So, we have had yet another week of the Tory Westminster Government treating us like a bit of smelly pooh on the end of their foot. The behaviour of the English MPs towards the Scottish MPs has been diabolical. The Deputy Speaker certainly wore his heart on his sleeve in his treatment of Joanne Cherry last week during the Brexit debate. The Tory MPs were criticising John Berkow for his non impartiality over the Trump statement. Someone should pull Lindsay Hoyle up for his open hostility to elected members of his own house. So, as I write this on a sunny St Valentine’s day, whereRead More →

This week the Scots Independent newspaper had its 90th Birthday;  there was a well attended lunch in the Salutation Hotel on Saturday 5th November.   There were stunning displays of the SI through the years in one part of the room, and a brilliant slide show of various events and characters past and present, in the SNP and the SI – I found it overwhelming.   Our guest of honour, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, PC, MSP, presented commemorative plaques to long term SI supporters, Denholm Christie, current SI Chairman, Ken Fee, SI editor for almost 20 years, myself, Editor for three months which stretched toRead More →

I sit here some 38 hours before polls open for the referendum. You will be reading it near close of poll or after. I am singularly uninspired. Just as well I voted by post before the depths of this campaign became apparent. Things came to a crashing halt last Thursday with the despicable killing of someone who had only ever sought to make conditions better for everyone. Whether it was charity work abroad in third world or war torn countries or at home in her beloved Yorkshire. I had been preparing myself for some sort of violence erupting as we got closer to polling day.Read More →

Kezia Dugdale has come under renewed pressure to use her party’s conference to set out a credible position on council tax – amidst polling evidence showing that even her own party’s voters are backing the SNP’s fair, progressive reforms to local tax. Labour has yet to detail any firm plans for local taxation – while a poll last week showed that the SNP’s planed reforms are by far the most popular option amongst even Labour voters.  The poll confirmed that the SNP’s plans were favoured amongst the majority of those who expressed an opinion. The SNP Government has announced plans to reform local tax, whichRead More →

Dennis Robertson MSP for Aberdeenshire West and his guide dog Mr Q were spotted taking time out from the SNP conference at the SECC to visit the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale stand at the Cycling and Walking exhibition which was also taking place. The 2016 100 mile closed road event starts and ends in Ballater on 18th September and takes in some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland on its route through upper Deeside, and on to Dufftown before climbing up over the Lecht and back to Ballater. Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside SNP Councillor Geva Blackett said “This event, now in its secondRead More →

Former Professor of Media Politics at the University of the West of Scotland, Dr John Robertson writes ‘So, on the objective evidence presented here, the mainstream TV coverage of the first year of the independence referendum campaigns has not been fair or balanced. Taken together, we have evidence of coverage which seems likely to have damaged the Yes campaign.’ Roughly two years ago, in January 2014, as a member of no political party, I concluded an interim research report, titled Fairness in the First Year, on BBC and STV/ITV coverage of issues, relevant to the outcome of the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum, with the aboveRead More →

After months of evidence collection, the Commission on Local Tax Reform has published its final report: Just Change: A New Approach to Local Taxation.   The cross-party commission, established jointly by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), brought together representatives from across the political spectrum to look at options for a fairer local tax system.   Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, Marco Biagi, one of the commission’s co-chairs, said: “The First Minister established this commission to allow an informed debate on the future of local taxation.   “We welcome the fact that four of the five parties inRead More →