. It is fair to say, Lesley was impressed by a lot of things; from the way it was organised through to the speakers and the insights. The two young women, Stacey and Rhona who organised the event head the list of this week's big shout outs...but we also salute Vivien Dance and Michael Breslin.
As usual, we also try and catch up on the week and bring in other detours on the way to recording this podcast..
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It's all TV appearances, football, Paisley, Porty and PR this week. It's time to talk about the unasked questions of 'Question Time' and Michael White's moustache. We also talk about the possibility of Scots boycotting the forthcoming football friendly with Qatar. There are also some startling revelations about PR from the Electoral Reform Society.
And here are the name checks and 'shout outs' @tommyreckless is the brains behind the Michael White track ( in full here ) ...for Jon - the photographer from Porty - (check him out here ) and the '21st Century Childhood ' talk and Family Ceilidh ( search on Eventbrite for '21st century childhood' )
Mon June 1 – 8.15 Edin upstairs in Merlin bar on Morningside Road SNP branch meetings starts 7.30pm. Public welcome 8.10 Free. "Where goes Scotland from here plus land reform". Thursday 4th June 8pm Universal Hall, The Park, Findhorn http://www.findhorncollege.org/originconcept.php - Is Scotland ready for a Renewables Revolution? Open to the public by donation Saturday 6th June A day to start fixing local democracy in Scotland 9:30 am - 4:30 pm Oban High School http://thepeoplescouncil.org/ Full programme http://wp.me/P5YO9P-1q Tickets £0-10 Thursday 18th June, 7.00pm in Elgin Hotel, Charlestown, KY11 3EE. SNP branch but all welcome.
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This week's podcast sees the retiral of the Alistair Carmichael megaphone of mirth. But will the big man follow? Opinions in the pod are divided. Lawyers, constitutional experts and bookies have been consulted.
Other topics include; seats in the house versus in the committees for the SNP, more guidance for labour ( north and south), the Irish and referenda, some Eurovision and Land Reform. There is a healthy amount of ranting this week and another wager is made.