In the poem “New Colossus” Emma Lazarus penned lines which have become to so many the very epitome of what the USA stands for. Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning toRead More →

I’m sure that you all know the feeling when someone tries to insult you but in your eyes actually compliment you. When you’re accused of putting Scotland first (Ed, are we still allowed to say Scotland?), and you proudly plead guilty. When you’re accused of being stuck to your principles and you have no excuse, yes you are guilty of saying what you mean and please m’lud I also mean what I say! That’s roughly how I’ve been feeling over the last few months! And the reason is the accusation that we are somehow now a “one party state”. Note that none of our unionistRead More →

I was taught by a former Sales Manager that God gave us two eyes, two ears and only one mouth. And that we should learn to use them in proportion. “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen, you may learn something new.” She was talking about learning what our customers really wanted but I was reminded of these wise words often as I watched the comedy which is the Labour Leadership elections play out. Strangely enough, it was thinking about the referendum campaign which first formed the link. There is ample evidence that the Unionist forces hadRead More →

One thing we can say about the Labour Party, be that “New Labour”, “Old Labour” or even “Real Labour” is that they have a penchant for making themselves look foolish. Indeed it might even be described as a virus in the heart of Labour. They are tearing lumps out of each other in a way which simply demonstrates that Labour are really at least two political parties sharing a tent and they detest each other much more than the other parties, at least in England. (They unite around the policy “SNP Bad!” if nothing else.) Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union,Read More →

As the latest Greek tragedy unfolded two weeks ago in Brussels, one thing which constantly baffled me was the harsh and unbending positions adopted by some of the smaller EU members particularly Finland who seemed to be revelling in their 15 minutes of notoriety.   I could understand the Germans, who had over 56 billion euros worth of debt in the pot. I could understand that Merkel would find it difficult to sell more aid to the Bundestag. But she seemed to be playing a relatively “good cop” to Wolfgang Schauble’s “bad cop” and with some prompting from Francois Hollande it seemed that a sensibleRead More →

We often hear media pundits talking about the advantages of public figures having what they refer to as “Hinterland”. Of having a real working life before and outside of politics. One definition of hinterland is “An area lying beyond what is visible or known: the strange hinterland where life begins and ends”. For me it is that indefinable yet unmistakable quality that someone has when they have lived life properly, lived or worked in different places and fields and among real people with real lives. Found a few paths less travelled and emerged as their own person. And in this last week this has beenRead More →