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 →

I am a political junkie – there I have said it out loud!  Not that there has ever been any doubt about my status. There is a family joke that infers that should there be a by-election in say, Outer Mongolia, then I will stay up all night to watch the results as they come in!  There may just be a grain of truth in this as, since becoming franchised some 5o years ago, I have always known how I would vote and have campaigned with passion and commitment for an Independent Scotland. In fact, it is probably true to say that I “live andRead More →

by Steve Daley Scotland’s economy is strong with certain sectors such as the construction sector outperforming the rest of the UK. However Scotland’s economy recently has been slowing for the last two consecutive quarters. Tourism is a huge part of Scotland’s economy with an expenditure of nearly of nearly £5 billion and with 40 percent of that coming from oversea students It has been noted numerous times how British Air Passenger Duty (APD) is the most expensive air passenger tax in the world with only five other European countries using this regressive tax.  With APD being devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it is no surpriseRead More →

There is little doubt these years are proving increasingly impossible for Labour but I believe the key moment occurred many years previously, in the mid 1990’s. The SNP Executive Committee had to make a key strategic decision, to join the Constitutional Convention or to remain on the outside. The Executive was divided with some favouring joining with the Unionist parties and others, myself included, who were firm in our belief that if the SNP stayed on the outside, keeping the pressure on and threatening electoral defeat on the unionists if there was any backsliding then that was the best way of ensuring a new ScottishRead More →