On the Thursday after the Election I went into the Scottish Parliament for First Minister’s Questions, and the first person I bumped into was Jean Urquhart, Independent MSP for Highland Region.  “How are you feeling today, Jim?” she enquired. After reflecting a moment or two I replied “After 49 years of being patronised by the Westminster parties, this morning I am smiling”.   I have to say, to quote Johnann Lamont’s most repeated phrase at First Minister’s Questions, I have always been wary of opinion polls.  These polls for probably the last six months have been forecasting an SNP win, but I kept repeating toRead More →

Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Announces Retirement Dave Thompson, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has announced he will be standing down at the next Scottish election. Dave, an MSP since 2007, firstly as a Regional MSP for the Highlands and Islands from 2007 to 2011 and then as the constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch since 2011, has formally notified the SNP’s National Executive Committee of his decision and a candidate will be sought to replace him with nominations open in June. Dave said, “It has been a great privilege to serve as an MSP, firstly as a Regional MSPRead More →

There is a bit missing in this tale set up to smear Nicola Sturgeon. Let me summarise: Nicola and the French Ambassador had a private meeting at which no UK civil servants were present.  A memorandum of what was said went out from the Scotland Office (the Westminster bit) which included some derogatory remarks about Ed Miliband, and complimentary remarks about David Cameron.  The writer of the memorandum said, in it “… I have to admit that I’m not sure that the FM’s tongue would be so loose on that kind of thing in a meeting like that so it might well be a caseRead More →

“Global inflation in the price of food began in late 2006, and especially after the financial crisis of 2007–08 began to further worsen economic conditions for those on low income. The growth of food banks has been broadly welcomed, most especially by those on the right of the political spectrum, but also by many on the left, who see them as evidence of active community that is independent of the state. However, academics and commentators have expressed concern that the rise of foodbanks may erode political support for welfare provision. Researchers have reported that food banks can be inefficient compared with state run services, andRead More →

As some readers might know I joined the SNP in 1966, 49 years ago.   I joined because I was sure that we could run Scotland from up here a lot better that they could from down there.  My view then was that we produced more food than we could eat, and more drink that we could drink, although we have always had those who by their actions tried to disprove the latter.  We had an abundance of energy with a thousand years of coal , water – a scarce commodity, and a skilled inventive people.   We knew that the mismanagement of Scotland byRead More →

I am becoming increasingly alarmed at how good the opinion polls are for us.  The have been very good, brilliant indeed, but I have dreadful thoughts  centred on Neil Kinnock in the General Election in 1992.  He had addressed a rapturous Labour Conference and then been defeated by an unassuming Tory, John Major, wandering around with a soap box.   I know social media was non existent at that time, but opinion polls do not get put in the Ballot Box.  We must work to canvass, identify our vote and get them out on polling day.  Hard work will be essential; I remember 2008 when Read More →

I watched the first  debate with the Scottish party leaders on Tuesday this week. It was in Edinburgh, giving Jim Murphy the chance to make a very sour comment  that Nicola was not talking to an English audience, last week’s debate in Manchester which Nicola won hands down.  Jim of course would like to have been at that event but he wisna asked.   Nicola had the edge and the audience was more enthusiastic about her, Ruth Davidson was the usual flag waving Tory – union flag, not the Saltire, and Willie Rennie just seemed to meander from one topic to another.  Ruth was notRead More →

I am very pleased with the refreshed Flag in the Wind and even put a comment on it.  It was sair needing updated but was beyond my competence so my congratulations to Margaret Hamilton and her team for the efficient and effective way it has been done.  Read More →

Well, not exactly for my vita sua, but there are no valid Latin words for failure to update my computer system, seeing as how the Romans never got around to inventing computers. In any event over the past couple of weeks any messages sent to me at scotsindependent.org have not transferred to scotsindependent.scot, so I have not been able to respond to what I haven’t seen! Things have now been fixed so send messages to jim@scotsindependent.scot What went missing in the last two weeks cannot be recovered and I’ll have to re-create my Address BookRead More →

Readers will be aware that at the end of 2014 I handed the Flag in the Wind over to Margaret Hamilton, so this is my first contribution as a Compiler. Very sorry to see Andy Murray losing the final of the Australian Open, and am still aghast at the publicity given to his fiancee swearing, as it is not uncommon nowadays to see ladies swearing in public. A few years back I was in the stand at Easter Road – a freebie, and I got it that week as Hibs were playing Dundee. There was a middle aged lady in the row in front, wellRead More →