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29 October 2014
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Magnus Magnusson

Today in 1929 saw the birth of Magnus Magnusson, writer and broadcaster.

Born in Iceland, Magnus moved to Scotland when only a baby. He made a career in journalism, finally achieving the post of Assistant Editor with The Scotsman. Best known for his long stint as question-master of BBC TV's Mastermind, he has also published over 30 books, as well as presenting a number of other notable TV programmes, most memorably the monthly series on world history and archaeology, Chronicle (1967-80), and a 12-part series called Vikings! (1980).

Magnus Magnusson died on January 7th 2007.

Ramsay MacDonald

Today in 1866 Ramsay MacDonald, Britain's first Labour Prime Minister, was born. McDonald was from very humble beginnings and had no secondary education, but was a rousing speaker. In January 1924 he formed Labour's first administration in coalition with the Liberals. His appointment of Red Clydesider and fellow Scot John Wheatley as Health Minister raised hopes of social change.

Wheatley's 1924 Housing Act attempted to introduce a programme of slum clearance and subsidised housing, but it died with the Conservative victory in the October General Election. Fear of Bolshevism played a large part in the downfall of MacDonald's first government. He returned to power in 1929, but when he sided with Conservatives in 1931 over planned spending cuts he lost the support of his party.

Today's recipe: clapshot is a comforting Scottish side dish.

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