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 →

I know that we were all just a wee tad busy in 2012 – 14, there was apparently a referendum going on. But while we were tramping the streets with leaflets, canvas packs and manning street stalls for that a seriously important anniversary went without due recognition. I know that the National Trust for Scotland held major events over the weekend of the Battle of Bannockburn (just as well the new boss man wasn’t in place) but because of co-ordinated political opposition the anniversary was much lower key than it deserved. Not just because the Scots under King Robert defeated the English under Edward 2Read More →

A great deal has been said and written about developments in Catalonia over recent months. A great deal less has been said and written about developments in the Kurdish regions in Norther Iraq, Syria as well as Turkey. Personally, I have tried not to get engaged in discussing (and especially not advising) the people on what to do. Partly because I was furious about constant interference in our affairs in 2014 and even when the interventions were meant to be helpful, my gut reaction was to think “keep your neb out of Scotland’s decision”. Partly because the scenarios are both disturbingly familiar and seriously scary.Read More →

One of my big failings in life is that I’m a big fan of American political satire and comedy. I love Saturday Night Live and even more Real Time with Bill Mather. I also confess to admiring the way American political shows use video clips of statements before challenging politicians to justify their views. The “Oh, that’s not what I said” line is destroyed even before it can be reached for, because we just watched you say it! Now justify! At the start of this administration I particularly liked the way Mellissa McCarthy destroyed the hapless Sean Spicer in his role of White House PressRead More →

For all that has been written and said about Jeremy Corbyn bringing a new type of socialism to the ranks of the Labour Party one thing became abundantly clear on his recent tour of Scotland. Jeremy Corbyn is just as much a tory fan as Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. For the Tories to be defeated at the next election, they must lose seats, that’s just a simple fact! So where does the blessed Jezza target? Labour reckon they need to take 18 seats in Scotland to win the next election and each and every one of them is held by the SNP! Now justRead More →

Over the course of a good number of years working as a Training Developer in the Civil Service, one of the early things I learned was the importance of doing a “What have we learned” session at the end of each event. It was a great way of working out what went well, where we needed to make improvements and also as a “Team Builder”. There were few punches pulled, on occasion an ego or two might get slightly bruised and we celebrated the things which worked and as our unofficial motto had it “copy with pride” any good ideas or processes from others. OverRead More →

The 2017 General Election may well go down in history as the “Ironic Election”. A seemingly popular PM decides to go to the Country on a weekend walk in Wales after denying no less than seven times that she would call an election. Summing up just how much the concept of collective responsibility matters now. The same PM campaigns on a mantra of bringing “strong and stable” government and claims that if she is not returned to No 10 there would be a “coalition of chaos”. She is returned to Number 10 (albeit on a very short lease) and creates the worst possible coalition ofRead More →

Just when you thought that the Nasty Party had been put away along comes an election campaign to shatter such illusions. For a number of years David Cameron worked very hard to lose the Tories the label of “the Nasty Party” which Michael Howard etc had deservedly earned. Annabel Goldie and then Ruth Davidson had done their bit to help lose that tag and earn a bit of electoral credibility and crucially acceptability. That work has, at least in Scotland, been undone over the course of the campaign for the Council Elections. Now the Tories have a toxic mixture of: past membership of the BNPRead More →