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 →

This week, Paul Kavanagh (aka “The Wee Ginger Dug”) gave a talk to the City of Stirling branch of the SNP in what can only be described as a morale-boosting, motivational address for fellow independence travellers. It’s a talk, which he explained was something he does on a regular basis the length and breadth of Scotland. As with many non-SNP members in the independence movement, he has his views of how to win independence and many of them I agree with. For independence, we must increasingly let it be ‘whatever people want it to be’, i.e. the important detail of whether we are in theRead More →

Commentators North and South of the border are, grudgingly or not, acceding to, even applauding, Nicola Sturgeon as the stand-out Leader (again), of the 2017 General Election.  Launching the SNP’s 2017 general election manifesto in Perth, Nicola Sturgeon outlined the key policies at the heart of the document. The manifesto includes commitments to:  An alternative to austerity that will release almost £120 billion for public spending over the next parliament, achieving a current budget balance by the final year of the parliament  Protect public services, including a plan for additional NHS spending across the UK that would, by 2021/22, increase the NHS Scotland budget byRead More →

A leading light of a pro-European Tory Group described the rush to implement Brexit, whilst casting aside the implications of Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to remain, as ‘the English majoritarian mindset’. Herein lies Theresa May’s greatest problem. To satisfy the anti-EU bloc, she must be seen to drive forward the Brexit agenda and in doing so, trammel the concerns of Remainers in any part of the UK but especially the Celtic fringe, if she, as a former Remainer, is to retain power.   In a move that was lifted from the Thatcher playbook, the Prime Minister declared: ‘Now is not the time’ and withRead More →

You could be forgiven for thinking the Scottish Budget negotiations have gone awry. The first attempt to gain parliamentary approval failed to gain a majority. A second attempt has now been held but when the media invite went out for assembled hacks and snappers, it was to be during a visit by the Finance Cabinet Secretary, Derek Mackay, to Howdenhall Police Station. Was this a last minute public appearance before Derek entered the station to ‘assist police with their enquiries’? The mind boggled. A difficult week in a difficult time. A Scottish Budget that is at the mercy of smaller parties determined to secure concessionsRead More →

Last week’s first and last Autumn Statement by Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a silver lining in the grey clouds of austerity for the City of Stirling and Clackmannanshire (and a host of other places), when the keenly-awaited confirmation that a City Deal had been struck between the Treasury, Scottish Government, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils. The City Deal is predominantly a capital infrastructure plan funded equally by the UK and Scottish Governments, with the two local authorities chipping a bit too. So, you can expect more buildings, better transport links and the opportunity to grow the local economy. The original City Deal inRead More →

Every day it seems, another No voter makes the case for why an independent Scotland is right, now. The disillusionment with the Brexit Britain they find themselves in is turning even some of the most ardent Unionists into Independistas.   From either ends of the political spectrum – Paul Mason on the Corbynite left to Allan Massie on the right – there is a sense that the case for Scotland ploughing its own furrow as a modern European democracy is gathering pace.   Whilst there is a growing groupthink that Scotland in Europe is a much more viable position, equally there is a recognition thatRead More →

John Mason stirred the Unionist nest the other week with his statement that he personally boycotts Barrhead Travel following its Tory owner’s intervention in the 2014 Referendum when said owner wrote to each individual staff member calling on him or her to reject the Independence question. Deputy Tory Leader, Jackson Carlaw MSP, called John’s political statement in a tweet, ‘petulant beyond belief’. Nothing like a touch of faux outrage with your cornflakes of a morning. The official SNP response was dismissive in its usual anonymous manner: personal trivial statements, not the party line. What would have been more helpful all round is if there hadRead More →

With less than a week to go, it certainly looks as if the UK – Scotland is on more of a knife-edge – is edging closer to leaving the European Union.   If the jittery markets are anything to go by then it may become time to batten down the hatches as the uncertainty over what happens next impacts on all of us whether we voted to stay or go.   Firstly, the debate over the past few weeks has been less inspiring than required but perhaps was no more than could be expected. The ‘short campaign’ should always be about getting down to reinforcingRead More →

This is a refresh of the Leader column of Issue 1047 of the Scots Independent. The original online copy can be purchased at http://scotsindependent.scot/ocart2/index.php?route=product/product&path=79_81&product_id=154   The battle for the Scottish Parliament is over but the volume of claim and counter claim for regional voting strategy, especially for SNP voters, is enough to burst a few blood vessels. How times have changed for Scotland’s independence parties. The SNP has now become the dominant party of Scotland and is portrayed in some people’s eyes as the Establishment. We were promised by the likes of the Sunday Herald that a majority was in the bag and how SNPRead More →