I was privileged to be at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh this week and to see the arrival, and departure, of Prime Minister David Cameron and his entourage, all five cars of them.  Access to the public was denied to the street outside, with somewhere between twenty and thirty police on duty.  The most memorable moment of that event was when Michael Moore MP was going into St Andrew’s House and one of the assembled press called out “How does it feel to be the last Secretary of State for Scotland?”;  Mr Moore just carried on, but as I observed at the time, he wasRead More →

This has been quite a remarkable two weeks for Scotland’s opposition parties.  Not familiar with wall-to-wall media coverage in recent times, as the UK Tories and Labour party assembled at their respective conferences, Johann lamented the Scots addiction to welfare ‘handouts’ and Ruth went all Romney, declaring only 12% of Scots contribute to the country’s economy.  If they were both looking for headlines, boy did they get them. After the backlash following Mitt’s ‘47%’ gaff, to say both bold policy swerves came as a surprise would be putting it mildly.  The spin doctors, particularly in Labour’s case, seemed taken aback.  ‘Erm, no, that wasn’t whatRead More →

I saw Douglas Alexander on the Politics Show trying to defend the indefensible: the Labour Party’s lurch to the right.   In doing so he quoted Aneurin Bevan, or should I say misquoted as he reversed Bevan’s original sentence “The language of priorities is the religion of Socialism”.  Bevan coined this phrase for his 1949 Labour conference speech. But perhaps Mr Alexander and other Labour politicians should read the 1959 speech ten years later and following Labour’s defeat in the general election, where Bevan references himself but also goes on to say: “.. The language of priorities was the religion of Socialism, and there is nothingRead More →

Meteors lighting up the clear night sky and glorious sunshine by day.  The gods had clearly blessed the first March and Rally for Independence. And what a great day was had by all 12,000 of us as we greeted friends from across the country and made our way from the autumnal colours of the Meadows to the splendour of a Princes Street Gardens still in summer bloom.  The azure sky provided a saltire-style background for all the tartans of Scotland and the standards of nearly every political movement in the country.  Further colour was added by our Catalan, Basque, Flemish and Venetian brothers and sistersRead More →

It was my “pleasure” to turn on the TV a couple of weeks ago to be regaled with the Chancellor of the Exchequer , George Osborne, waxing lyrical about the dangerous situation of independence.  Now I have nothing against the dinner suit and black tie, I have one myself, rarely worn these days, but the sight of this harbinger of doom pontificating on the perils of independence while being responsible for even greater dangers to the disunited kingdom bordered on the ridiculous.  That’s an understatement, it did not border on the ridiculous, it was ridiculous. Three things emanate from this episode;  the first is thatRead More →

It hasn’t taken long for newly elected SNP councillors to make their mark on Glasgow politics. This week, Feargal Dalton will put forward a motion to full council, calling for a memorial to the victims of famine to be built on the city. The memorial will commemorate the Irish Potato Famine, the Highland Potato Famine, and victims of past and current famines from across the world. There are famine memorials, particularly associated with the Irish Potato Famine, already in many cities in Ireland, the UK and further afield. Cardiff and Liverpool, which acted as a major transit point for both Irish people arriving in EnglandRead More →

So that’s it then.  Over.  The summer, I mean. Whatever became of the sunshine greater forces than us can only know.  Sean Batty, for one.  Perhaps Cat Cubie.  Must ask should I bump into either of them anytime soon.   September is most certainly upon us, and with it all that autumn brings.  Harvest time, birds flying back to warmer climes, that is if they haven’t had the innate sense to do so long before now, schoolchildren skipping merrily on their way to class, universities welcoming their new intake,  oh, and of course, the return of Parliamentarians to their respective debating chambers.  In Edinburgh, London,Read More →

Maybe now the pageantry of the Royal Tour, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Edinburgh Festival is over and done with we can perhaps get back to normal on radio and t.v. Might there be a chance we might just find out what is actually going on in the world? I know we have the internet but I like my routines, like news at 1pm and 6 p.m. It’s an age thing. I think I am going to ask to get into the grumpy old gits groups on fb for nationalists of a certain age! Remember the furore over the cost of the Scottish Parliament building?Read More →

  One might imagine that during a Parliamentary recess that the Scottish Parliament building would go into a mothballed state, with a vacant, voiceless chamber and unlit, unused committee rooms. But not so for Mirralles’ masterpiece!  As the doors open to release the MSPs retreating to their constituencies for the long break, the Scottish Parliament breathes in new life, new visitors, new ideas and new wisdom.  Always a place where people are welcome, indeed often cried the Peoples’ Parliament, this summer the Scottish Parliament welcomed the world at the inaugural International Culture Summit.  A joint venture between the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the BritishRead More →

In so far as these things can be measured, London 2012 was undoubtedly a huge success.  We could be picky and point to ticketing problems during the first week and we should not forget the tragic death of a cyclist caused by a collision with a bus serving the Olympic Park on the very day Bradley Wiggins won his hugely impressive time trial gold medal.  But, all in all, we enjoyed a great festival of sporting endeavour.   Never Mind the Ball, Get on with the (predictable) Game There were many magnificent performances, not least from Scottish participants, to celebrate.  It does a disservice toRead More →