Readers will be aware that at the end of 2014 I handed the Flag in the Wind over to Margaret Hamilton, so this is my first contribution as a Compiler. Very sorry to see Andy Murray losing the final of the Australian Open, and am still aghast at the publicity given to his fiancee swearing, as it is not uncommon nowadays to see ladies swearing in public. A few years back I was in the stand at Easter Road – a freebie, and I got it that week as Hibs were playing Dundee. There was a middle aged lady in the row in front, wellRead More →

Unfortunately, a watered down skinking ware is what has been delivered by the Smith Commission following the publication of the Government command paper and draft Bill. Far from the Home Rule promised by the now infamous ‘vow’, and while welcoming the further progress in the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, these draft clauses highlight the limitations not the ambitions for Scotland’s future. Not least of the disappointments are the ‘veto’ clauses which would appear to enshrine Scotland’s begging luggie in the process of defining our own welfare system, fuel poverty, energy and transport policies. As one of the two SNP members who participatedRead More →

Last week the Trussell Trust released figures on the numbers accessing their foodbank network in Scotland during December 2014. At well over 10,000 people – it was the highest ever number of individuals recorded in need of emergency food aid in one month in this country. In previous columns I’ve noted the acceleration of demand for basic food supplies – particularly affecting Glasgow and our major cities – but reflected broadly across the nation, as unacceptable in our advanced economy. Worse still, an alarming counter-foodbank agenda has spread in tandem with the outrage felt by many at the skyrocketing numbers. The counter agenda runs thusRead More →

As selection boxes from Christmas are finished off, the selection of SNP candidates for the Westminster Elections is well underway. The polls look good, we have a flock of enthusiastic candidates and an astonishing membership nearing 100,000 strong. As exciting as this is, there’s a long way to go before the 7th of May, and I’m determined that we should use this time to ready ourselves for a campaign that won’t be easy to win. My experience of the three previous Westminster elections – 2001 and 2005 in Aberdeen and 2010 in Glasgow – was that regardless of the very hard work we put in,Read More →

The level of hatred and vile accusations seems to be escalating again and at a time when we were supposed to have been celebrating a peaceful holiday where we are allegedly to be encouraged to think well of others. Some of the statements being made in social media, and in person, are being made by those with little or no understanding of politics or indeed life. They are blindly repeating what they hear or see being said elsewhere. A little like the taunts I got in the school playground in the 60’s because my mother had the audacity to stand for the council. One, sheRead More →

Prospects ahead One phrase floating about just now is “interesting times”, which relates to the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”, times full of turmoil! However the turmoil seems to be in the Unionist ranks so perhaps we can accept that. I have to confess I am very wary of all the wonderful opinion poll findings which abound. There are two reasons for this, one – opinion polls are not votes cast but a promise of what is to be expected, and two – 48 years of experience in the SNP. We have been here before, not as pronounced or as longRead More →