Referendum Radio Rehearsal

I’ve been seeking alternative voices on the referendum to gauge what’s really happening and not relying solely on sources that will support my own point of view, which is what we all do for reassurance and to keep our focus. But the big  unknown out there is what those who are persuadable are thinking and especially in areas where the population is highest. In board terms that means West Central Scotland where by some estimates nearly 40 per cent of voters associate themselves with Labour. And as we know, Labour’s position is anti independence – officially. We also know many Labour people don’t take that view and others are ready to make the leap if they can be convinced. So what does that take? How do we persuade them to back the transformation of our country? One of the most astute analysts of Labour politics is Steven Purcell. His rapid rise in Glasgow politics caused resentment in Labour and his emergence on the national scene did the same for many Nationalists. When he had a public fall from grace there was much laughing behind hands and, as I described it later, unedifying pleasure. He’s back in business now and sharp as a tack, his loyalty to Scottish Labour strong but unconstrained by a need to appease leadership egos.


I am part of a group putting together a Referendum Radio station which will provide, among other items, long form interviews with key players in the debate. In the meantime I’ve been practising. I spoke to Steven today and as a taster of what we are planning thought you’d like to hear his views as this is the week of the Labour conference. I will be using professional equipment soon and this meeting was inexpertly recorded by me! So you get the first cut. (This is the blogosphere after all) He has some interesting things to say and I suspect there is more to come as the campaign moves on.

(upgraded version)

Don’t laugh at the quality, either of the sound or the interviewing….But  let me know what you think.

58 thoughts on “Referendum Radio Rehearsal

  1. Great idea to have Steven Purcell on the ‘radio’. I only became aware of him at the time of his downfall (I don’t live in Glasgow). It’s very interesting to hear Labour people who don’t feel the need to stick rigidly to the party line. I wonder if he would agree in private that the reason Devo Max (which is surely a Unionist position, in the face of independence) is not on the ballot paper is simply that his opponents will do anything to avoid giving Alex Salmond a ‘win’. The fact that all the polls were saying more devolution was what people would vote for just didn’t matter to them, Salmond had to be crushed.

  2. Steven doesn’t seem to feel there is any irony in Wendy Alexander being told to get back in her box by head office in London when she said: “Bring it on!” If they had followed her strategy, I think independence would not have prevailed. Things are different now. Because people are tired of being treated like we’re the branch office.

  3. Some self delusion in the service of the ego there. I’m a natural Labour voter and I am not going to just ‘lend’ my vote to the SNP they have bought it lock stock and barrel. In a relentlessly neoliberal consensus in these island the SNP are genuinely Social Democratic party and all Labour can do is first attack their policies then pinch them as happened over childcare recently.

    Secondly we had the same old personalising of the Yes position as being all about Alex Salmond which is inconsistent with his thesis about people ‘lending’ their votes. IF he believes that then Salmond will be discarded once the referendum is won, surely? so is irrelevant.

    It also wasn’t much of a conversation. I know it is good journalistic practice to let the subject in an interview speak but I think a more conversational split would have been better.

    Another piece of psychic disconnect is the idea that Labour is ‘Scotland’s Party’, tell that to the Westminster MPs. Tell that to the ‘leader’ in Scotland who had no role in Falkirk. Tell that to the electoral commission who see just one registered party, UK wide. In the Information Age this fiction is no longer sustainable.

    And as for the 3rd option what a piece of revisionism. Alex Salmond almost begged Civic Scotland to come out and support a 3rd option. Where was Mr Purcell then? Where were his colleagues?

  4. An astute and dare I say it surprisingly relatively balanced take on things. Has to be said that yer man sounds like a definite Yes voter unlike many of his colleagues who are more set on defending their privileged positions rather than fighting inequality.

  5. A relatively balanced and astute take on things. Sounds like he has decided to privately vote yes. Pity his colleagues have a whole other agenda based on protecting privileged positions and jockeying for career paths while they spout about tackling inequality.

  6. Oh and the reason Labour went into Better Together with the other parties was because the Tories had the money. English Tory millionaires’ like Ashcroft’s money. Where was Labour to get that money? from the unions? after Falkirk? after Grangemouth? Don’t make me laugh.

    Such revisionism does not become this debate. Again, in the Information Age revisionism doesnae work any more.

  7. Derek

    I like your idea of a Referendum Radio Station – but I’m surprised to hear the emphasis in your first interview is heavily Labour oriented: Labour Party this, Labour Party that. It’s not the Labour Party that has difficulty being heard, it’s the parties and groups within the YES campaign.

    I sincerely hope your first piece, with Steven Purcell, was just a taster, and that we’ll be hearing the voices that have hitherto been given little or no chance of getting their message out to the general population.

    What I’d like to see is an internet radio with Derek Bateman, Ken Macdonald and other commentators letting Scotland – through interviews and comment – hear the sort of Referendum background that BBC Scotland is doing its best to stifle.

    But I really appreciate your initiative.

  8. Don’t worry about the technical difficulties you think you might have had
    The whole thing was first class, the content was more important than the quality.
    I like the idea of you doing interviews with various people and the more we get to hear, the better keep it up and I’ll be an avid listener

  9. Great ! More like the sort of interviews we should be hearing. I think Steven is spinning a bit on Labours position as I couldn’t have seen New Labour bring any more supportive of Further Devolution than they were in fact, which was not at all as far as I could see. Furthermore it stil doesn’t deal with the ultimate question – how do you get real rebalancing of the UK Government structures when the largest of the four nations doesn’t want to play the same game – doesn’t entertain federalism; doesn’t want it’s own parliament and keeps the first past the post system for UK elections thereby ensuring the smaller nations can never really have real influence on the balance of Westminster Governments.
    Notwithstanding, it was infinitely more interesting than the usual drivel offered by BBC.
    Well done Derek -I’m already a fan.

  10. Good evening Derek

    I am probably not the best person to offer an opinion. I listen to some radio usually in a car, and very little television purely on iplayer (we are talking of less than one hour per week in each case) so no doubt you will weight my reply accordingly. Furthermore I only know your written articles not previous BBC work as I have practically no exposure to radio and TV.

    I like the idea of interviews. I think the stairheid rammy format is extremely unhelpful to everybody, although it seems to be fairly standard fare for most broadcasters.

    I have occasionally seem Gordon Brewer on newsnight and I know he has been extensively criticised for interrupting and not allowing people to finish. However, the benefit (if it is a benefit) is that it fits into a predetermined timeslot.

    I think if I had to find a criticism it would be around the time. I don’t know whether it was Purcell or the format, but it seemed to drag a bit. Around minute 10 my ears perked up and things got a bit more interesting. But then it seemed to fade again. As I say, I don’t know if this is because Purcell has had such a sheltered life spending his entire adult life in a political party, or his willingness to share his personal life, which I must say does not particularly interest me. I am not a member if any political party but definitely a yes voter. Maybe if I was a labour apparatchik I would have found it more interesting.

    All that said, I don’t really know what the solution might have been. If you edit you may be accused of selective editing, and if you interrupt to keep things moving you end up being tarred with the same brush as Gordon Brewer.

    So there you are! A reaction, but sadly a somewhat useless one. Incidentally, I would not be over exercised by quality- I think the content is far more important, given that everything is audible Nd not given to misinterpretation.

    Finally, I would be extremely interested to hear a Tory view on jumping to yes. I think labour will gradually jump piecemeal, but the Tories in Scotland are a lost cause. They have seriously nothing to lose and everything to gain by jumping.

    I look forward to future editions.

    All the best Peter

    Sent from my iPad


  11. cynicalHighlander

    That was interesting as he showed more intelligence than the combined group of Labour MSPs at Holyrood and suspect when the polls shift he will join Labour for Indy.

    Did you ask him off air on who all attended his Friday group meetings when he was in power at GCC?

  12. Good interview ( couldn’t always hear all of your questions ) and I believe Steven spoke with honesty and integrity. I look forward to hearing future sessions as it is always difficult to judge true progress when we are continually in discussion with like-minded people.

  13. Good work Derek and great to hear from somebody who is intellectually and analytically clearly superior to the leadership of his party. I think you are to be congratulated for giving Mr Purcell the space to set out where he is at in his on time and in his own way.

    While he may not be persuaded to vote Yes, I suspect he is one of many in the Labour movement who will not be prepared to vote or work against Independence.

  14. Hi Derek good idea but as I live in the Highlands where we have .4 of a mega thingy the broadcast is buffering every two seconds and impossible to listen to. See if your boffins can come up with a solution that makes it transmittable cheers

    • Nae boffin but try this.

      Try letting the thing just run away on its own without trying to listen to it, letting it buffer away to its heart’s content till it gets right through to the end. Your computer will them have stored it in its “History” and you should then be able to play it through fine after that from what has been stored on your computer. Jist go away an have a dram or something till it has bumped and farted its way through the first run and the second yin should be fine. Worth a try.

      • Be still my beating heart!!! Nae boffin – but talks techie I can understand!! Thanks hon – cos now I can listen along too. “bumped and farted” its way onto my computer.

        More of this please Mr B – proper interview with a conversation flowing rather than petty point scoring.

      • Thanks Dunkie aye that worked and I enjoyed the dram Cheers

  15. At this stage, and with a person such as Purcell who is obviously intent on re-emerging into the political scene but has as yet no official standing, it was right that you let him talk to see what would emerge. And what emerged went a long way to explain the current thinking in the Labour Party. Unfortunately, they are still a decade behind the times. Scotland has surged ahead — Labour has rowed backwards.

    Beliefs that Labour is still Scotland’s rightful party, that the SNP has stolen Labour’s line and that Labour supporters are only lending their votes to the SNP, underline his remark about Labour still being confused about the presence of the SNP.

    The Tories have unpicked Labour advances – forgot to mention that they have done this with Labour support.

    Labour should not have let Salmond get his own way with a Yes/No on the ballot but should have claimed back their rightful place by offering a Labour option – not too clear on what this would have been beyond praising Gordon. The yes/no option should have been asked during Wendy’s period and that would have allowed a breathing space (how many decades of breathing space do they need!) for Labour to formulate their alternative to indy, an alternative Labour position that must be united across the UK. He indicated he supports a federal position, but like other Labour people from J P Mackintosh onwards he has never worked for it. So as a supporter of more devolved powers and a Labour Party that is all over the place, what does he do? Probably votes no in the hope that he can be Labour’s knight in shining armour who will ride to the Party’s rescue with a devo something-or-other package the Party can unite around, and that will include an English Parliament, despite the fact English people don’t seem too keen on that. So if we vote No, then another twenty years of blether guaranteed.

    Interestingly, he did say that Salmond can still be in charge of the game even with a No vote, providing the Yes vote is in excess of 40%, presumably in the belief that such a large number of disaffected Scots cannot be ignored.

    So, fascinating confirmation that Labour still has not come to terms with the SNP in power, and that mindset is what hinders constructive thinking about Scotland’s future.

  16. It was something I have been very interested in; getting some insight into what is happening in the minds of Labour. This is his views.
    The disappointment was it looks very like that he still sees it as a General Election. There was no sense of really changing the direction of Scotland as a country and seeing Scotland as a country, only the position of the Labour Party against the SNP.
    There was also the misunderstanding; it was the opposition parties which stopped the third question, not the SNP.
    The point about the unpicking of what Labour had done in Government, should have been like a bank of sirens going off in his head, and all Labour heads. There is always going to be a Conservative Party to change any previous actions, and the Cons continue where they left off when last in Government.
    The mention of Donald Dewer hinting that Devolution was weak, because Dewar and Blair redrew the maritime boundaries, deliberately putting thousands of sq miles of Scotland’ sea into the English sphere.
    Who would disadvantage their country in the possible scenario that the SNP and Independence might happen.
    There was contained in what he said the limitations of Labour thinking and shows that Labour may not win the next GE, especially when Gordon Brown’s recent intervention was put forward as clear thinking.
    But it was a good inside view.

    • @SCED300 “The disappointment was it looks very like that he still sees it as a General Election. There was no sense of really changing the direction of Scotland as a country and seeing Scotland as a country, only the position of the Labour Party against the SNP.”

      This comes out forcefully when speaking to people ‘on the street’. They have been veered away off from visualising how we Scots do have the ability to take charge, to determine our trajectory, to work out the best way to achieve our own outcomes.

  17. Frankly? Mr Purcell expounded a cliché-littered party-centric and a none too articulate view of Labour’s response to the referendum. He never strayed far from loyalty to his party and simply saw the historic choice facing Scotland through the prism of the overriding need to re-establish Labour hegemony in Westminster. Yep, and the sound wasn’t too good either…

  18. Great. I can’t wait for more. (And do you want a licence fee?) As to the content of the interview, it was interesting to get a fairly candid insight into the Scots Labour mindset – of the intelligent variety – but as other have commented, there are more searching questions to be answered about its structures, assumptions and insufficiencies. Nevertheless, good on the decent SP for giving it a go. Perhaps I should be wondering how hard you (and your relentlessly demanding producer) will be able to press the interviewees. We shall soon hear, I hope.

  19. Jack macgregor

    Hi Derek thi interview has reminded me how much I/we miss your voice on the radio…………..Steven sounds pretty sharp perhaps there is some intelligent socialist politicians to emerge after YES

  20. Frankly? Mr Purcell expounded a cliché-littered party-centric and none too articulate view of Labour’s response to the referendum. He never strayed far from loyalty to his party and simply saw the historic choice facing Scotland through the prism of the overriding need to re-establish Labour hegemony in Westminster. And, yep, the sound wasn’t too great either.

  21. I like it when the interviewer allows the interviewee to speak uninterrupted. I detest the Gordon Brewer style of interview, where the interviewee is interrupted half way through a sentence and we never get to hear what they have to say.

    However, when the interviewee makes attempts at revisionism, I expect the interviewer to pull him/her up on it.

    Also; I noted Mr Purcell’s constant referrals to ‘Salmond’ – not Alex salmond, or Mr Salmond, merely Salmond. That shows a complete lack of respect. No doubt Mr Purcell got the Labour Party directive that ‘Salmond’ is to be demeaned, disparaged and demonised at all times.

  22. Good format Derek, I like the long form interviews – giving people an opportunity to talk always reveals so much more, and sometimes interviewees say much more than they intended. Laying out the honey trap to get people talking is so much more revealing than the short,sharp soundbites of current ‘attack led’ interviews

    At times I thought you could have been a wee bit tougher. Especially when he was spouting his Labour ‘company man’ rehearsed stuff at the beginning. Was/Is Glasgow that much better ? Seems to me it’s always had huge issues with unemployment/health and so on – you let him get away with that.

    I think the secret is going to be carefully choosing the participants. Politicians are generally a no-no, they spout the same party lines again and again, but ex-politico’s are different. It seems that everyone has been grabbed already by either side of the campaign – so finding new voices might be tough.

    I’d love you to do one with Robin McAlpine or Andy Wightman. Social historians I always find interesting even these academics tend not to be well known. What about an ex-union official, say from the miner’s or steelworkers union ?

    • I agree. Those ex politicians who are out of the frame, or those on the way out, would probably be more honest than those still intent on climbing the greasy pole.

      I think Eric Joyce would be a great candidate.

  23. Couldn’t get it, I’m afraid. I ought to advertise my home as one of those peaceful, no signal
    havens for stressed-out tourists. The “in thing” at the moment……so I’m told.

  24. A free-thinking and acting radio station! Great stuff.

    I’m afraid I didn’t buy Steven Purcell’s rose-tinted history of Labour’s extended stint in government under Blair and Brown. Fine words from him about socialism but for me Labour past and present are, in a word, machiavellian.I don’t trust them.

  25. Good interview Derek, like the days of old. More of this please, but you need to invest in a mic for the host.

  26. That was a really nice, relaxed and interesting discussion and you got a lot out of Stephen Purcell. I’ll definitely be listening to more of that sort of thing.

  27. Excellent interview, though difficulty in hearing you at times Derek. Stephen Purcell certainly gave insight into how Labour dealt with the SNP two victories. I remember First Minister’s Questions just after SNP had won the first time where Labour MSPs looked shocked. This was the first time they had had to deal with their beliefs were being challenged. Interesting how Stephen kept saying that the SNP had borrowed Labour votes.

  28. Sorry Derek. I couldn’t listen to much of this. “Loyalty to the Labour Party” plus revisionism as has been said in posts above. “Mistake to share a platform with the Tories”, but OK to do their dirty work for them? The NO campaign have enough free publicity from the MSM without giving more airtime to another Labour apparatchik. I’m sorry, but stick to the blog. If, as I believe you do, you have worked out that YES is the way forward for the people of Scotland, then think carefully before you do anything that provides the Naysayers with any opportunity to muddy the waters even further. I have recommended your blog all over the place and am a great fan, however please keep you eye on the main prize on September 18.

    • I thnk this is a little unfair.
      Derek sets out the motive for his discussion with Steven quite clearly.Rather than being a platform it’s more of a forum.Personally i welcome all input-the thought of the Yes camp operating in a echo chamber rather dull.

  29. Like it Derek, good luck with the initiative. Looking forward to being a regular listener

  30. Why did you not ask the absolute crucial questions, in that over 13 years of Labour control nothing was done, nothing, to improve life expectancy in areas of the Dear Green Place that was less, much, much less than 3rd world countries? Why not ask about the shenanegans of the ALEOS? Why not ask for an apology and an admission of guilt?

  31. very good idea Derek & good to see you back in your natural environment.

    I liked the friendly tone, the gentle probing, good questions and you seemed to get a fairly direct response from your interviewee.

    A breath of fresh air – good luck with getting the tech sorted as it will make it easier to listen to – but apart from that, real quality. Keep it up!

  32. Thanks Derek, I think it is good to be able to hear views without constant interjection. I was under the impression that the main driving force for a one question ballot was the prime minister and not the first minister? I know it was an agreement but behind the closed doors did Alex Salmond not give way on the single question in order to bring the franchise to the 16-17 year olds?

    I believe in full independence but in a situation, where devo max was genuinely on offer, it would have been my number 2 in a single transferable vote system and it would have been my number one, tactical choice, if it was down to a simple count of the three options. Under both those scenarios I think it would have been the clear winner. Full independence supporters would have gained something and it would have been a worthy comprimise with huge majority support in Scotland.

    …… But apart from some devo-more-maybe, Heath Robinson drafted promises made by some grandees, worthies and other Desperate Dans there is no third option. Scottish Labour have missed the boat, their Scottish conference is only a talking shop, they are too late and they are not in a position to give us a viable plan B with any real guarantees attached. The only option for a rejuvenated Scottish Labour Party is YES. If the politicians won’t do it then their rank and file members and regular supporters will have to do it for them. Vote yes and the Scottish Labour Party will almost certainly run the independent Scottish government sometime in the not too distant future. Vote no and it won’t be more of the same, it will be significantly less than that.

  33. Good initiative Derek and good to hear people being allowed to talk. Having said that I would have liked to hear more incisive questions about the referendum as that is after all your stated objective. I do realise this was perhaps a dummy run. We have all been spouting about the bad journalism, bias, and so on. So now you have the expectation level of your public there are no excuses for getting it wrong!
    It would also be good if you invited suggestions for interview “victims”.

    As for the content and discussion in this interview, I believe this has been pretty well covered already. I do agree with several point about Mr. Purcell still being the Party man and all that that means. My own opinion is that there has to be fundamental change, which only a YES vote can bring, to enable wider future change which will open up all sorts of new opportunities across all aspects of society in Scotland and the remainder of the former UK. Not least political parties, especially in Scotland, will have the chance to reinvent themselves. Something which is badly needed.

  34. Thanks for that Derek, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing what Steven Purcell had to say.
    His analysis was, for me, extremely accurate. The only drawback was that this is analysis of the past & what has happened to Scottish Labour; no real insight as to what they should do now. Which, of course, is why they’re so deep in the brown, smelly stuff, that all they know is to continue their pathological hatred of the SNP in general & Alex Salmond in particular! Which, as any sane person will tell you, is why it goes down so badly with the Scottish public. We’ve moved on. We’re not “lending” our votes to the SNP. They’ve earned it because they articulate the wishes of the Scottish people.
    Now, if Steven is an ardent political fanatic, as he seems still to be, he’ll enjoy reading the comments here.
    My advice to you Steven is, come in, the water’s lovely! You know in your heart which side Scottish Labour should have been on, but there’s still redemption for you & a large proportion of your comrades if you’ll just swallow your pride & get behind Yes!
    We’ll be delighted to have you. And, you know what, so will Scotland too!

  35. Not convinced by Purcell………….I’ll leave it there.

  36. Excelent the work and Radio Idea, all the best to you and all who partake

  37. Thomas William Dunlop

    Interesting recording. What strikes me about Purcell is that he is the same as any Labour hack I have heard- their life revolves around the party well being, not the health and wealth of the people. That is ultimately why they have fallen out of favour with the Scottish electorate (or any other). They have drifted away from the electorate.

    From what Purcell said about the referendum, I think they are a lot of Labour voters that are ultimately going to vote YES. This is reflected in the fact that the SNP are scoring highly not only in Holyrood but also Westminster voting intentions. These people have had enough of the bullying & negative scaremongering and are going to push the YES over the winning line in September.

  38. Four years ago (almost to the day), when Purcell resigned from his position as leader of Glasgow City Council I forecast that his unmasked drug dependency would be spun as a “mental breakdown”. I was right. When investigations began into his possible involvement in criminality and his vulnerability to blackmail, I forecast that no charges or public enquiry would be forthcoming. I was right (although it did take two years for nothing to happen), I also forecast that he would be back. I was right.

    I am a plaudit of your blog Derek – and I like the idea of Referendum Radio, I would have preferred however, that your initial fish was plucked from the top of the barrel, not the bottom. Purcell is the epitome of self serving, duplicitous, Labour chancer – and here he is, at his revisionist best, in denial that his exit from politics was anything more than a breakdown; in denial that he resisted devolution; in denial that 13 years of Labour in government was anything but ‘progressive’; in denial that Labour in Scotland lost the popular vote to the SNP (they only ‘lent’ it); in denial that a toxic Labour administration is no better or worse than a toxic Tory one; In denial that there is no 3rd. question on the Referendum ballot paper (but let’s talk about it anyway).
    Had I been the Interviewer I would have eviscerated him. I wish you had.

  39. Margaret Brogan

    Technical quality is not an issue.
    Steven Purcell sounds more intelligent than the current group of Labour “people”, but this is someone who is trying to find his way back.
    I never “lent” my vote to any one. It went to whoever was going to make a difference, that’s democracy, with all its flaws. I find this repeated statement significant and it indicates that the Labour party still feels that it is entitled in some way. Why? It has repeatedly failed the Scottish people and for years, as Steven Purcell still seems to be doing, assumes that the Scottish vote is theirs by right. How patronising. Perhaps he sees it as political realism. He is mistaken, it is opportunism of the most blatant sort.
    The Labour party has made this man, he is still serving it, don’t trust him.
    But do go for the independent radio! Good to hear you again.

    • I agree with much of that, Margaret, but Steven Purcell’s appearance on Derek’s initial interview suggests to me he has a personal agenda, and that is to return to high profile politics. I find it interesting to wonder whether he sees an opportunity for his own career advancement in the referendum. A no vote will see Labour under pressure to make more of the running. A yes vote will see them in disarray. In both scenarios there will be opportunities for people of Purcell’s calibre as he is so obviously head and shoulders above so many of its MSPs and MPs, and, as Derek said, he knows how to galvanise opinion. Will be interesting to see whether developments tomorrow in Lamont’s devolution proposals will be enough to satisfy the federalist desires of people like Steven.

  40. I like that you have brought this about. I do struggle with my hearing, but didn’t have any problems with the sound. I also live in the Highlands but had no problem with streaming.

    As others have said I resent hearing the “lend your vote to the SNP” crap – Labour need to take responsibility for the mistakes they have made – Iraq war, Bedroom Tax, Tony Blair, well the list goes on and who represents Labour in Scotland now – quality of representation? They are bought and sold for WM/HoL gold.

    The referendum is about so much more than party politics for me – I have been a Labour voter, an SNP voter and a Green Party voter. There is only way to start rebalancing WM and London-centric domination, anyone who thinks voting No is the answer…

  41. So good to hear you on the “radio” again Derek, you are in a different league from some of those currently broadcasting on BBC Radio Scotland – apart from lacking your journalistic skills, some seem to have difficulty just talking. They stumble their way though interviews, incapable of even stringing a concise sentence together, their intonation all over the place. I have been surprised by James Naughtey’s performances.

    I still miss the Saturday morning slot you used to host Derek so I look forward to more broadcasts from your new venture. Yippee!

  42. Thinking about it some more, I agree with those above that it shows how Labour does not understand the Independence movement or the attractions of the SNP. Until they do they have no chance of forming a credible opposition. If Mr Purcell is the future then I don’t hold out too much hope of that happening.

    I suspect the mythology of the national UK Labour party has much to do with this. The idea that working people are the same everywhere and a one sized fits all offering should do for everyone regardless of where in the UK they are is the problem. It makes those who see things differently either shut up in resentful stewing or they get driven into the SNP. We see the one nation Scottish Labour MPs who epitomise the problem. You might expect someone like Mr Purcell to have more insight, but there I suspect that seeing the SNP as the implacable enemy has clouded his judgement.

    I can’t help feeling that all this lack of understanding, of not even wishing or trying to understand, of tribal hatred has in part lead to the rise of the SNP as the limitations of the Labour project, all the so-called underclass created by Thatcher and very little done for them under Labour. Their Holyrood administration even sent tens of millions back unspent. An absolute open goal showing they had no idea, no mission for change. Just managing what was there in the interests of Westminster and keeping a large section of the population hopeless and not voting was just fine by them.

  43. I like the idea of the radio station, finally a voice that can be heard without Brewer drowning it out,

    But to the thought that the reason devo max was removed to avoid giving Alex Salmond a consolation prize is risible,
    the worst of all outcomes would be additional tax “responsibilities” which would be a
    poisoned chalice and would allow Westminster to force tax rises on the Scottish government by reductions in the block grant,
    the “prize” would be more akin to the kid getting the answer wrong on Crackerjack and getting a cabbage (get it right and its a packet of corn flakes for you my lad) no really!
    so once they’ve loaded us down with cabbages they move in for the kill and make a helpless SNP government so toxic they would end up down a deep hole in Dounrey,
    And a future Labour government (stop laughing at the back its not big and its not clever to make fun of people who are less fortunate than you) would turn the knife in the SNP’s back with great relish, all you have to do is look at the unbridled hatred in the eyes of Murphy (deliberate) to see just how much the democratically elected government of this country is despised by these savages.

    • The point though about Devo Max was that there would be no block grant. It means all taxes raised in Scotland stay in Scotland less a sum for defence and foreign affairs etc. Everything else is devolved, welfare in particular. Though a deal would have to be made over the oil and whisky duties.

      For a start the reservation of the duties to Westminster would cause resentment but as we know the Treasury in London is addicted to Scottish oil in particular and is not going to give it up easily.

      For another thing, and this was why I wanted it, the lies about Scotland being too poor and a subsidy junkie would be seen for what they are. We would see from within the UK’s ‘warm embrace’ how viable a small nation we would be.

      And that is why the unionist parties were never going to go for it. Donald Dewar sold Devolution to Tony Blair as the killer of nationalism in Scotland. He was either seriously mistaken or a good salesman, history will be the judge. But the point is since we know by this campaign that Devolution leads to separation what must DevoMax lead to?

      So despite the option being massively popular the unionist parties, not even the supposedly Federalist LibDems were going to support it and why the ‘Further Devolution’ Jam Tomorrow being bandied about will not be worth a hill of beans and will not be DevoMax. As you say it will be a poison chalice since as soon as one pound more is raised in Scotland so the block grant will be reduced, probably by more than a pound. See Business for Scotland for how much we pay in admin fees now.

  44. Wow! Very well done indeed. A little more practice with the technicalities and you could corner the market in civilized discussion. This is how it should be done. BBC Scotland take note!. I expect they will hate you for this.

    As for the subject, I’m have to say he did not convince me of the Labour point of view. In fact it strengthened my belief that they are not fit to run a Government – at any level. They need to think long and hard about their attitudes and policies.

  45. Derek – a very worthwhile endeavour – there is a place for letting people air their thoughts and opinions without being hectored… and leaving it to the listener to form their own opinions. I would agree with others above that Mr Purcell has been and still is a career politician, however that does not detract from the format – would that have emerged under aggressive questioning which put him on the defensive? The difficulty is striking a balance between aggressive questioning and guiding the conversation to highlight important issues, inform the listener and curtail soliloquys. I’m sure I couldn’t have resisted asking – OK if bad labour better than Tory, is London Tory government better than a Holyrood one of any colour?”
    Look forward to hearing more.

  46. It was an excellent interview Derek and it’s so good that we’ll have you back in broadcasting shortly.

    I agree that it’s vitally important to gain a better insight into where the Labour and Tory tranch of the undecided are coming from. After all, it’s necessary to understand someone before you can communicate effectively with them and hopefully encourage them to become engaged enough to see the realities of either side of the debate. Great work!

  47. Thanks Derek – its great to hear your voice again on the ‘radio’.
    As someone who lives in the east coast, I had never been aware of Steven Purcell. Listening to what he had to say, my sense was that he comes across as thoughtful and articulate. However, the strongest impression was that he still believes in the Labour Party as the only answer to making a better society, and that the Labour Party is fundamentally not interested in working with anyone else. I believe that this is not consistent with the implicit understanding that many people in Scotland now have, about how we want our political system to work – that there should be open dialogue that allows serious consideration of ideas from any source.

  48. dennis mclaughlin

    As I have to continually resort to the OFF button with GMS/ST…it’s nice to listen for a wee change without the annoying interruptions to questions nearly all presenters have styled themselves on …
    Labour in Scotland are in a right fankle and need to put the long-term future of this country of ours first and stop the Salmond hating ’till after 18th Sept.

  49. Edward Barbour

    As ever very good Derek, obvious technical issues which I’m sure your aware of and that was you must have recorded in your downstairs bathroom 😉 as a bit echo so need sound baffles, that aside I thoroughly enjoyed your interview and look forward to more
    (By the way have you chatted to the chaps at Black Diamond FM in Edinburgh?)

  50. Derek, I could bore you with my take on Mr Purcell and the labour leadership but thankfully I wont. However, I am an audio engineer and the quality of these interviews which I sincerely hope you do many more of is easily sorted. A couple of lavallier (tie clip mics) – use the cheaper wired type and buy one extra as a spare, a small mixer and a simple DAT recorder would improve things 100%. You should be able to pick the whole lot up for a few hundred pounds and it would all fit into something the size of a laptop bag and be very light to carry. Add to that a wee cheap pair of headphones (the same as you get with your phone) to set the levels and send your mic to the left channel and the interviewee to the right hand channel and that means you can “balance” the levels when you get home before uploading as a file to your computer.

    If you wish more details on this then feel free to contact me personally. No charge for helping one such as you sir. This is not spam and I wont try to sell you anything, I simply want to help you. I am just a jobbing engineer.

    Kindest regards,

    David Milligan Lvss

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