Sometime in early 2012 after another day of reading everyone sniping about the media coverage surrounding the Independence debate I decided that I wanted to do something about it.
There were a numbers things I felt needed addressing. Firstly, it seemed that Independence supporters appeared less on the television and radio than unionists – something which is still the case. Secondly, when Independence supporters are on they tend to get shouted down before getting the chance to explain themselves properly (this is a problem that could be applied to political broadcasts in general). Finally, there is the constant conflation of Independence with SNP/Salmond.
To address these problems in some small way I thought that a podcast would be the ideal vehicle. The format would allow Independence supporters some air time. Guests would be given the chance to explain themselves without being shouted down. Views from a wide range of people could be put on the air.
However, bills must be paid and so on and therefore it was only in the summer that I really got the project going and I set up a couple of meetings in some little university towns in that little country just south of Scotland and conducted the first interviews with Donald Adamson of Cambridge University and Andrew Tickell aka Lallands Peat Worrier in Oxford.
I met Andrew in his office but after that we went to the pub and conducted the meeting that has now become renowned in media circles as the okay-i’ll-have-one-more-pint-but-I-really-really-need-to-get-the-next-train event.
At this meeting we talked about the project and Andrew expressed similar frustrations and concerns to my own and we took the decision to do a kind of discussion programme rather than just an interview, and that discussion programme became the For A’ That podcast.
Again, work gets in the way sometimes, so it was September when the project really began to get a head of steam up and I published the first few interviews and later in October we got going with For A’ That.
The reaction to the podcasts has been almost entirely positive. We have managed to get on people from different political parties and walks of life including bloggers, scientists, academics, the leader of the Scottish Green Party, people from the SSP, Scottish CND, various journalists and even members of the National Collective.
Our figures have been good and for something new to have had more than 15,000 listeners so quickly has been marvellous. However, when it comes to listeners we are like Tony Blair and middle-east wars, we always want more.
So the purpose of this article is basically to give you an idea how all this got started and to say thank you to all who have listened and helped to support the project. When you tweet or FB us or tell your friends about the podcasts, you are helping to get some alternative and important narratives in this debate out there. It is after all the most important decision our country has had to make for centuries, so please keep supporting us in the new year – we’ve got some interesting guests lined up too.
The other purpose of this article is simply to say from Andrew and myself, Happy Hogmanay and have a good new year when it comes.
Mine’s an Aberlour thank you very much.