It’s been a very busy weekend in politics in Scotland. Saturday saw thousands gather at George Square, and across the country, to protest against austerity.  The SNP Trade Union Group held its first National Conference in Stirling with over 250 delegates and I understand fantastic presentations from Christina McKelvie MSP and Marion Fellows MP. And on Sunday, the first National Council for the SNP following our historic victory in the Westminster elections took place. SNP delegates were treated to a number of fantastic contributions from MPs old and newly elected. There were speakers making their first contributions; notably Heather Anderson who argued for more reflection onRead More →

Community Empowerment The Scottish Parliament last week passed the Community Empowerment Bill which will give communities more powers to take on land and buildings and to have a say on how their services are delivered Communities will have more rights to take over land in both urban and rural areas – this could include transforming waste ground into community gardens or bringing empty shops back into use. Local groups will also be able to take the initiative and, instead of waiting to be offered a building, service or piece of land groups will be able to put forward their case for why a community centreRead More →

Scottish Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith and SNP Westminster Energy Spokesperson Callum McCaig MP have today (Wednesday) welcomed the announcement from the Austrian government that it will formally challenge the UK proposed subsidy regime for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The Austrian government will lodge a formal complaint with the European Court of Justice on Monday alleging that the proposed subsidy for the plant is against EU state aid rules and a distortion of competition. It is unconfirmed but likely that the Luxembourg government will support the case. Alyn Smith MEP said: “The UK government’s nuclear obsession is bad forRead More →

Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance on US TV station Comedy Central reminded me of something I occasionally find odd – why Holyrood hasn’t given birth to great satire – yet. Rab McNeil’s sketches for the Scotsman in the early years of our reconvened national parliament were a must – but these aside we’ve undoubtedly been lacking in the department. Spitting Image stands head and shoulders above any contenders for the ability to ridicule and supplant real politicians in people’s minds with their caricature equivalents. No-one will forget John Major’s grey man, Maggie Thatcher’s vegetables, Roy Hattersley’s spittle and David Steel’s stature problems. The thing with great satireRead More →

The SNP is today highlighting a new expert report showing how Westminster energy policy is disadvantaging Scotland’s renewables industry – and is calling on the UK Government to commit to future onshore wind subsidies and end the uncertainty they are causing the industry. The EY report finds that the attractiveness of investing in renewable energy in the UK has been “marred” by conflicting messages – as well as “nervousness” around the EU referendum. Commenting, SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie said: “This report is a timely reminder of the damage uncertainty caused by the UK Government’s mixed messages can have on Scotland’s renewables industry – and highlightsRead More →

The G7 summit once again met and rambled rubbish about climate change and what they can do about it. Seems to me they never actually achieve anything at these meetings. Massive expense, fancy dinners but never any agreement. It seems that to be successful at addressing the climate change issues is to upset big business by restricting their ability to make massive profit at the expense of the health of the little people. The successful manufacturing of the 7 countries involved uses the labour of countries who have very poor health and safety regulations and pay no heed to protecting the environment. They allow working andRead More →

CLIMATE TARGET ON TRACK AS SNP STEP UP ACTIONAs new figures confirm that Scotland is three quarters of the way to meeting its ambition emissions targets – with a 14 per cent reduction in 2013 – the SNP has welcomed news that the Scottish Government is stepping up efforts to cut emissions with new investments across the energy, environment and transport sectors.Climate Change Minister Dr Aileen McLeod’s reaffirmed action on climate change in a statement to the Scottish Parliament today with a focus on energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes and buildings.Dr McLeod also highlighted a number of further, additional measures which the Scottish Government will deploy toRead More →

This week’s political scene has been overshadowed by the untimely death of Charles Kennedy. I didn’t know him so would not presume to comment any further. Any death is a sad time for those connected.   Recently I have taken to listening to the BBC parliament channel. Mainly to try and listen to some of our new M.P’s maiden speeches. Given the hours that they keep, it’s not always easy. I have managed to listen to a few ‘live’ and there is always social media where people from different parts of Scotland are proudly sharing their new M.P.’s speeches. What struck me as I satRead More →

The SNP has today welcomed the Scottish Government receiving a Living Wage accreditation – the first government to receive this accolade. The news was welcomed by Peter Kelly, of the Poverty Alliance, who said: “The Living Wage is an important tool in helping lift people out of poverty and we are celebrating that The Scottish Government has chosen to lead by example.” Commenting, SNP MP Bob Doris, said: “The SNP Scottish Government has sent out a real signal of intent today in becoming Living Wage accredited – the first government on these islands to achieve such status. “The SNP is totally committed to fairness andRead More →

The SNP is today highlighting further expert evidence on the ‘devastating’ impacts of sanctions on women – amidst further backing for powers over the sanctions regime to be in Scotland’s hands rather than Westminster’s. Ahead of this week’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, a series of expert submissions have underlined the appalling impact of sanctions on single mothers, survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, disabled women and refugees in particular. Close the Gap, One Parent Families Scotland, the Fawcett Society, Inclusion Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council, Child Poverty Action Group and the Scottish Women’s Convention all submitted written evidence highly critical ofRead More →