200 Voices

The humble gin and tonic has been elevated to an art form. Picture: Flickr

Why has gin become so popular?


There is no denying that gin is one of the world’s fastest growing spirits, with Scottish gin in particular undergoing a massive revival.

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Tam speaking at a public event

Alternative political voices: Tam Kirby, Scottish Communist Party


It’s not often you get a council candidate admitting that he hasn’t a hope. But as the Scottish Communist Party’s Tam Kirby reflects on his failed by-election attempt last year, he is under no illusion that his politics are a minority pursuit.

“It was a laugh. We knew that we were fighting big parties with big budgets. It was partly to make a point that we still existed because the by-election was to replace Wullie Clarke (often touted as the last Communist Councillor in Britain, Clarke was in fact an independent) and we had a good time with a cavalcade of cars waving the red flag,” says Tam.

We wanted to find out what drives someone to join a part like the communists. For Tam, it was in response to the financial crash that led him to join the party.

The affable Fifer said: “I was too outspoken for mainstream parties. And as for other Scottish left parties (like Rise, the SSP and the Greens) – their politics are too naïve.

“They think there’s going to be a revolution overnight and suddenly we will be living in some kind of socialist utopia. Communists are more realistic.”

Surely someone so active in Scottish politics will have an opinion on the big dividing line of the constitution?

Not Tam.

“I think the whole issue of independence is just a massive distraction. It’s been put across as this silver bullet that’s going to fix things for the working class. It’s not the case that we’re more left-wing than England – we’ve even got a UKIP MEP!”

To end our chat, I tell Tam that this is his platform to sell communism to the Scottish people. Where should we be looking to emulate, and what would a communist Scotland look like?

Tam believes Cuba is one place Scotland should emulate

Tam believes Cuba is one place Scotland should emulate

He says: “When I cite places like Cuba, people hit back with some of the problems that they have there despite the positives.

“The most damaging myth is that communism equals dictatorships.

“But our current sham of a democracy is where power is held by the richest for the richest.

“People query our system, but at events we have we need to ask for donations to foodbanks. That’s capitalism for you.

“Our vision is about true democracy, from the ground up, That’s what Scotland could look like, but I know it won’t happen in my lifetime and I’m ok with that. It was all about finding a home for myself and an identity I’m comfortable with. And that’s why I’m a communist.”

'I make big beasties' - Andy Scott

Andy Scott: Kelpies sculptor inspired by his Glasgow youth


Glasgow sculptor Andy Scott is the man behind some of Scotland’s most impressive public art, or as he likes to put it: “I make big beasties”.

He’s not wrong. Read more

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Greatest voices in Hibs history


In what’s been a terrific week for the side from Leith – not to mention a terrific 12 months – we look back at some of the greatest voices in the club’s history.

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The Kelpies stand over a special lock in the Forth and Clyde canal

Take a tour of The Kelpies in 360 degrees


Scottish sculptor Andy Scott has created some of largest pieces of public art with dozens of installations appearing in public places across the country – and now you can view it in our 360-degree tour. Read more

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle: The capital’s guardian


Edinburgh Castle dominates the capital’s skyline, and has appeared on more shortbread tins than you can shake a stick at.

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Sir Eduardo Paolozzi with a tapestry he has designed for the Pearson Group.

Eduardo Paolozzi: A Scottish artist with a love of colour


Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi was one of the most influential Scottish artists of the 20th century. His early works helped spark the pop art movement and his sculptures are found in prominent locations across Britain. Read more

Alexander Thomson also known as Greek Thomson pictured in 1860s pastel.

Alexander “Greek” Thomson: the forgotten architect


Alexander Thomson – known as “Greek” Thomson – was an architect and architectural theorist in Victorian Glasgow.

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Portrait of Ebenezer MacRae. Picture: Contributed.

Ebenezer MacRae: The man who shaped modern Edinburgh


THERE can be few individuals who have helped to shape modern Edinburgh as much as the prolific City Architect, Ebenezer James MacRae.

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David Dale: The founder of New Lanark


New Lanark started life in 1786 as a humble cotton mill – one of hundreds opened across Scotland and the north of England in the late 18th century – but now enjoys a reputation as one of the world’s best known industrial heritage sites. Read more

Elsie Inglis, the Edinburgh doctor, who came up with the idea for the Scottish Women's Hospitals.

Elsie Inglis: Scotland’s Florence Nightingale


One of Edinburgh’s most distinguished daughters is Doctor Elsie Inglis, who was a pioneering doctor and suffragist during the First World War.

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Rev Donald Caskie: war hero and “Tartan Pimpernel”


There is a corner of Paris that is forever for the Reverend Donald Caskie.

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Mary, Queen of Scots.. Image: TSPL

Mary, Queen of Scots – the controversial monarch


One of the most famous Monarchs in history, Mary, Queen of Scots, like in her rein in the 16th century, remains an important , albeit controversial, figure today.

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The cargo ship 'Kaitoa', weighing 2583 gross tonnes, is launched from Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith in 1956

Greatest Voices in Scotland’s Shipbuilding Past


Shipbuilding has been a huge part of Scottish industrial history for over a century. At the height of its powers, the industry on the Clyde employed 100,000 staff at more than 40 yards. But none of this would have been possible without the remarkable men who built up their businesses and brought about great innovations in ship design. Across the country, thousands of shipbuilders helped to shape Scotland, and, in some places, their legacy can still be seen today.

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RANGERS CELEBRATE.EUROPEAN CUP WINNERS CUP FINAL IN BARCELONA IN 1972.

Greatest voices in Rangers history


There have been countless great voices to enter through the famous doors at Ibrox.

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Joan Eardley painting in 1961

Joan Eardley: The painter’s painter


While her name may not be first on the list of prominent Scottish painters, Joan Eardley carved out a niche for herself in 20th Century Scottish art.

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8 of the best Scottish food and drink quotes


Food and drink has always played a major part in the lives of Scots, from enjoying a dram or two of whisky to tucking into haggis in celebration of our patron saint.

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Tessa Ransford at Scottish Poetry Library.

Five famous Edinburgh voices of the last 30 years


These five distinguished individuals have all provided a distinctive Edinburgh voice across the world in the last 30 years. Read more

A Dream come true - Jim Jefferies kisses the Scottish Cup after his side had overcome Rangers 2-1 at Celtic Park.

Greatest voices in Hearts’ history


OVER the course of Heart of Midlothian Football Club’s long and distinguished history, there have been countless great voices.

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Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell: 8 words that changed the world


It was a few words that changed the world: “Watson, come here, I want to see you. Read more

Peter Pan author JM Barrie

JM Barrie: Captain Hook was an afterthought


WHEN Peter Pan was first created in the mind of author JM Barrie in the 1800s, he did not have his nemisis Captain Hook in his thoughts – but bizarrely theatre stagehands then changed history.
It has been discovered in the Scot’s notes that he originally saw no need for a villain in his story.

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Professor Sir Tom Devine

Sir Tom Devine: The historian telling Scotland’s story


He is the country’s preeminent historian, whose presentation of Scottish history captured the public’s imagination through several bestselling books. Read more

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 07:  UFC Co-Creator Campbell McLaren speaks during a press luncheon to introduce the mun2 network's new MMA reality television series "Combate Americas" at The Venetian Las Vegas on February 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for mun2)

Campbell McLaren: The Scottish co-creator of the UFC


Think of Mixed Martial Arts, or more specifically the main organisation of the sport, the UFC, and plenty of names spring to mind.

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John Muir: The Scot who fathered America’s national parks


John Muir helped federalise America’s national parks on a camping trip with President Roosevelt and yet he was relatively unknown in his native Scotland until the 1970’s.

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Hastings brothers: Destiny with Scottish greatness


There’s an old tale which states the career of Gavin Hastings, and by extension his younger brother Scott, two talismanic figures for Scottish rugby through most of the 80s and into the mid-90s, might not have happened were it not for a freak accident involving a car, the school rugby coach and young Gavin’s leg.

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Jock Stein. Picture: SNS

Jock Stein: the man who transformed Scottish club football


He has been hailed as one of the greatest football managers ever produced by the British game as well as the creator of modern-day Celtic who turned an ailing club into the kings of Europe during his reign at Parkhead.

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Great Scottish quotes on life


French Enlightenment writer, philosopher and historian Voltaire (1694 – 1778) once wrote: “We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation” and he is far from the only man (or woman) to have celebrated Scots wisdom.

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Portrait of David Hume by Allan Ramsey 1766

Great Scottish quotes on philosophy


Scotland may be small in size, but it has been home to some of the world’s greatest minds – people who have helped influence global culture.

Here we celebrate seven great Scottish quotes on philosophy:

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Founder of Made Brave Andy Dobbie

What it’s like founding a start-up in Scotland


When Andrew Dobbie quit his job in 2012, he had a two-week old baby and £1000 in the bank. Since then, his brand-led digital marketing agency Made Brave has grown to accommodate 30 staff offering a full service agency working for clients in Scotland and beyond.

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Charles Rennie Mackintosh

How Charles Rennie Mackintosh shaped Glasgow


The design influences of Charles Rennie Mackintosh have sunk tendrils deep into Glasgow’s cultural identity over the course of 100 years.
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