by Lloyd Inglis Text of a Talk Given To The Tomball Rotary Club In Texas, USA – October 2003 Introduction Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be here today to speak to you on the subject of Scotland’s Geography, Culture & Contribution to the Global Village – a snapshot of 2000 years of history in 20 minutes! In a situation like this, when one looks at ones own country, so often it is a question of perception. Is the bottle half full or half empty? – Or is it whisky or is it cold tea? – Perception! Pleased do notRead More →

by Pete Wishart Who would have thought that five and a half years after losing a referendum on independence support is now edging over 50% and becoming a sustained majority? The resilience of the movement and the belief that this is unfinished business has endured and we are now at the point where we can almost touch out and reach our ambitions and move towards the reality of Scotland becoming an independent nation.  The Tories and unionists know they can’t beat us. The scent of decay in the union case is almost overwhelming and they know that they are approaching the endgame. Large numbers ofRead More →

I am becoming increasingly disheartened at the lack of compassion, empathy and respect when it comes to debating some really sensitive issues online. Perhaps social media simply mirrors real life, or maybe it does bring out the worst in some. Either way, it almost certainly leads to an over-simplification of issues and debates. This may be why we are seeing so many ‘All Lives Matter’ posts in response to the Black Lives Matter campaign – one simple message being countered by another, because people haven’t taken the time to look at the many complex and nuanced messages behind the Black Lives Matter campaign. Of courseRead More →

When I was 6 my wee brother was conveyed in a Cumfifolda pushchair with a big tray underneath it curiously of the most perfect shape to accommodate Scots Independent papers and SNP election leaflets. My mum, my brother and I pounded the streets whinging those missives through letterboxes of big posh houses and more modest council homes. We lived in Crieff, caravan dwellers, probably the sort of folk that others thought didn’t deserve a vote; likely we were regarded as illiterate leeches who made a living from stealing and selling scrap or telling fortunes in palms or tea leaves. I’ve explained before about the braveRead More →

I don’t really know how it feels to be hungry – I’ve often been peckish, fancied some chocolate, a packet of crisps, a Bounty, cashew nuts. There’s been mental diets where I pretended to do without for hours on end and survived on 10 Benson & Hedges. I’ve even gone without drink, for a couple of days. There were hospital stays with operations requiring a slight degree of fasting, followed by vomiting and queasiness afterwards. Sometimes I was a lazy besom and couldn’t be arsed cooking so toast and cheese was fine for a day or two. But I cannot describe any of these experiencesRead More →

by Michael Rennie Our democracy is lost at sea. As the political landscape changes at a rapid pace, Britain’s voting system needs to reflect the ever changing views of the British electorate. In modern political times, voting is like supermarkets, voters shop around to find the best deal rather than vote for one party all their lives. The two horse race days are well and truly over. For too long now, the views of a large chunk of the British electorate has been brushed aside and thrown into the political wilderness, as if they are completely meaningless because of a voting system stuck in VictorianRead More →

In June’s SI I touched on the stickier than usual response we’d been getting on the doorsteps in Aberdeenshire, both for the local and the Westminster elections. It’s something which had been apparent for a while, but even then, it was hard to imagine that MPs of the stature of Alex Salmond and Eilidh Whiteford might be in any serious danger of losing their seats. Just how wrong can you be? On the surface it looks like a remarkable turnaround for the politics of an area which has long had competing Tory and deeply anti-Tory tendencies. However, before our mood turns as blue as theRead More →

  Ma freen wis a big shoat gowfer Noo fawin doon tae an auld loafer Wha cam tae Bute tae retire the green Whaur he’d won the Bennie at seeventeen. Waaker Cup an Scottish Champ, Noo he shuffles aboot like ony tramp Wance he bate the Inglish, ten nane They looed the pro wha recitet poems fur thaim. Lit up their  wunnerfu lives at kenspeckle dinners An made them aw feel like gowfin winners. How borin, tae live yer lives Wi ten caurs up yer castle drive A bank o yer ain and fower ‘wives’!   But when he cam here, did he get askedRead More →

I’ve always known and feared that a day like this would come, when the Government of the UK abandoned all pretence of decency and showed the ugly, snarling face beneath the mask. I’ve always known it was there, layered away, momentarily dormant but virulent in potential, ready to burst forth like a fever from the pores of the host. If you looked carefully you could sometimes spot its outline. In newspapers that had never quite abandoned their “glory days” of cheering on the blackshirts and who still spouted their vile xenophobia, often poorly and gratingly disguised as jocularity. In the rhetoric of the pet politiciansRead More →

Given the Brexit vote many unionists, both elected members and ordinary members, are re-considering their previous loyalty to their political party and are recognising that as Nicola has said the Union that they had previously supported no longer exists and that it now looks like only full Independence for Scotland can protect Scotland’s place in the EU. The former Presiding Officer last week urged me to write an article outlining what I had gone through when I left the Conservative Party in 1985 to join the SNP. I was quite chuffed that she wanted me to do so, until she went on to explain thatRead More →