For years as a Nationalist I have put up with friends and colleagues questioning why a left-leaning democrat like me was drawn to the narrow confines of nationalism instead of fighting for socialism, social justice and equality (as if this was the exclusive preserve of the Labour party). Breaking down the class barriers instead of creating bourgeois borders is what I was told was important. All the time, I never once heard them talk about uniting Britain with the workers’ republics of Europe. No, they were just as nationalist for Britain as I was for Scotland, only self-deceiving in their outlook. Many British Labour supportersRead More →

The SNP’s historic “Tsunami” of a result in 2011 meant that what had been a dream, aspiration and hope of all Independence Supporters was now a real possibility as we all set our sights on the Referendum on Scotland’s future. I have been convinced for half my life, over twenty years, that Scotland should be an Independent country. Nothing in those intervening years from the banking crisis, selling off the gold reserves cheap, raiding of the pension funds, the Iraq war, the poll tax or bedroom tax to the privatisation of the Royal Mail has swayed me from the conviction that Scotland should be anRead More →

The Commonwealth games have arrived in Glasgow. Whether you think it’s good or bad, it’s a time to put Glasgow and Scotland on the international map. With trepidation we turned on the t.v. to watch the opening ceremony. John Barrowman………………not exactly our cup of tea but we know he is in huge demand for pantomime. Is this boding well we ask ourselves? Karen Dunbar, a bit “in your face” but like some of her stuff. Needn’t have worried really. The ordinary people from various community groups in Scotland stole the show, along with the humour which was definitely Scottish. Good use was made of theRead More →

Referendum Thoughts (1) I have been participating in the Yes campaign, and find it is exhilarating, exciting and enjoyable. The people involved are of all parties and none, all they want is independence. From being wary of people in other parties I find it refreshing to work alongside former opponents. On the doorstep it is normal for your canvassing partner to declare their previous vote and to stress that this is not an election for a political party, but for Scotland – for the right to make our own decisions, and our own mistakes, and the power to change them if we get things wrong.Read More →

Anyone watching Channel 4’s recent Dispatches, usually a forum for investigative journalists heading out to uncover dodgy dealings or abusers of the vulnerable and weak, may have been dismayed on tuning in last week to see it entitled The Great British Break-Up. The dry territory of politics seldom offers anything worthy of juicy gossip columns unless it involves floating duck mansions or John Prescott’s late nights in the office. I actually came across the programme post-broadcast while looking up information on my alma mater, the University of Dundee. A little over two years ago I had flagged up to me something which was on theRead More →

The campaign for Scottish independence has been on the go now in some shape or form for over three hundred years. Having lunch with branch organiser David Linden yesterday, we started to feel the finish line in sight – now in terms of weeks and days rather than long months and longer years. Our branch has been working hard, leafleting and canvassing constantly for years now. It feels odd to be scheduling in the final deliveries, the target areas for canvassing, the strategy for the most crucial polling day Scotland has ever seen. Yet these final weeks are indeed the most important. Our canvassing tellsRead More →

Last Friday, I accepted an invite from a close friend, who happens to be a Strathclyde University alumnus, to attend a panel debate chaired by Prof John Curtice. On the Yes side were Humza Yousaf, Zara Kitson and Ivan McKee, three talented, up-and-coming politicians. On the No side, Jim Murphy, Baroness Annabel Goldie and Lord George Robertson (apologies to aficionados of peerage etiquette, first names should never be used in relation to addressing life peers). As was to be expected of two former Defence Secretaries, Jim Murphy and George Robertson focused on NATO membership and the Clyde’s reliance on MOD procurement to maintain jobs inRead More →

I am often asked by some of the many young visitors to the Parliament what I think is the best thing the Parliament has delivered for the people of Scotland. I am sure that MSPs from across the Parliament give many answers to that from the Smoking Ban to the Climate Change legislation. But, for me, it is the 2007 decision to extend the education rights that are enjoyed by Scottish-domiciled students to the children of asylum seekers. A Government press release from the time stated: “Children of asylum families are to have the same access to full time further and higher education as ScottishRead More →

In June 2000, the Scots Independent had a dilemma; as a monthly publication, which had served very well since 1926, the unexpected advent of a Scottish Parliament meant a change of pace was required, as Scottish issues came to the fore in a way undreamed of. The paper had been a weekly when I joined the SNP in 1966 and circulated almost completely through SNP branches; I lived in Peterhead at the time and every week we had copies of the SI delivered to every barber’s, doctor’s surgery, dentist’s surgery and the bus station – the railway had long gone by that time! The factRead More →

I had hoped not to have to mention Obama. As I have had to spend so much time this past weekend sitting around with an elevated foot I am fed up hearing what he said. Have the people of the United States of America forgotten the thousands of lives lost in a bloody war trying to gain THEIR independence from Britain? Why is it so appalling for us to be able to do it peacefully through the ballot box? Ooops, BBC just announced on Monday evening that he was asked by the British government to intervene. Has Cameron no shame! Crawling to other world leadersRead More →