The Better Together Campaign just can’t get it, but the Yes campaign obviously does. It’s better to campaign together when groups from different political and social backgrounds in society all believe in one common idea…………….that Scotland could be so much better as an Independent country in so many ways. Does it matter that we stand behind a banner of a group we are not a member of if we all share the big idea? http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-dangerously-radical-idea/#more-38446 is a piece by Labour members in the Labour Voters for Scottish Independence group addressing the weekend’s accusations. Even Annie Lennox gets it. I had long despaired that Annie justRead More →

Golf is one of Scotland’s most famous, and best loved, exports to the world.  Coming on the back of Andy Murray’s spectacular win at Wimbledon this summer, the Open Championship at Muirfield ought to have been a fine conclusion to the country’s summer of sporting triumph. Sadly however the attention both before and during the tournament at Muirfield centred not on its opportunity to boost Scotland’s reputation globally before next year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, but instead on its outdated men-only members policy. It is not often you find SNP and Tory Government Ministers agreeing on much, nor I suspect does the casualRead More →

As part of the annual Cabinet on tour, our Scottish Government highheidyins are in Shetland this week. It’s a positive thing to do, not least because a different part of the country gets showcased each time they do it. I’ve never had the chance to visit Shetland, but the sunny photographs certainly would encourage me to go: twitter reveals that John Swinney has seen some picturesque landscapes while out running, Fiona Hyslop has admired the morning sunshine, and Derek Mackay has clapped some pretty ponies wearing fetching jumpers. Yes, that’s the ponies, not Derek… More seriously, the Cabinet meeting in Shetland allows for a focusRead More →

Durham When watching TV I saw the procession at the Durham Miners’ Gala – Len McLuskey was speaking at it, and I recalled a piece on this Gala some years back, in the Observer I think.  I paraphrase; One of the comments was  that this was the greatest democratic demonstration in the world, and the report went on: “ “If you vote Tory up our way, you get a brick through your window” quoth one democratic miner.”   A9 tragedies I am never surprised by the hypocrisy of our Unionist MSPs;  whenever there is an accident on the A9 involving loss of life you canRead More →

A wee bit of confusion of compilers ( could be a collective expression!)  this week with many causes. Start with the stunning  achievement of Andy Murray in winning at the All England Tennis Club, attaining the highest rated award in tennis;  beats even an Olympic Gold – in English eyes certainly.  The Scottish Parliament is now in recess, and Scotland is basking in sunshine with soaring temperatures. So a bit of a hotch potch this week.    Some items from the Scots Independent newspaper Labour contradictory over Bedroom Tax Kevin Cordell   Policy pursued by a Westminster Government Scotland  rejected in 2010. The weapons ofRead More →

At the start of the Lunch, Denholm Christie, Acting Chairman of the Scots Independent newspaper, paid tribute to the late Jimmy Halliday, the former Chairman, who died on 3rd  January this year; a photo of Jimmy appeared on the screens as Denholm spoke. After introducing the top table, SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP and his wife Lily, Una Ozga, daughter of the late Oliver Brown, Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP and Jim Lynch Scots Independent Editor, Denholm admitted that he himself usually preferred to remain anonymous. SI Editor Jim Lynch presents the Oliver Brown Award to “Sean’s representative in Perth” – SNP President Ian HudghtonRead More →

I was delighted this week to see my friend Mark McDonald elected to serve the Aberdeen Donside constituency in the Scottish Parliament. The result itself was not the thumping victory some had predicted, and it was disappointing to see turnout down. There was a lot for voters to consider in this by election – the future of local schools, transport infrastructure, the very status of the city of Aberdeen itself – yet only 38.8% of registered voters managed out to vote, down from 47.3% in 2011. Last Thursday, along with many other SNP activists, I was out all day trying to encourage supporters out toRead More →

Gender issues have been in the media a lot of late.  In particular, the publication by the Sunday People of TV chef Nigella Lawson’s husband Charles Saatchi grabbing her by the throat several times outside a high-end London restaurant have landed the debate around domestic violence full square in the spotlight, and rightly so.  The casual manner in which Saatchi tried to downplay the incident does not sit well (at the time of writing Lawson herself has made no comment) and his turning up at a police station to accept a caution which he believes will draw a line under the matter I doubt willRead More →

As I write this the report commissioned by the Scottish Government on pensions and benefits is released by the welfare working group. By now many of you will have had a chance to read it. No wonder the Westminster government is burying its head in the sand and hoping Scotland will vote no. I had no idea that so many of the UK pensions were processed here, in Scotland.  How many other parts of UK  government are carried out here? This will have massive consequences for the running of the rest of the UK (as it is being called) when we become independent. If theyRead More →

It is always interesting in the Chamber to see the reaction on the Labour benches when the SNP hits a raw nerve.  My recent speech, in a shameless Labour debate on student funding, was rudely interrupted to such an extent that the Presiding Officer was obliged to intervene. Why? Because I had dared suggest that the “Blue Labour” ideology close to the heart of Ed Milliband’s leadership was driving the abandonment of universal services by his Party. Just this week Labour have refused to reverse the bedroom tax or cuts to Child Benefit, and have pledged to means test winter fuel payment for pensioners.  InRead More →