Showing posts with label Debate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debate. Show all posts

Thursday 31 August 2023

Moving Forward Dugdale & Riddoch, Edinburgh book festival 2023

If we agree on the destination, how can we then agree on the road to reach it? 

“We must find a middle ground – otherwise we in Scotland are stuck.”

Three high profile women - Kezia Dugdale, former Scottish labour leader, now lecturer at the John Smith Trust; Lesley Riddoch, campaigner, podcaster, new book Thrive – asked what is the road, now its ONLY about the road (currency, borders etc) and not the destination or our common bonds; while Wishart provided excellent sound bites and humour on these critical issues  


How do we find the middle ground and build bridges. 

This talk was a lively discussion – they looked at how we’re governed, and how we must be honest about risks. Scots are risk adverse. They agree on the destination of social policies to improve lives BUT see different routes to get there. The UK is micro-managed by a right wing government, that is cruel, elitists and can’t or won’t modernise. 


Kezia as former leader of the Scottish branch of the Labour party, provided the counter arguments of why left leaning voters have much in common with our counterparts in England. She agreed on the destination – on the social polices of how we might work to eradicate poverty and inequality and was an advocate for improved housing – she disagreed with Lesley on how we might reach these goals. (she is no longer a Labour party member)


Dugdale has softened her position on independence since Better Together 2014, and said shed prefer indy over an extreme right wing government Boris led UK government (but who wont concede a referendum). She felt there were big questions on social policy to resolve – not the yes/no constitutional lens. Trust is low, many see politics as corrupt. Is politics broken here in the UK?

Riddoch showed her metal and years of experience as a journalist, traveller, author, broadcaster and political commentator. She said that commentators took their eye off the ball. She spoke of Scotland’s overly large council areas, the largest in Europe – average Scotland 175K/ average Europe 10K. The 32 councils in Scotland are really large regions. In Norway there are 400 councils. 


She claimed we’ve lost our self confidence in Scotland to govern and run places ourselves. Community councils only receive £400, are Development Trusts an answer? We must get power out of Edinburgh into the rest of country – to the local village. She spoke of Shetland’s large wind farms, which are of no benefit to Shetland and they rely on diesel generation. Scotland has the best wind and waves in Europe. 30 yeas ago Norway was developing renewables.


While Kezia spoke of employment legislation, immigration powers, wealth redistribution and the importance of new housing. Federalism UK - is this possible? She spoke of the benefits of the EU, but hoped Keir Starmer wins the next election. Dugdale said she was proud of the Scottish government. On the question of Yes/ No, she said she would decide at the time! 


Riddoch said Feudalism in Scotland was only abolished by the Scottish Parliament in 1998! That we Scots are wacked back of the head, by large landowners. The country has never been ours and is treated as a playground for the rich. After Brexit, half of the highlands are shut. The Indy vote 2014 in Scotland inclusive of all who’ve lived here for 3 months. Wheras the Brexit vote was exclusive, had to be British. 

 Scotland does not compare well to other small nations. She spoke of Denmark, as the highest taxed but happiest country – with best kindergarten, security system and OPEC wind turbines of 50 years! Sweden, best elderly care and highest trust. Most sustainable country in the world. Estonia (1991) moved away from Russia and invested in education (as did Ireland) 

Lesley Riddoch

Federalism was discussed and Wishart asked, could such an Asymmetrical federalism work? And where does it work?
 In Wales Labour are more outspoken on small nationalism, Welsh language and culture. Proper devolution for England, where the large cities (London etc.) don’t vote Tory. Devolution for all parts of England. 

Riddoch was hopeful that things can change and progress here in Scotland. If the SNP can be bold enough. England needs to face its own problems. Do we have capacity – with the risk adverse Scots? Perhaps Scots simply want our lands and voice back. The questions remain – how do we come unstuck from Westminster – they claim Scotland is a negative to Britain’s economy yet want to hold on to Scotland. This all doesn’t add up.

Ruth Wishart

Social democracy is the settled will in Scotland. Wishart asked – what is the settled will in England? The UK is the single unitary state in Europe of 65 million, and where London runs everything. Its those in the middle who really hold the power. Vote for confidence OR a straitjacket. We need levers and capacity. 

Major issues - 

Electoral Reform – the ERG group 

FPTP voting system

Unelected House of Lords, second chamber

Well being economy

Saturday 31 August 2019

Naomi Wolfes Beauty Myth 2019, Edinburgh book festival 2019

The Beauty Myth/ Gender Debate: what is gender in the 21stcentury. 

Panel; Amelia Abraham, Palko Karasz, Elizabeth Pata, Naomi Wolfe (New York Times debate series) 

Naomi Wolfe, wrote her defining feminist book in Edinburgh in 1990. She said that Scotland is a place that dreams of a better world, re-inventing itself into a better future. 

The feminist Mystic. That images of beauty are used against women in a second wave. Unattainable beauty.  What did she have to say for todays women?  She saw the positives of social media – we are more critical and knowledgeable .  Recently the Times Up and #Metoo movements. 

They also discussed the Digital age: change and positives.
The Arab Spring, when young women at keyboards  liberated women to have a voice and without the internet harder to organise. Find your community.
The Negatives were – the online harassment of female journalist and politicians. Threats to free speech and the means of controlling the population to whip up divisiveness.

Wolfe spoke of her latest book, OutRages. She said there used to be a wider version of masculinity, now men are all in black suits. 

Unfortunately, although the debate had a 90 minute time slot – Elizabeth was confused over what 90 minutes meant, and the one and a half hour should have easily left 30 minutes for a fine debate and interesting feedback from the audience. I felt much of the panels chat was highly idealistic and theoretical. Elizabeth spoke of the language of gender

**My Views
-Fashion and gender neutrality, so both boys and girls have broader choices.
Gender neutral toys – art, sport, play-do, Lego etc. rather than sparkly pink fluff and aggressive war toys. Sadly I was shocked to discover that it is much worse today than it was when my children were young in the 80s. I now shop for my grandson and I am horrified to find the toys and clothes are even more extreme!

-Encourage team sport for young girls much more.

-Paternity leave? My son took paternity leave last year and was surprised to find he was one of the very few men on paternity leave. Many women feel odd about it still, very strangely.  

Why did the journalist Shona Craven raise a complex legal issue over gender, when she might have made a more important point over how she was personally affected by Wolfe’s Beauty Myth as a teenager, but now felt disillusioned over how things have progressed since then. 

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Copyright Debate at EIBF #edbooksfest

The speakers were Colin Firth, music journalist and judge Mercury award, and Debi Gliori, children’s author Tobermory Cat,

Question: Does copyright do more harm than good to creativity?

Firth spoke of the tension between the copyright owner and the use of copyright, and he said that the owners are anxious. The Publishers are suffering too and see copyright as essential for creativity.

The Music Industry. Digital media makes copyright unnecessary as author can go direct now to the audience and therefore no longer need retail distribution. However publishers have quality control and there are also the curators who create the audience. There is more music than ever but much is not listened to.

Also digital distribution is not ‘free’. There is little infrastructure now to support new artists. One in ten in the record industry make money - supported by the control of copyright and what of those making money, such as the giants iTunes or Amazon and their not paying tax and giving nothing back?  And is music downloading simply publicity for live performing?

The Writers. Debi Gliori spoke of her situation as a children’s author and loosing money these days due to piracy.

She said she believed that the author's copyright should stand for the first twelve months past publication and after this there could then be free access so the author still made money from their work. She thought that education was the key thing.

She said that the loss of control of copyright meant these forces were ‘stealing the author’s futures’ and that the industry was turning itself inside out.
She spoke of artists ‘drawing from the realm of ideas’ and that it is what you did with your ideas that matters. 

And what of Academic Papers which are a valuable research tool and require open access?  The creative arts require the free expression and transmission of ideas. 
The US has stronger copyright Laws, which are mostly driven by the motion picture industry.  Meanwhile the pirates make their millions and there seems not enough protection for the artists.

There also needs to be a balance between the need for the survival of even the big book sellers. 
Someone said that they looked up Amazon for details on books and then purchased their books at their local bookshop.
As consumers we have a choice. Do we want faceless superstores or the personal smaller store who care about their product? Amazon and iTunes are convenient – but these businesses can be too big and we need to adjust models.
The VOTE went for copyright being good for creativity, after all artists do need to eat! I believe that it is vitally important that societies and those in power (as royalty used to do) should value the creative arts.

On the other views.
This was an interesting and informed debate. There is also the question of the US now setting Copyright Laws to such lengthy time periods it can hinder the creativity of new artists. That is, it becomes more profitable to recycle old music than encourage new music, and the Labels can rely too heavily on their back catalogues.

And the enforcement of copyright for example would have prevented the use of the well used ‘Amen Break’ drum beat, which has led to a great deal of creativity in music.  

It seems like we need new models around how we view the need for artist's copyright ownership in our digital age - both protection and the freedoms to create.