Over the past few weeks I have started digging out books from my shelves on the First World War.  You know the one – it has its centenary in 2014, and the BBC have promised us four years of topical programmes across its genres to commemorate the whole brutal episode. The First World War can be said to be the catalyst which set me on my current course in life.  As a schoolboy less interested in studying and more interested in getting out of class, one teacher and one topic made me work – an inspiring history tutor and the ‘Great War.’  If ever aRead More →

The prospect of Yes should inspire first time voters – but how do we reach them and what to say? I should start with a disclaimer – I’m not as young as I used to be, and really hope none of what you’re about to read comes across as patronising! It certainly isn’t intended that way. I was recently speaking to two young male voters on the doorsteps at the Cowdenbeath by election. Both young guys were first time voters, and weren’t sure which candidate they’d be voting for, if at all. I decided to take the opportunity to speak to them about the independenceRead More →

The NO campaign has taken to scaring university staff and students alike this week with scare stories about tuition fees and Research Council funding. If we take university tuition fees for starters. The Scottish Government has said that the current arrangements of charging students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland a tuition fee for university education would continue in an independent Scotland. Scottish students and those from the rest of the EU will continue to access tuition-free education (at undergraduate level at least). The Scottish Government and the higher education lobbying body, Universities Scotland, both agree that there is a European Union concept termed ‘objectiveRead More →

For some time now the Better Together partners have been suggesting that the SNP have put Scotland on Pause.  Yesterday Alex Salmond showed a Scotland far from “on pause”, rather a Scotland of the Possible.  Possible- tackling of inequality and injustice in our society. Possible –  tackling poverty. Possible – a better future for Scotland’s children.  And with the full powers of Independence, possible –  a Scotland that truly is the best country in the world in which to grow up. I was delighted to be able to speak in the Parliamentary debate on Tuesday 7th January on Scotland’s Future where Alex Salmond announced, asRead More →

Commemoration  Day This publication date is the first anniversary of the death of Jimmy Halliday.     Aspiration and Inspiration I am about one third of the way through reading the White Paper, and I am in no hurry to finish it, but finish reading it I will.  One friend who read the introduction commented “It says it all”, but I like the detail.  So far I find nothing to disagree with, and I do not anticipate any fault finding. To put this into context for readers; I joined the SNP in 1966, when I was living in Peterhead.  Up to then I had noRead More →