In the Herald of Monday 10th August I came across two articles which irritated me.  The first was by David Torrance at present in  South Africa apparently,  entitled “The politics of hope is little more than political escapism”, and as anyone with knowledge of Mr Torrance will be aware, he regards the Tories as the only realists. He used a phrase about “the SNP, whose mediocrity in devolved government….”  Mr Torrance may not have noticed but the SNP took over in May 2007 with a minority government which was only expected to survive weeks, but lasted four years.  In that time they abolished prescription charges,Read More →

Monday 10th August PATRONAGE CIRCUS CONTINUES AT WESTMINSTER WITH KNIGHTOODS FOR DEFEATED MPS LUCRATIVE GONGS WILL OPEN DOORS FOR THE TORIES’ LIB DEM HELPERS There are reports that a number of Liberal Democrat MPs who lost their seats at the election in May are to be rewarded with peerages and knighthoods – despite being comprehensively rejected by the electorate. The LibDems have now just one MP in Scotland but look certain to add to their tally at Westminster with the imminent creation of another 50 or so peers – to add to the cronies and party funders who make up Westminster’s second chamber. It nowRead More →

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, SNP MP for Ochil & South Perthshire, SNP Deputy Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and SNP Spokesperson on Trade and Investment You can’t fight an idea with brute force. It’s clear that in light of recent attacks in Tunisia and beyond, the battle of hearts and minds will be as important as any other part of our strategy to combat the scourge of terrorism. So I’ve been encouraged over the past week to hear an increasing number of MPs from across the House of Commons refer to “Daesh” when referring to the group previously called by nearly everyone “Islamic State”. I wasRead More →

A week or two back I had occasion to go to St John’s Hospital in Livingston; as they had warned about problems with parking I opted for the bus.  As such I had ample time to note all the towns and villages along the route, many of which had become familiar during the Livingston by election a few years back. That by election was caused by the death of Robin Cook, and Labour put up Jim Devine who had been Robin Cook’s election agent; he was not prominent in the campaign as I recall as Labour tried to hide him from view, and we wereRead More →

Tuesday 30th June 2015 SNP CALL ON LABOUR TO SUPPORT WELFARE POWERS IN SCOTLAND BILL “CHOICE IS SCOTTISH CONTROL OR TORY CONTROL” The Scottish National Party has challenged Labour to support more welfare powers for Scotland ahead of the Scotland Bill debates in Westminster today (Tuesday). SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP has said Labour had a choice between welfare powers being in “Scottish control or Tory control.” The SNP is proposing amendments to the Scotland Bill that would remove Westminster vetoes over using welfare powers; give the Scottish Parliament additional powers including devolving working age benefits and benefits relating to children; the power toRead More →

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 →