Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Prof John Robertson

Welcome to this week’s edition of the dugcast. This week I’m joined online by Professor John Robertson of the TalkingUpScotland blog. John is perhaps best known for his critique of BBC bias during the independence referendum campaign, a critique which it’s fair to say that the BBC did not take at all well.

John and I appeared together in the 2015 documentary London Calling about BBC bias during the independence referendum campaign. It’s why you’ll never see either of us on the telly! In this week’s podcast we chat about the media in Scotland, the British government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic, and statues and buildings which commemorate oppressors and colonialists. There were a few issues with the sound quality at John’s end, I hope it doesn’t spoil your listening too much.

Follow John’s blog at


If anyone can give me advice on how to set up an RSS feed for the podcast on WordPress, I’d be very grateful.

Here is the direct link to the podcast if the embedding doesn’t work for you. https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-11-06-2020-with-john-robertson

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56 thoughts on “Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Prof John Robertson

  1. Interesting conversation with Professor John Robertson. At the top of the best blogger / activist list, imo, along with you Paul, lol.

    Just one wee (or rather big) issue that I disagree with him on and that is NO, NO, NO do not knock our castles down. As you say Paul our castles contribute greatly to our tourism industry. They are part of our Scottish history and culture, such as our battles with England, highlighting how past events have influenced and shaped our world as it is now.



    • Something that has always really annoyed me is that castles and palaces etc. are always reported as being built by one man. King so-and-so or lord such-and-such. I remember wondering as a young boy how one person could build such things in a single lifetime.
      History should be telling us how they were really erected by the labour of many skilled people and should be reported as monuments to their usually underpaid and often forced labour.
      Let’s also see more statues of the Mary Barbour ilk at Govan bus station.
      The slavers should be melted doon and put to this purpose with a wee plaque explaining what they’re forged from.

  2. Pingback: Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Prof John Robertson – Talking-Up Scotland Collective

  3. Yes Scots made a lot of money out of the slave trade.However most of us did not when I think or the Thatcher major period i only see oppression.

  4. I’m not one for falling for this Scots made money from the slave trade, the mass majority of the population of any country is never in the position to make the kind of money these people at the core of bad things do, ordinary people do and did the same things they always do to survive while the rich get richer and the poor are forced to work for them or get conscripted into their armies to fight against folk on the other side of the world for something they will never receive any benefit from, but the rich stick the label of *patriotism* and *duty* to cover their own thieving arses

    Ordinary people are by and large generally decent, it’s all about who sells them crap and for how much the bribe is to take it if they need it to survive

    A rich man can put on a uniform of the state and kill as many folk as he likes for money or land or oil and not only get away with it but they’ll award him a medal and pension money for the rest of his life on top of the money he made from doing the deed, if me you or the man next door kills a rich bad man for doing bad deeds we’ve had it

    Unless another rich bad man puts a uniform on us and tells us it’s OK because he’s the enemy of the first bad man, and here’s half a quid per week to do it, that’s the choice of the poor man, none

    • Indeed true. Nations taking responsibility for decisions of leaders from an age long before any let alone the public had a say is an illusion maintained by their modern counterparts.
      It is not racism which is the problem (that is always there in some form or other) but recognition that the monuments which are in the public domain are from a different era and logic.
      The symbolism of a figure towering over society regarded as important prior to WW2 was avoided like the plague in favour of house building to ensure a war weary army didn’t rebel.The monuments became council houses, public health, motorways… What should have continued to be our monuments made way for Dewar, Thatcher, the boys were back in town.

  5. Yes,simpler is.
    Captain Cook lands on an undiscovered land we know as Australia. Plants a flag and claims this unknown land in the name of Victoria.
    Sees a local Aborigine,a human, and asked him ‘What do you call that long legged animal’.
    Kangaroo says the local.
    Cook then reports that name to his officers.
    The fact that a human was living on this huge newly discovered island wasn’t considered pertinent.
    The Aborigine didn’t speak the queen’s english,and said ‘I don’t understand’

    • Captain Cook didn’t know that Kangaroo in Aborigine meant *who’s this arsehole* Boom Boom!
      Sorry couldn’t help myself

      • I heard the story that it was a Scots crewman on Cooks Endeavour that got locked in the head (lavy) on the ship as it sailed into Botany Bay. Cook saw a kangaroo hopping on the shore while yer man in the dunny was shouting: “A canny git oot”. Cook said what a good name for that strange animal.

        I’ll get ma coat.

  6. At the “height” of the British empire most Scots, Welsh, Irish and English people were poor, democratically under-represented, and living and working in cruel oppressive circumstances. To hell with the empire; to hell with the so-called united kingdom.

    • I’ll resist the temptation to cut and paste my list of the Iron Heel Scotia Nostra Oligarchy posted a 2.49 pm yesterday on Paul’s excellent ‘The Uncomfortable Past’ piece.
      Or The Labour Lords Filthy Rich List of Shame later on the same topic.
      At a stroke, Independent Scotland bans blood sports, and compulsorily purchase the 18% of Scotland ‘owned’ by these Children of Bloody Barons at £1 an acre.
      Drive them from our lands.
      Over 5 million Scots crushed into cities and towns, while Charlie and his Mates do what they fucking like with the vast swathes of Scotland, our land, the land of our Forebears, who were butchered deported or ground in to slavery by the Dukes and their willing Yard Bosses and bible thumpers.
      (Oh, don’t get all holier than thou, on me, Duggers. You all know exactly what I mean. q.v., ‘Manifest Destiny’.)
      The sight of Prince Charlie in his kilt up at Balmoral today commemorating St Valery is yet another straw on this camel’s back.
      We are at the point of no return. Scotland is now independent. I don’t need a ballot box to confirm this.

      BBC Scotland tonight;

      The Treasury is ‘suspicious’ about Sturgeon’s motives for asking for more furlough money from ‘the UK Government’.

      A wee ‘smirk’ from Kerr there.
      Why don’t you move to England, Andrew?

      To Henderson Kerr and Magnusson, it must come as news, but, .it’s my money. I pay taxes. The UK Treasury is borrowing it from the Money Men. I shall be repaying the loan. So, Sally, David, and Andrew, it is I who is paying workers their deserved furlough payments, not Alister Jack his name wedged into this ‘broad shoulders of the English Treasury’ lie.by Kerr.

      It is reported that Jack has not been in touch with the Scottish Government once since the Outbreak.
      Gentleman farmer, inherits the Tory Seat, just like it was 1934,

      I see that the Brit Nat Thick Brownshirts attempted to smear both the BLM movement, and attempt to accuse The Bruce of slavery….
      It was featured on Distorting Scotland, but little made of the farce that BLM would target a Scots king who pillaged and looted 4oo years before the English Empire,

      The Hon Sarah Smith got star billing as first question at today’s Daily Update. Testing, care homes, everybody should be tested…Who woke her up?

      • I too find the fact that Prince Charles took the salute about St Valery commemoration insulting. The sheer hypocrisy of him and uk elites astounds me. What happenned to 51st Highland Division at St Valery has only been mentioned in Scottish media in past few years before that it was largely covered up whilst Dunkirk was celebrated as such a wonderful victory but it wasn’t. For many years I had only heard of St Valery because it is mentioned in a Runrig song recorded in early 1980s. It is so true that history is written by the victors. Their failures are hidden. Churchill was no genius leader he just talked a good game

  7. Im with Prof Robertson. Knock down all the efin castles. They were constructed to oppress the population and get rid of every other foreign edifice that blots our country and denies us our true history and culture.

    • Our history is our past. Taking down a castle or removing a statue is vandalism of our history. You want to hide it from view, why, do you disagree?

  8. We visit the tombs of the pharohs, the monuments of Greece and Rome nobody says they were good guys, bad people have graves we can point to, if you remove these things you remove the physical evidence only for future generations of bad people to rewrite another false history all over again about the generation who tore down their beloved heroes, you know there’d be another Neil Oliver right along to do just that

    Don’t allow them the chance to do that by using the evidence as physical teaching, when you got your work corrected by a teacher in school the teacher never erased your mistake, they marked it wrong so you’d remember

    Refocus the anger on the class of people who created a system of us and them, they’re the bad guys here, a pile of bricks can’t hurt anyone except if we use it to point the finger at the creators of misery

    • Hamish, I agree with what you say but there is nothing peculiarly Scottish in it. These people are just a mixture of inconsequential fools and egoists. They have their counterparts in every society.

  9. Good to hear Prof John Robertsons views a return match is surely called for , John published his views on how to approach a belligerent Tory government , he laid out his approach and how if he had any say in the matter how to proceed , If I remember rightly it was more or less Gorilla tactics by throwing so many problems at them at once in order to keep them off balance , make the Tory party wonder what was coming next , and rather than reacting to what Bawjaws was doing , he would be wondering what the fk we were going to do next and exactly how far we were prepared to go in order to get their attention , a good dugcast very enjoyable .

  10. I think we should have a statue of a foot with a pistol. Too many on other blogs seem to want independence supporters to shoot themselves. Very Scottish.
    The remnants of a left wing party trying to undermine the First Minister. Not that they will do it. They want snp supporters to do it as proxies.
    As one put it
    “ Barring an actual putsch, how could a new leader appear before next summer?
    I’m not familiar with the SNP procedures. Anyone know offhand what would have to happen?

    Drop a pebble in a pool and watch the ripples. They also believe that they reflect the views of a majority of SNP! Delusional..
    The polls Show as was discussed in tonight’s blog that the slow burn of independence continues. The underminers are in the same game as they unionists. They don’t see it or if they do they don’t care.

  11. I agree wholeheartedly with John Robertson on his attitude to the complete removal of all statues and edifices which signify the abhorrent memory of our “betters” violent past. Smash them all to scrap.
    The castles can go too. Scotland is not a theme park for relatives to visit and gawk at the remnants of our feudal past.

    Professor Robertson is also correct in his references to our collective past. At the start of the broadcast he qualifies the use of the word “we” when referring to colonialism and it’s connection with Scotland. He rightly points out that the vast majority of the people of Scotland (and England too, so Wales and Ireland must also be included) were not directly involved in slavery or the subjugation of other lands. Being exploited and oppressed in their own lands, they had their hands full. Rather, the exploitation and subjugation was the business of the boss/monied/elite classes. As you well know, the ordinary citizens of Scotland were none too pleased about the Union of the Parliaments and made their feelings abundantly clear. Yet, the union went ahead at the behest of the monied classes of both Scotland and England.

    Toward the end of your interview, you rather rudely interrupted Professor Robertson when he was building his argument about “commenting on the past”. His premise that you don’t remember history by maintaining monuments to slavers and exploiters, or the maintenance of stately piles owned exclusively by the elites of whatever age, but by recording it in books and lessons which we teach to our children should have been allowed to develop more fully. In this premise he is perfectly correct. Further, your comment regarding the judging of people by the use of modern mores had already been dealt with by the Professor’s pointing out that radical people had existed in the times of these rank exploiters. All kinds of human beings have existed throughout human history, the good with the bad. The Professor’s point that the bad are remembered through monuments and castles was, and is, well made. This interruption unfortunately reminded me of the kind of interjection made by the likes of Gordon Brewer, or Andrew Marr or Andrew Neil.

    This last point brings me on to my last observation. I have listened to every one of your podcasts from the first to the latest. Through the entire series, I have noted that interruption is very much part of your presentation. Indeed, I have found that we hear more of your voice than that of your guests (I must say that the podcasts featuring invited guests have been far superior – interruptions and all – to the series featuring the National journalists). Perhaps you could consider allowing your guests to speak more than yourself? I have followed your blog for 6 years now and have contributed to many of your fundraisers, this years’ included. I’m well aware of your opinion and style of delivery through your blog, and it is one which I appreciate. However, I’d very much like to hear the other voice more during the podcasts. Professor Robertson was an excellent choice, but I would have liked to have heard a great deal more of his take and experiences.

    • Don’t listen if you don’t like the dugs style. I love it, he gets it just about right. Some interviewees like to talk a lot, some less. I never noticed the type of interruption you are referring to. It seems to me you are not happy with something that is offered for free by WGD and the interviewee.

      I very much doubt if Prof. Robertson felt he was interrupted excessively, conversation goes two ways and WGD has a very good interviewing style. I guess it boils down to personal preference.

      But hey, if you think you can do better then get on it, nothing stopping you from starting your own blog and inviting a few guests along and interview them for our entertainment.

      Get on it, I’ll look forward to hearing the result.

    • Time lag may or may not be the cause of silent moments and or talking over each other when using computer to computer tech you may have noticed on TV some journalsts actually delight in it’s *advantages*

      • I noted audio delays lasting several seconds and digital distortions in the conversation, unusual in this technological age and between Ayr and Glasgow on an audio only feed all the more odd.
        Such technical glitches would make continuity a nightmare… Just saying…

  12. London in lock down from 5 o’clock tonight.
    Head of London Polis and Johnson on North Korea strength BBC Breakfast this morning warning of anarchists infiltrating today’s planned BLM protests. Winnie’s statue hidden behind reinforced packing.

    The frustration and anger is bubbling up.
    Twelve weeks a Covid slave.
    300 years a Brit slave.
    Who could predicted summer riots beginning in London and spreading throughout England?
    Oh, wait.
    It’s all going to the Fourth Reich’s plan. Thin out the herd, smash the Bolshies and furrin anarchists…just like Winnie and the siege of Sidney street.

    The Scots Guards were deployed to back up the Armed Police back in 1911 to confront two armed Latvian burglars who had reportedly killed three policemen in a botched burglary.
    Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, caused a political furore by grandstanding at the scene, the first filmed armed siege in England.
    30,000 Londoners gathered to spectate, and the standoff was resolved when the building was set alight, and the two ‘anarchists’ perished in the flames.
    This morning, BBC Breakfast wrote the headlines in advance of today’s BLM protest and its descent into anarchy by Bolshie infiltrators and trouble makers,

    Je suis Peter the Painter.


  13. This morning I learned from the BBC that the Germans are a race because the BBC decided to reinstate an episode of Fawlty Towers that had contained *racial slurs* towards the Germans but with a warning that it contained racial slurs

    I seem to remember not so long ago being told by the same people that Scots are NOT a race
    So that must be why it’s OK to insult Scots because we have less rights than German folk and black folk

    We really are a verminous non breed of nobodies who are fortunate anyone allows us to exist at all
    Even if you never wanted Independence before surely you’d like to be recognised as existing as a something

    • Dr Jim, this is from October 2016.

      The actor took to the social media site last night in response to a column in the Telegraph by Fraser Nelson, editor of Spectator magazine and former Scotsman political editor, who is from Nairn in Scotland.

      Cleese, 76, wrote: “Why do we let half-educated tenement Scots run our English press? Because their craving for social status makes them obedient retainers?”

      When he was called out by Twitter followers, with one calling him “classless” the actor replied: “Seriously,I’d rather have educated, cultured and intelligent people in charge. Sorry for the elitism.”
      “It’s not casual racism, it’s considered culturalism,” he added.”

      Lord knows I have little time for Nelson of irritable vowel fame, but Cleese is everything racist about the English gentleman.
      I see that the Daily Record is giving some loon yoon mob The Loyalist Defence League free publicity announcing their intention to gather and ‘defend the George Square cenotaph today at 12.00 mid day.
      All together now, the cry was no surrender…
      Fucking grubby wee rabble rousers.

      • I remember that Jack now that you’ve pointed it out, I guess we all knew he was a bit of a nob but a very funny guy so we kinda collectively forgive the upper class Englishness because we know they know no better but when he came out with his anti Scottish rant he placed himself in exactly the same class as Johnson, Reese Mogg and the rest of them

        *The Exceptionalists* they should get matching tatoos instead of keeping their armbands in the drawer

        Let’s hope the Yoon mob disgrace themselves to their fullest today and we shall see whether the Daily Record and the BBC *allow* Scotland to see them do it

        Go Police Scotland

      • I suppose it give those morons something to do now that they have finished spraying BLM graffiti on Robert the Bruces statue and the visitor centre at Bannockburn. Knuckledraggers!!!

  14. So On bbc Scotland promotes the ermine Lord McConnell or Jack as Shereen says. Let’s move to 1m rule says a publican from Glasgow. Does he not realise if you don’t care about my family or myself safety why should I care to spend money in your pub.

    For the ermine robed kilt wearing McConnell , cut it up and donate the bits as face coverings wash it first at high temperature.

    For our 3 contributors 2 Irishmen and 1 Scotswoman who didn’t know anything has been planned for the future please read The Scots government papers on the issue. Your lack of knowledge is your fault. Don’t promote the Tory and unionists patter as fact.

  15. The BBC by continuously questioning the Scottish governments advice but not the putting the UK advice to the same question is deliberately undermining the Scottish government, and they know it
    The point as I see it it to remove the confidence the people of Scotland have in the First Minister so they can then claim she’s ineffective because folk are ignoring her and doing what they want when it’s organs like the BBC who are subliminally ( to some) edging folk towards doing the thing they were asked not to do

    If or when the BBC succeeds at this that’ll give them something else to report on, justifying their own existence by creating news instead of doing their proper job of reporting news
    The BBC are like the wee clipes at school who whispered in other kids ears to cause trouble then stood back watched and claimed *nuthin tae dae wae me miss*

    I’m just back in after going out for some bits and more folk are wearing their masks, and it’s no wonder, they’re having to, all the shops were open with long queues waiting to enter Matalan B&Q Halfords and others, I was in my motor in case you thought I was walking around, however I did have to enter a Scotmid which is the only store in my area actually operating social distancing once you’re inside, I’ve stopped going to Aldis or Asda because nobody is paying attention inside the stores, oh there are announcements from time to time but nobody’s listening

    Well done BBC maybe you’ll get your rotten way yet, you will conform to British standard even if it risks killing you, and a quick shout out to todays British Broadcasting propaganda announcer Shereen Nanjiani

  16. Let’s get out of it!!! Tricky or not.

    ‘Britain formally rejects extension to post-Brexit transition period.’

    ‘Devolved governments row:- ”The Scottish and Welsh governments, which have called for an extension of the transition period, withdrew from planned talks with the British government about Brexit strategy on Friday evening.”..



    Joanna Cherry:- ”What needs to be clearly understood in Scotland is that any deal never mind no deal will be hugely damaging for our economy & society. This is particularly egregious because the vast majority of us have repeatedly voted against #Brexit.”

    ”What’s needed now is a plan to protect Scotland from what is about to happen & from further violations of our democratic mandate. I’m pretty clear that’s #independence & of course that’s what @theSNP exists to deliver. But getting there is going to be tricky.”

    ”There is no magic legal or political wand to deliver #independence. How we get there now and what we do with it needs informed & vigorous debate. I hope my party will be able to create the space for that debate which is now urgent as well as much needed.”

  17. Good to hear this thanks.

    Great comments as well.

    Statues symbolising and celebrating oppression and violence have no place in modern society. I can see why some want to tear them down, a symbolic act, rejecting the glorification of horrors meted out on populations across the globe.

    I always wondered what we should and could do with the castles and mansions. It’s interesting isn’t it that the National Trust in Scotland do keep these symbols of oppression in a state of repair, often where only a tiny portion is open to the public, while the landed rich lives in sheer luxury in the rest of the castle, or mansion.

    Also, if the royal family were disbanded (!) what would happen to buck palace, or Balmoral? They could be used to house the homeless, plenty of people need homes, and land to farm.

    The castles, all that rock, Scottish stone. It could be repurposed, build houses from it, bridges, whatever is needed, it would save the Scottish countryside being quarried for stone as much as it is.

    One other thing, the Glenfinnan viaduct. It is made of concrete. In a country where rock is so abundant. Scotland’s rock was hugely quarried, and much of it was shipped to England, to build the Thames bridges and big city of London buildings, and no doubt to other cities. The crags in Edinburgh were used for such, they almost took the lot down, until it was realised that was maybe a bad idea!

    I would take the Glenfinnan viaduct down, replace it with some real Scottish stone, maybe from some of the castles which could be repurposed. If this iconical sttructure have been built of concrete if it had been in England? I doubt it. The design is good, the landscape utterly spectacular, but mass concrete? Just my fanciful thoughts and opinion anyway.

    Anyone know how many castles there are in Scotland, ruins or intact?

    • Glenfinnan viaduct was the world’s first mass concrete structure. The viaduct at Morar is another grand concrete bridge.
      Both complement other structures on the West Highland Railway Mallaig Extension where concrete was used extensively. Had the contractors been required to bring in stone and stone masons, the extension would never have been built due to the costs such specifications would have incurred.
      I for one, am very glad the line was built.

  18. I really don’t think historical castles should be destroyed. History should not be destroyed. People should however be educated better.

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