There was I, sitting on my bed in Aberdeen Royal after my latest cancer surgery, happily extolling the virtues of the Scottish Government and its stability compared to the never ending chaos in London when one of my fellow patients bursts in to say “Aye well but who’s going to replace Nicola now”? Talk about pulling the rug…. It’s sad to see Nicola and now John stand down after so many years of unstinting service but at least we now have the opportunity to blood a new FM and their team before going to the polls again. Like the vast majority of folk I’m enormously grateful to both for yearsRead More →

We are delighted to announce that the Oliver Brown Award Lunch is back this year. It has been paused since the start of Covid but, given we should all have had our vaccinations, we are going ahead this year. The award is presented to someone, in the world of journalism and arts, who has spoken up for Scotland in the previous year.  We awarded Alyn Smith in 2019 for his speeches at the European Parliament as the UK government were ripping Scotland out of the EU. Unfortunately, we were unable to present the award as lockdown made it impossible to hold the event. Therefore, AlynRead More →

Like almost everybody else, I was shocked when I heard the news that Nicola Sturgeon was standing down as First Minister.  I had been late to the information as I was working and when I switched on my phone later in the day, I was presented with a series of incredulous texts from my children before eventually working out what had happened.  Over the remainder of the day as the news filtered through to people, there seemed to be a genuine sense of shock at the news even from people who made no secret of their dislike and distrust of the SNP and the onlyRead More →

Many people like to think they are legends, though many don’t really measure up to the meaning. This week, however, we gathered to celebrate the life of one who truly was. If you were active in the independence movement at all, you will have met this man. Allan Angus was everywhere. He was for many years the Scots Independent agent for Aberdeen SNP and we are extremely grateful for the time he donated to sell our newspaper and spread the knowledge that independence is something we can achieve. He was known throughout the whole of Scotland as a campaigner. When the NE campaign bus visited by electionsRead More →

I’m frequently confused, baffled and frustrated by some of the commentators who claim to be ardent supporters of Independence.  On one hand there’s a steady stream of “advice” on what the SNP should be doing to lead the campaign and drive forward the case for various courses of action from convening conferences, parliamentary disruption and calling for yet more marches. In the following weeks some will have columns which will frequently demand that the SNP stand aside and let the “wider YES movement” take the lead in developing campaigns etc. Occasionally, I think that the habit some had developed of knee-jerk opposition to the SNP, built up over decades of slavishly following whatever line theRead More →

I’ve recently spent a few days down at Raigmore Hospital while my son was in for an operation.  During a 5 day stay I was in awe of the dedication and care from the staff no matter how busy they were.  Everybody had time for a blether with the patients and visitors and the calm and patient demeanour of the staff was very evident. With no set visiting hours, you were generally welcome anytime and this helped greatly with the flow of people in the wards and made for an easier visiting experience. Raigmore is the main hospital for the whole of the Highlands andRead More →

With the whole of Westminster raising the problems in the NHS there are so many components being argued about.  But the main problem is lack of staff.  We could solve it by attracting back EU trained staff, but would they feel welcomed or just used.  They have already uprooted their families and their lives because of the uncertainties of Brexit, why would they risk coming back when they no longer have the security of the EU behind them. There is also the fact that having used them for cheap labour for years, why should they tolerate the abuse for our benefit.  There are so manyRead More →

We went into the festive break with NHS workers, teachers and rail staff at the end of their tether. All the UK government would say was that they won’t talk about pay. Pay was not that high on the workers agenda. They wanted to talk about working conditions, understaffing and work practice changes that would endanger staff and service users. Nothing given. We come back from the festive break to the UK government putting legislation forward that was intended to make striking more difficult and resulting in staff being sacked. There was no need for this to happen. The unions and the local authorities alreadyRead More →

Well, whatever history may record about 2022, it certainly hasn’t been boring. We’ve had just about everything mankind can throw at itself from continuing to destroy our planet, war and chronic tory masochism. With a side dish of misogyny thrown in. Many of you may have watched the Netflix series of self-justification from the couple who want away from the Royal Family crap, oh except for the titles and maybe some taxpayer funded protection when they visit. Personally, I had about as much interest as I had in watching the proverbial paint dry. But, just when I thought it had vanished from the public eye,Read More →

In a recent piece for The Atlantic, “How the UK Became One Of The Poorest Countries in Western Europe”*, Derek Thomson wrote ” When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it hit hard, smashing the engine of Britain’s economic ascent. Wary of rising deficits, the British government pursued a policy of austerity, fretting about debt rather than productivity or aggregate demand. The results were disastrous. Real wages fell for six straight years. Facing what the writer Fintan O’Toole called “the dull anxiety of declining living standards,” conservative pols sniffed out a bogeyman to blame for this slow-motion catastrophe. They served up to anxious voters a menu of scary outsiders:Read More →