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Archives for November 2009

Was Homecoming a success?

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Graham Stewart | 10:27 UK time, Monday, 30 November 2009

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It's St Andrews Day and the culmination of Scotland's year of Homecoming. In today's Investigation, we asked whether the campaign has been a success - both financially and culturally? Have you been to any of the celebrations? Have they been well attended? And was the whole exercise money well spent?

Catholic schools for Catholic kids

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Graham Stewart | 10:08 UK time, Friday, 27 November 2009

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A bishop has said Catholics should get priority entry to one of Scotland's top performing Catholic secondary schools, sparking a huge response on today's Morning Extra.

Philip Tartaglia, who's Bishop of Paisley, says plans by East Renfrewshire Council to narrow the catchment area for St Ninian's High School in Giffnock are "manifestly unjust". Redrawing the boundaries would mean some parents whose children currently attend feeder Catholic primaries would, in future, be denied a place at St Ninian's, while non-catholics in the new catchement would still get in.

The council is acting because the school is over capacity, with the roll projected to increase over the next few years.

In an official submission to the consultation, Bishop Tartaglia called for an alternative solution.

"We happily acknowledge that Catholic schools welcome the inclusion of children of all faiths and backgrounds and that they support all young people appropriately," he said.

"Nonetheless, we take the view that, where a Catholic school is over-subscribed, priority for admission should be given to Catholic children.

"We recommend that the council, as a matter of priority, should review its admissions policy to Catholic schools, ensuring that the demonstration of religious affiliation through the production of a child's baptismal certificate becomes the key criterion for admission."

Is this fair enough? Or should schools funded by the taxpayer be open to all children, regardless of their religious background?

Follow us on Twitter

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Graham Stewart | 08:17 UK time, Tuesday, 24 November 2009


OK, so I've finally succumbed to the bandwagon that is Twitter. It's a much more effective way for me to communicate short messages to you about the programme. Typing-up full blog entries and finding pictures to illustrate them often robs us of time that could perhaps be better spent on our radio programme. And if our time is short, we often neglect the blog.

By subscribing to my Twitter feed you'll be the first to find out what we're talking about on the show, long before we announce it on-air (usually before 8am). I'll also update you after the broadcast to point you to interesting bits you may have missed. And, it's a two-way process, so you can send messages back to me (so long as it's 140 characters or less!)

If you've never used Twitter, it's dead easy. Our address is:

You can either just visit that address or, better still, sign up for an account and that way your Twitter page will be updated not just with Morning Extra info, but anything else you fancy following. You'll see on the right-hand side of my page some of the people I'm following at the moment.

Your thoughts on the Glasgow North East by-election

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Graham Stewart | 10:08 UK time, Friday, 13 November 2009

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Glasgow North East by-election win
What does the by-election result in Glasgow North East tell us about Scottish politics? Has Labour turned the corner? Is the SNP honeymoon over? And, with a record low turnout for a Westminster by-election in Scotland, was democracy the loser?

Is a play about a transsexual Jesus art... or blasphemy?

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Graham Stewart | 10:12 UK time, Thursday, 5 November 2009

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About 300 protesters held a candlelit protest outside a Glasgow theatre over the staging of a play which portrays Jesus as a transsexual. The protest was held outside the Tron Theatre, where "Jesus, Queen of Heaven" -- in which Christ is a transsexual woman -- is being staged.

It is part of the Glasgay! arts festival, a celebration of Scotland's gay, bi-sexual and transsexual culture. Festival organisers said it had not intended to incite or offend anyone.

Glasgay! producer Steven Thomson said: "Jesus Queen of Heaven is a literary work of fiction exploring the artist's own personal journey of faith as a transgendered person. This work is not intended to incite or offend anyone of any belief system. However, we respect your right to disagree with that opinion."

Pastor Jack Bell, of the Zion Baptist Church in Glasgow, who took part in the protest, said: "You can't blaspheme God and use freedom of speech as an excuse for that. True biblical Christianity is becoming marginalised through political correctness. If this play had treated the prophet Mohammed in the same way there would have been a strong reaction from the Islamic community, but that just wouldn't happen."

Is travelling by train too expensive?

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Graham Stewart | 10:08 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

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Virgin Cross Country
The UK's first £1,000 rail ticket has gone on sale.That's how much it could cost you to travel from Kyle of Lochalsh to Newquay.

Of course, it's not the most likely fare you would buy. Indeed, a spokesman for Cross Country has confirmed to us that no-one had actually bought this ticket. The train company says that anyone wanting a first-class return would be likely to book a saver return in advance and pay £561.

Nonetheless, it highlights a more general issue about the cost of "walk-on" fares and the rate at which many of them have increased over recent years. The rail expert who uncovered this latest example, Barry Doe, says the £1,002 ticket had been available for £486 as recently as September 2008

So what's been your experience of buying a ticket?

How well do we deal with floods?

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Graham Stewart | 10:09 UK time, Tuesday, 3 November 2009


River Don flooding
Interesting calls on today's Morning Extra about how badly prepared we are for floods. While the water may now be receeding, heavy rain has caused havoc in north and east Scotland over the last few days with homes flooded, roads closed and trains cancelled.

So who - if anyone - is to blame? And what do we do about this in future? Lots of you have been texting me about how drains and gullies are not being cleared out properly, and some of you are saying that farmers face restrictions in how much they're allowed to do to clear ditches.

But also, Paul who called us from the Scottish Flood Forum, pointed out how householders need to wake-up to the dangers and be better equipped to deal with flooding when it happens.

So does the responsibility for dealing with flooding lie not just with the councils, but with all of us? You can continue the debate here.

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