Scotland was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world by users of Rough Guide travel books, knocking Ireland into 18th place, England into seventh and beating New Zealand, Italy Malaysia and – well everywhere else on Earth.
We are back in the pod after Lesley's return from North Uist. There seems to be little going on and the silly season is upon us. However, we can still find interesting things to blether about. The topics this week include, John Rae, Bruce Fummey island life and the technology challenges of Scotland.
So Andy Burnham has adopted the oldest maxim in politics – if you cant beat ‘em join ‘em.
The Labour leadership contender wants to mimic Nicola Sturgeon’s new equality agenda by fielding an equal number of male and female candidates in Scotland for the next Westminster elections – if the new Scottish leader agrees. Burnham, who was favourite to win until the relentless rise of Jeremy Corbyn, says David Cameron’s boundary changes have given the party “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to select 59 new Scottish parliamentary candidates at one go and he’ll use that opportunity to chop dead wood and time-servers from the ranks of Scottish MPs who lost their seats in May. Finally, it seems, a UK Labour leader is admitting what everyone else in Scotland has known for some time – many Labour MPs so badly neglected their patches that energetic Yes campaigners recruited easily during the indyref and the SNP converted those Yes voters into enthusiastic new members.
This week we tackle the HoL and explore what Andy Burnham is up to. The race for the UK Labour leadership is throwing up new proposals all the time...is it a case of the 'Corbyn' effect? Also we have to mention the opening of the Nordic House Exhibition.
We also want to apologise for the audio quality...islands, broadband, hotels, Skype.
Will Scottish voters get interested in domestic Scottish politics again any time soon?
Of course, some say it’s o’er early to be concerned about the Holyrood dimension because its elections are still nine months away. We are, indeed, in the middle of the Scottish summer holidays – even if someone forgot to order the weather – and the Scottish Parliament is in recess. There are two weeks before we even discover if Kezia Dugdale or Ken Macintosh has won the poisoned chalice of the Scottish Labour leadership. So, on the face of it, there should be no surprise that politics north of the Border is currently quiet, real quiet. But too quiet?
The question is , when do we get back to domestic politics and stop this Westminster firework display?
However, we start this week's podcast with the celebration of Evelyn Gillan which Lesley was part of and the remarkable legacy. We also touch on Chapel FM, what English students are saying, the Labour Party, the Flying Pigs, Ally Bally, and what's happening in the Nordic House this week.
Is Jeremy Corbyn MP set to upset the carefully managed Labour leadership contest?
The left-wing MP for Islington North has stunned party organisers by winning support from the Unite union and enthusiastic backing from many constituency activists. Some internal polls suggest he could come a close second and potentially even beat Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and bookies’ favourite Andy Burnham for the top job.
This week we talk about the row about the handling of Mhairi Black MP's maiden speech by the BBC. What exactly is going on with a national broadcaster which seems to be out of step with everyone on this ? We also examine Jeremy Corbyn as the potential next leader of the Labour Party. He seems to have caught Lesley's eye and there is some talk of a small wager. Lesley also pays a heartfelt tribute to Evelyn Gillan who sadly passed away this week. A celebration of her life is to take place on Tuesday 21 July - details are here.
We also manage to fit in a trip to Kirkcaldy which is surprising. And with the paintings arriving for Nordic House exhibition, things are getting nervous.
Was the M9 scandal a tragic but isolated example of human error? The death of Lamara Bell renders such an explanation completely inadequate. The mother of two was left stranded in a crashed car on the M9 near Stirling for three days after the incident was first reported to police. A prompt response would not have saved her boyfriend, John Yuill, who appears to have been killed at the time of impact, but might have helped Lamara – we cannot be certain.
After this week's terrible news from Stirling M9 accident, it's difficult to talk about anything else. Clearly, Police Scotland are going to be under scrutiny but before we rush to judgment , are there other factors to take into account?
We also touch on holidays, the budget and EVEL. It's our first week back in the home pod.