This week we will have the Annual Oliver Brown Award, going this year to Lesley Riddoch.  As I followed the cantrips at Westminster I was reminded of one of Oliver’s quotes regarding the Westminster Parliament  “The Lord Privy Seal is neither a Lord, a Privy, nor a Seal”. We still have Black Rod, whatever that is, and ‘Strangers in the Gallery’, all outmoded and belonging to another age.  I am particularly aghast at the voting system; when a vote is called the Division Bell rings and MPs have about 15 minutes to get to the voting lobby, where their names are marked off by aRead More →

Two things have struck me quite forcibly in recent weeks. The outstanding attendances at the AUOB marches and the reactions to the Growth Commission report. Many years ago, the late Maggie Ewing would tell anyone who would listen that she knew when Scotland would win Independence. “When the people start marching for it”. The Glasgow rally I was prepared to be sceptical about, possible one off, big city attractions, novelty value etc. Plus the fact that we were moving house and that was taking all my attention. I readily admit to being stunned at the turn out and the enthusiasm evident in the numerous videosRead More →

Last week I visited the amazing recreation of a World War 1 battlefield at Leckmelm near Ullapool. Built as part of a transition project for the Primary 7 pupils moving onto secondary education, the community assisted the local History teacher to create this very time limited display. Situated next to Loch Broom, British and German trenches at Arras had been authentically replicated and rows of crosses bearing the names of the men of Lochbroom who never returned home stood under the shadow of the towering mountains. Although just a tiny number of the 140000 Scottish soldiers who lost their lives in the war to endRead More →

Here we are again, Ruth Davidson, ever the champion of sticking to the day job, has given a speech on the economy this evening at Glasgow University. Her press team informed journalists in advance that she wouldn’t be answering questions or giving any interviews. So far, so the very same as last time and the time before. As an elected politician, it is incumbent on you to be able to not just articulate your position to the public but to defend it when subjected to scrutiny. This is the very essence of politics and the fact that the Leader of the Opposition in the ScottishRead More →

Tradition is a peculiar thing. According to dictionaries it is ‘The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.’ We are now in the year 2018. Last century it was tradition for the man to be the wage earner. The woman to keep house and bring up the children. The man washed the car and did the garden. The woman saw to the shopping while the man was at work. Although many have always questioned tradition, most people were happy to go along with it. It was easier. Life was simpler if you tookRead More →

“That a man thinks as his newspaper directs him – discuss.” The above was my choice of essay in the Higher English exam in 1960 – how time flies.  Now apart from the fact that the question seemed to assume that only men read newspapers, this subject nevertheless captured the attention of  this 16 year old “woman”. The points raised by this question seemed to be 1) Do we choose our  newspaper to echo our beliefs? Or 2) Have our beliefs been moulded by the newspaper we read?  My own experience of my family’s newspaper habit was, I felt, not typical.  My parents took theRead More →

While the Indy movement rips into itself over whether to march or not, yet unites around the media bias (have to say BBC Scotland online news did report organiser’s and Police estimates of the number of marchers and it was top story for the afternoon), a lot of England went to the polls last Thursday. At first glance, the outcome of mayoral and council elections tells us very little. Tories wiped out the UKIP vote south of Birmingham to largely increase their overall representation in local government. Theresa May can breathe a sigh of relief that there wasn’t too much in the results to giveRead More →

A bit of a mixture this time, as this week will be a busy one for me Some two years ago, I think, I got a new computer and decided to use a “civilian” email address. In the last two weeks BT, my supplier for this email address, said I had to change my password, specifying I could not use my current one. Since then I have not been able to access my “civilian” email! I had my eldest son attempt to fix it after fruitless tries, even using their “Helpful chat” method. ( I had to cancel that try as my tea was ready).Read More →