As I completed last month’s Flag I said something like there are going to be European Elections, I’ll have to get out my SNP poster – and lo, it came to pass. The SNP decisively won the European Election, and took 3 of Scotland’s 6 seats, our best ever performance;  I am very pleased to see Christian Allard, who had been an MSP but got squeezed out in a gender balanced selection, to my recollection. I was also more than pleased at the election of Aileen MacLeod. I first met her at a General Election in Ochils Constituency in 1999, I think, Annabelle EwingRead More →

And so it begins again! That mad dance of mutual destruction which lies deep in the festering heart of the Conservative body politic. For all of my adult life the tories have been tearing each other apart over the issue of Europe. From MacMillan, through Heath, Thatcher, Major, Cameron and now May. Each has faced the dilemma of knowing that Britain has lost its empire but not the allusion to still “rule the waves”. The latest episode of this seemingly never ending saga is about to begin with the civil war which to elect of Theresa May’s successor. Over the decades the right of BritishRead More →

In one of my earlier blog pieces I wrote about the offshore wind farm being built south of Wick. At the time of writing the first turbine had been installed and immediately connected to the grid thereby paying for itself from the very first turn of the blades, transmitting energy throughout the country. The same weekend, the first “Dounreay” flight departed with its load of uranium and nuclear waste bound for the USA and flew over the windmill; an emotive vista of the departure of outdated technology whilst the new clean renewable energy sprung up around it. To me it also contrasted the backward lookingRead More →

Around 50% of traffic has shifted from Aberdeen city onto the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route since it fully opened in February – easing congestion and improving air quality in the north east. Initial monitoring by Transport Scotland also found key journey times have been reduced by half, even during rush hour, through the 36-mile AWPR route between Stonehaven and south of Ellon. In a speech to north-east business leaders First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the economic benefits of the £745 million project. She said: “The AWPR has brought huge benefits to the north-east with these initial findings showing both journey times and congestion haveRead More →

This year people have been subjected to many smaller community services being withdrawn from their Council budget. This ranges from libraries and town halls to weeding and grass cutting. After the initial outrage things have settled down. Some people just ignore that these things are no longer done. Others have been more pro-active. Earlier this year our Community Council held a meeting and invited all local groups along to network and discuss ways forward for the local community. A couple of our craft group committee managed to attend and their feedback was positive. Top of the list was their surprise at how many groups areRead More →

Having checked as much as possible the results of the Local Government elections I can find no firm figures at the time of writing. However as far as I can gather from the newspapers – Herald and National -the best I can get is that in England the Tories lost 1334 seats and Labour between 80 and 90; in Northern Ireland the DUP is under pressure. However I did find out something surprising – it would seem that there were no elections in Wales – or London! * Never dawned on me that London is a separate country, but hey, whatever the Tories want theyRead More →

Well that was conference. Not one but two independence campaigns are off and running this week. The SNP’s Yes.Scot and the Scottish Independence Convention’s Voices for Scotland. The big bang of the Scottish Growth Commission report proved to be less disruptive and more constructive; when all sides claim everything is hunky-dory in going forward now, then you know the art of compromise is alive and kicking. Whilst it was a fascinating pre-debate exchange of views over the past year or so, there’s nothing like an impending election to remind you just how far this is from voters’ minds.  Somehow, the minutiae of when an independentRead More →

Last Saturday we had the great pleasure of welcoming the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek McKay to Donoch to speak to the local Branches. Derek, as usual was an articulate, informed  and passionate speaker but also has the gravitas which comes with having to make some hard decisions in power. As is normal, questions were concentrated on how we win Indyref2 and especially when it would happen. However for me, one of the key moments came when he referenced the lessons learned about the pensions debate in 2014 and that the Treasury admission that pensions were guaranteed had come too late in the debate. WeRead More →

The train journey between Wick and Inverness is approximately 4 1/2 hours long. Taking the same length of time to travel between Edinburgh and London, the journey between the towns in the Far North and their nearest city is double what it would take you by road. Rather than following the A9 road down the coast, the train makes several detours inland and acts as a lifeline travel service for residents in the communities that were left isolated with the building of the Dornoch Bridge at the start of the 1990s, at that time the longest bridge in Europe, and for those in north westRead More →

I was a 7 year old revolutionary when I learned my first few French phrases; ca va? je m’appelle; j’habite; je suis. Instantly hooked by the fantooshness, there commenced a lifelong fascination of the foreign and exotic. In P5 at Crieff Primary School I’d a wee notebook of French vocabulary and I recognised then the excitement and interest of strange tongues, different cultures, varied ways and customs entirely at odds with those of Presbyterian Scots. We left our Crieff caravan for a cottage in the Hillfoots of Clackmannanshire; our destination must have been preordained and written in the stars for the wallpaper in my bedroomRead More →