Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Billy Kay

In this week’s edition of the Dugcast fae the Dughoose I’m joined via Skype by the writer and broadcaster Billy Kay, who most recently wrote and presented the fantastic three part documentary on BBC Radio Scotland about the Declaration of Arbroath. We chat about the 700th anniversary of the Declaration, about the role of Scots culture, language, and history in the independence movement, about efforts to ensure that there’s better representation of Scots language in the broadcast media, about the infamous Cringe, and much more besides.

There were a few sound issues with Skype in this interview, Billy’s sound was cutting out for short periods but I hope it doesn’t spoil your listening too much.

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11 thoughts on “Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Billy Kay

  1. Pingback: Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Billy Kay | speymouth

  2. For sound only, THIS is MUCH better than Skype – it’s free, and comes with built-in recorder. The Skype algorithm reserves part of the bandwidth for video, Cleanfeed uses it ALL for sound. I’m using it to record with other musicians online – even though it’s designed primarily for podcasts, it provides good clarity for music too!

  3. Thank you for keeping this going. I have missed the ‘Wee Ginger Dug’ on the National. You and your guests speak words of wisdom.

  4. From the Guardian today:

    “Every lunchtime, Nicola Sturgeon gives a Covid-19 briefing, customarily flanked by her health secretary and the chief medical officer. Occasionally it will feature alternative personnel such as the national clinical director, or the chief constable, but Scotland’s first minister is there, front and centre, every day.

    She begins with that day’s Scottish coronavirus statistics and goes on, in detail, to indicate what advice her government is getting and how that is likely to impact on its recommendations to a locked-down public.

    The media questions which follow have lately concentrated on the constitutional implications of any perceived deviation from the “four nation” strategy for dealing with the virus (in which England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same policy). On Thursday, however, the day the English tabloids ran headlines describing Monday as “Lockdown Freedom” day, some palpable irritation burst through.

    It would have been good, Sturgeon suggested, to have learned of any proposed changes from the prime minister himself rather than from reading the front pages at midnight. It might have been useful to have been included in a Cobra meeting that day but there wasn’t one. Instead, the first minister gathered that Johnson would phone round the devolved administrations later that afternoon. Her unstated message was pretty clear – a tablet of stone from Downing Street, with the message already chiselled thereon, was no way to run a cooperative railroad.

    It was the starkest illustration of a fraying partnership already strained by previous media coverage. Why was her Scottish briefing held earlier in the day, some London-based commentators had demanded? Was she trying to steal a march on the Downing Street operation? Didn’t she know her place?

    Criticism of Sturgeon reached fairly farcical levels the day she was taken to task for recommending face masks in places where it’s difficult to observe social distancing. Much mockery ensued. Until, of course, the prime minister came up with the same advice two days later. Then the complaint changed to why she’d again pre-empted “the boss”.

    It would be wrong to pretend the Scottish government has not made its own mistakes in response to this virus. Scotland too has had its share of tragedy in care homes, not least in a privately-run home on the island of Skye, in the constituency of SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford. But the government has set up a specific email hotline to deal with gaps in PPE provision. And it recently took delivery of a massive supply bought and airlifted from China.

    Yet there has been a very discernible difference in tone, manner and transparency in the daily briefings. The Scottish government, having insisted it wanted a grownup conversation with the public, has published a series of papers over the weeks outlining what it has been told, and how that will inform future judgments. There has also been no apparent rift in Sturgeon’s cabinet over the economic impact of a lengthy shutdown. They insist that saving lives is the first priority.

    But herein lies an uncomfortable dilemma for the devolved administrations within the UK. On issues such as job retention subsidies, they are joined at the fiscal hip to Westminster. As Scottish finance secretary, Kate Forbes, and Scottish business secretary, Fiona Hyslop, noted in a joint letter to Rishi Sunak this week, they do not themselves have the levers to operate any similar stand-alone scheme in Scotland. The stark fact is that Scotland could not keep its workforce locked up if Sunak were to scrap the Treasury’s support across the UK.

    Meanwhile there is incomprehension as to why – given the capacity for mixed messaging – we have to wait until Sunday evening before Johnson unveils his roadmap for easing the lockdown. However hard Dominic Raab tried to row back from Thursday’s headlines, nobody seriously believes the papers weren’t briefed from Downing Street.

    And there’s genuine anger, too, at the suggestion that the “stay home” segment of the government’s advice slogan may be dropped. That could, argued Sturgeon, be a catastrophic error of judgment, leading to both confusion and non-compliance with other restrictions.

    The Covid-19 crisis has brought Sturgeon hugely favourable personal ratings, whereas in Scotland Johnson has never been flavour of the month. (His Scottish party is now led by Jackson Carlaw, a pale imitation of the robust Ruth Davidson.)

    In addition, Scots have responded well to a daily forum that encourages debate and discussion – and where politicians are prepared to admit a lack of knowledge – rather than the repetitive recitation of mantras that is the hallmark of No 10’s daily press conferences.

    A vox pop in Scotland on Thursday night underscored the credibility that Sturgeon has built up during the crisis. Almost everyone questioned suggested that they would go with whatever Sturgeon thought would keep them safe.

    On this particular issue, the first minister seems to have attracted widespread trust in Scotland, and the public seem prepared to take their cue from her rather than accept the latest dictum from Downing Street. Yet that trust will be tested to the full if Johnson veers too sharply off the current messaging on Sunday night.”

  5. “The stark fact is that Scotland could not keep its workforce locked up if Sunak were to scrap the Treasury’s support across the UK”

    Ruth Wishart has done everyone a favour with this one sentence. Now think how irrelevant this would be with independence and our own currency. The EU will be no more in six months time when member countries realise they too are in the same position as Scotland as they too don’t have the powers or stand alone levers to help their citizens but rely on the ECB – much like Scotland relies on Sunak.

    Independence is no longer a political argument. I would respectfully suggest it’s a matter of life and death.

  6. The media looks for a chink then sets to work chiseling that chink into a *cracks are beginning to show* story, then exaggerates the headline or news into *reports of a rift* followed up by *A politcal row* has broken out, then wait for the FMs daily briefing and all ask the same question using different words to make the public confused so they (the news journalists) can do it all over again by asking why the messaging is different

    The FM has been able to contain her tone so far to these people because her concentration is on getting the message across to help save lives while at the same time cleverly indicating gently to us the public that we shouldn’t believe a word the media says

    I rather like that approach

  7. Sound was a bit patchy, but looks as if you might have a solution already….
    Found myself straining on a few occasions with Billy’s voicing, though not with your own, which initially I’d put down to lack of familiarity. Thought I’d heard almost every dialectal variation across Scotland and Ireland so presumably his is a more “purist” Scots than dialect if that makes sense?

    The written Scots articles mentioned I’ve had great fun reading on occasion, with many a trip over an unfamiliar word or phrase, but more power to it’s preservation…

    Most enjoyable and interesting….

  8. Interesting to hear the term assimilated being used. British Nationalism as the Borg. Star Trek is everywhere.

  9. Thanks for that Paul. I was interested in all of it but particularly the bits about the cringe and Nicola’s avoidance of negativity when something positive was done by the media.

    The nature of the cringe and the notion of assimilation are right at the core of the struggle to reclaim our independence. What I find really encouraging at this point in time is the apparent solidity of our support – (I am deliberately ignoring the childish stuff to be found on some other sites, though I reckon it is actually symptomatic of the cringe e.g. the cringeworthy idea that the Scots have some kind of genetic tendency to shoot themselves in the foot). I think the solidity of support may be indicative of people realising that competence and civilisation are alive and strong in the Scottish community and based on the very best universal values. When a solid majority of Scots are able to acknowledge this we will be unstoppable.

    People like yourself, Nicola, Joanna Cherry, Jeane Freeman, Philipa Whitford, Alex Salmond, Lesley Riddoch and the people who contribute btl on WGD are all key in achieving this.

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