As Harold Wilson is oft quoted, “a week is a long time in politics”. This week will mark the starting gun on Scotland’s next referendum. The third in five years. Remind me who usually complain about a neverendum syndrome? Ah yes, our Unionist countrymen (and women).   Well the Queen’s Speech heralds the legislation for a referendum on whether we are in, out or supposed-to-be shaking it all about. Cameron has started a Tory charm offensive with other European leaders. An oxymoron if ever there was one.   I can imagine he will report back that his first stage Grand Tour of Europe will beRead More →

Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, has well and truly slipped from shadow of Gordon Brown, his political mentor and protector. Not content with slapping down Scottish Labour Leader, Jim Murphy, over future public service cuts in Scotland by a Labour-led Westminster Government in the way that Gordon Brown used to put down various Scottish Labour predecessors like Jack McConnell, Wendy Alexander and Iain Gray, the rhetoric of saving the Union continues with Mr Balls.   In response to suggestions that Labour and SNP will strike a deal after 7 May, Mr Balls told the Wolverhampton Express: “I’m not going to do it and Labour won’t doRead More →

How amusing. The party that was joined at the hips with the Tories all through the Referendum and told Scots to say ‘No Thanks’ is now to be the party that wants you to say YES. Yes for Scotland? Bit late for that. Scottish Labour’s new leader, Jim Murphy and his cadre of campaign chums have realised, rather too late, that those traditional Labour voters (190,381 to be precise, well kind of), who voted Yes on 18 September 2014 are not returning to the fold as expected on 7 May 2015. How very dare they! So Jim’s, or is it John’s, or maybe Blair’s responseRead More →

Whatever your view over the Smith Commission outputs – a higgledy-piggledy list of all those powers which in reality are more heavy responsibilities than opportunities – the real test is going to be the longer-term outcome of instant gratification politics. From the hurried Vow steamrollered on the UK party leaders by GOrDon Brown, came forth an abridged Constitutional Convention which re-proclaimed the unwritten rule: power devolved is power retained. Pot noodle constitutional change: it’s fast, cheap, fills a hunger, but is not necessarily of nutritional value. The Unionists of Scotland may be rejoicing in the streets of Hawick tonight and Independistas everywhere are eventually comingRead More →

It’s not often that I agree with Jack McConnell but his view that the Scottish Labour party is in a quagmire of its own doing and heading to implosion, if not annihilation, had an air of candour that the Arran baron is not renowned for. Several commentators have taken a similar position. The ‘winners’ of the referendum are increasingly acting like losers and, vice versa, the ‘losers’ are going from strength to strength. Of course, it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise. The referendum campaign lasting over two years, imposed a strict discipline on most parties, but especially the Labour party. The private grumblingsRead More →

Gutted. Hurt. Sad. Grief. Angry. Shocked. The list goes on as Yes supporters digest the realisation that the culmination of their hard efforts – over weeks, months and years for many activists – resulted in coming close but not close enough. Many talk with frustration at their fellow Scots. Feart. Shame. Traitors. Fools. We say these things in anger, just one stage of several in the process of coping with loss. That has to stop. We will never win by insulting those we need to win over. And we still have a cause to win. That is the focus of this piece. As the dustRead More →

For years as a Nationalist I have put up with friends and colleagues questioning why a left-leaning democrat like me was drawn to the narrow confines of nationalism instead of fighting for socialism, social justice and equality (as if this was the exclusive preserve of the Labour party). Breaking down the class barriers instead of creating bourgeois borders is what I was told was important. All the time, I never once heard them talk about uniting Britain with the workers’ republics of Europe. No, they were just as nationalist for Britain as I was for Scotland, only self-deceiving in their outlook. Many British Labour supportersRead More →

Last Friday, I accepted an invite from a close friend, who happens to be a Strathclyde University alumnus, to attend a panel debate chaired by Prof John Curtice. On the Yes side were Humza Yousaf, Zara Kitson and Ivan McKee, three talented, up-and-coming politicians. On the No side, Jim Murphy, Baroness Annabel Goldie and Lord George Robertson (apologies to aficionados of peerage etiquette, first names should never be used in relation to addressing life peers). As was to be expected of two former Defence Secretaries, Jim Murphy and George Robertson focused on NATO membership and the Clyde’s reliance on MOD procurement to maintain jobs inRead More →

As I write this on the eve of the European Parliament poll, Scotland is about to vote to elect its 6 Members of the European Parliament. On Monday lunchtime, we will know how Scotland has decided. I hope that the opinion polls are correct and that the D’Hondt system of allocating seats will reward the SNP and possibly the Greens with 3 and 1 seat. This would be an emphatic lift for the YES campaign – even though we say the European elections are nothing to do with the referendum. The media will dissect the result to suit their own agendas. Three seats for theRead More →

Wear your badge with pride I was struck by a comment made by a fellow YES campaigner about her badge. She told me that she carries a few of them in her pocket so that when asked about where she got it or how nice it is, she can reply “here have mine.” She gives them her badge and off they toddle, pleased with her gift. Meanwhile, she dons one of her supplies and carries on her way. Then there was the time I was having a coffee in Stirling – a wee break before heading home. I noticed a young guy come in withRead More →