His Excellency Lubomir Rehak, the Amabassador of Slovakia to the Court of St James (aka Betty’s Club), gave a talk at the University of Stirling this week with the Provost and past Provost of Stirling in attendance with the civic regalia on show. The occasion of this talk was to mark the centenary of independence for Czechoslovakia in the aftermath of World War 1. He traced its modern history as an independent country with Czech Republic from 1919-39, skipped past the 1939-45 when Slovakia was a separate but crypto-Nazi state until the Iron Curtain fell in the aftermath of the second World War. Touching onRead More →

Fears of losing a pro-independence majority in the next Scottish Parliament elections can be put to rest in a new exclusive Scots Independent analysis published for the SNP’s Annual Conference and available online As delegates assemble, the SI has set out how a new two-vote strategy for the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021 could return 96 pro-independence MSPs and a mould-breaking parliamentary majority of 31 based on the same share of votes from 2016. Both Labour and the Conservatives would face their parliamentary groups being cut in half with only the Liberal Democrats holding on to the bulk of their small group. The analysisRead More →

REVIEW: First Snow / Première neige It takes a little while to figure out why this drama is so titled. But then the main character, Isabelle, explains that the day after Quebec’s second referendum, which Federalists narrowly won, the ‘first snow’ of Winter landed on the deserted streets of Montreal. Fallout from the nuclear shock of a second defeat in fifteen years? Or a telling aide-memoire that you only get two chances in life. Make a mistake once but make it again and you’re a goner. So this is a dramatic piece co-written by Davey Anderson (yes, of City Limits fame), Phillippe Ducros and LindaRead More →

It was intended to make Britain Great again but the Brexit victory for Davis, Fox and BoJo is increasingly looking like being on a Pyrrhic scale unseen in modern electoral politics. Firstly, according to the official Leave campaign’s former Chief Executive, they have been found guilty by the Electoral Commission on four counts: made an inaccurate return of campaign expenditure is missing invoices and receipts failed to comply with a statutory notice exceeded its spending limit In a rare move, the Vote Leave campaign has gone public based on receiving a draft report from the Electoral Commission. Quite why Vote Leave it felt it hadRead 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 →

Theresa May’s de facto Deputy, David Lidington took to the Brexit Roadshow in a long line of UK Cabinet ministers stamping their authority on the process of leaving the EU. Mr Lidington has reportedly sent a warning shot to Nicola Sturgeon telling her Brexit must not be used as an excuse to break up the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Theresa May’s ally said the UK is at a crossroads but severing ties would leave every one of the four nations “weaker and poorer,” even if Brexit has greater impact on Scotland than any of the other ‘home nations’. In fact, referring to the UK as four nations is infuriating enough.Read More →

Monday: what a bizarre day for political media management in 10 Downing Street. A Cabinet reshuffle that actually didn’t do very much but somehow managed to take hours to conclude. Maternal Theresa promised a new ministerial team of bright and bubbly women and BME as dynamic reformers. Instead she was left with no net increase in women in full Cabinet posts. She had to resort to the use of ‘attendees’ to make gender balance appear better. So poor Liz Truss (chief secretary to the Treasury) and Andrea Leadsom (Leader of the House of Commons) ‘attend’ Cabinet whereas their predecessors in these roles would have beenRead More →

#BelikeStAndrew This St Andrew’s Day is going to be something really special. On November 30, Scotland is coming together to share little acts of kindness with each other in tribute to our kind and generous patron saint. The Scottish Government is asking the public to do a good deed on St Andrew’s Day to celebrate Scotland’s history, culture and the nation’s shared values. The #BeLikeStAndrew campaign marks the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – which opens with St Andrew’s Day, followed by Hogmanay, and then Burns Night. Charity partners Princes Trust Scotland, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Crisis Scotland, have joined the Scottish Rugby UnionRead More →

It may be messy. It may be frustrating. It may even be dangerous but the Catalan government continues to progress their case for independence with guile and right on their side. From silly mistakes like allowing the King of Spain to harangue Catalans on prime telly to the very sinister and offensive actions of the Civil Guardia, the Spanish establishment led by Mariano Rajoy have become Europe’s democratic clowns, forcing other EU member states into embarrassing associations with violence against peaceful electors. Boris Johnson’s FCO and personal tweets supporting the ‘rule of law’ as justification for the use of brute force by Spanish national policeRead More →

Angus Robertson famously declared after the NATO motion victory, “he who dares, wins”. That phrase has always stuck with me. Following the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (PfG) release, even Kenny Farquharson (Sunday Times Scotland columnist) declared it the kind of bold strategy that was expected and needed by Nicola and the SNP. However, within hours of the PfG’s release, Labour in Scotland tweeted that the PfG was based on 10 policy ideas of their own. A bold and deliberate attempt to say, ‘the SNP isn’t radical, we thought of it first’. First of all, politicians of whatever shade of party are rarely the typeRead More →