Last Saturday we had the great pleasure of welcoming the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek McKay to Donoch to speak to the local Branches. Derek, as usual was an articulate, informed  and passionate speaker but also has the gravitas which comes with having to make some hard decisions in power. As is normal, questions were concentrated on how we win Indyref2 and especially when it would happen. However for me, one of the key moments came when he referenced the lessons learned about the pensions debate in 2014 and that the Treasury admission that pensions were guaranteed had come too late in the debate. WeRead More →

In recent months we have seen the scourge of football hooliganism rearing its particularly ugly face again. With a bottle and coins being thrown at players and most recently “fans” invading the playing area in both Scotland and England. This fall in behaviour comes on the back of the decision to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Grounds Act. I was not a big fan of this law but I would not have called it “mince” or a “stain”. One thing it did highlight though is that we should not create new legislation just because the Police say we should, a rather more serious basisRead More →

Over the years, there have been a number of things which have symbolised Britain’s self-perception. Things like the famous capacity to pull together when things get rough, the muddle through compromises, the willingness to put the country first. Yet all of these are falling apart in the pursuit of victory in the Tory civil war over Europe. A civil war which is now engulfing the entire English political system. With the utter contempt with which most people now view their supposed “representatives“ in the Commons. Far from “taking back control” of their laws the MPs seem hell bent on refusing to accept control because ofRead More →

It is often said that people get the leadership they deserve. If so, it’s hard to imagine just what the membership of the Labour Party have done to deserve this lot. For the last year or so Labour have sought to hide their differences over Brexit behind claims that what they want is a General Election. Yet now, when the Government are floundering hopelessly does he go for the jugular? No! Instead Craven Corbyn plays socialist debating society games. Instead of leading the charge to get rid of this shambolic Tory government, he and Labour’s Shadow Cabinet table a motion of No Confidence not inRead More →

I’m constantly amused by the current nonsense from the numpties of the DUP. They refuse to allow a trade barrier to be erected down the Irish Sea but insist on a time line which keeps Northern Ireland in some sort of cultural bubble. They happily take £1billion as the bribe to prop up the tories and insist there can be no difference between them and the mainland unless you are gay, want an abortion or quite like the idea of elected politicians actually getting on with running the Assembly. Just pause for a moment and imagine if the SNP were to be blocking Holyrood fromRead More →

As we hurtle towards the Brexit deadline of March 2019, albeit with the prospect of a transition period of at least 18 months, it’s worth pondering just where our movement stands and where do we go from here. We are rightly committed to the “Gold Standard” of referenda, which basically means we need to repeat the conditions which applied in 2014. This poses a major problem. The 2014 referendum was faced with the prospect of its legality being called into question and challenged in court. This was overcome by what was known as the Section 30 Agreement between the Scottish and London Governments. It meantRead More →

That old Chinese curse of “may you live in interesting times” has rarely seemed so apt as it is today. With both the US and UK facing major government crisis and even “Mutti” Merkel looking less than secure the Western world has more than enough going on to make things interesting. I was struck recently by just how much these crises have in common. The root cause seems to be the alienation being felt by huge sections of the population as Governments struggle to develop any kind of coherent response to the impacts of industrial change and what they mean for our social, economic andRead 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 →

“Don’t raise your voice, raise the quality of your argument!” That’s a mantra which was drummed into me by the late Bill Johnston when, as a young, ambitious and very opinionated Nationalist I was losing a debate with him yet again. Bill was then the Convenor of the Association of Scottish Nationalist Trade Unionists, a forerunner of the SNP Trade Union Group. He mentored our group, giving us the benefit of a life time of experience as a Union activist. We would often meet in his house under the shadow of the Erskine Bridge as it was constructed, and where he would hammer home theRead More →

The justification for calling a second referendum has been largely based on the SNP’s manifesto commitment in 2016 which stated “We believe that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.” It’s obvious to the most casual observer that the first condition has not yet been met. Sure, there are positive signsRead More →