Since Thatcher died, there have been acreages of news coverage. So, coming to write this on Thursday, there’s already been numerous feminist perspectives, commentary by those on the left and the right, and arguments about just about any aspect of Thatcherism, from the poll tax to the Belgrano to the miners’ strike, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland and, well, just about everything she ever did when she was in office. There are already loads of reflective pieces out there about growing up under Thatcher. My abiding memories are of my father heading out to go on strike one dark morning, my older brother and sister struggling toRead More →

St Andrews On Monday 1st April I was reading with great interest a report about the Principal of St Andrew’s University, expressing her view that £9000 was a good price to pay for a degree from that institution; this, on the front page of the Herald, named the Principal as Professor Louise Richardson.  The report continued on Page 2, with a picture of Louise Robertson; in fairness they also did an interview and profile on her on Page 13. Such slips are commonplace in the Herald these days, but no correction was noted the following day, but then they had another slip that took upRead More →

I was extremely honoured this week, along with my colleagues, to be in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament when our First Minister made the announcement about the date of the referendum  “…It is worth reflecting just for a moment on the privilege that this nation and this generation will have: nothing less than the privilege of choosing the future course of our country, in a democratic referendum that is made here in Scotland. We have been on a journey since 1999 and the restoration of our Parliament, here in the heart of our ancient capital. We have witnessed a growing confidence and increase inRead More →

  At long last we have the date of the Referendum, when  the people of Scotland  will be asked if we want Independence. We were asked in 1979 if we wanted an Assembly, and we voted “Yes”, but the iniquitous 40% rule, never used in any Referendum anywhere in the world, meant that the votes of even those who were dead counted as “No”; despite a “promise” of something better, the Tory Government scrapped the whole issue, a procedure they will slavishly follow if Scotland does not vote “Yes”. We were asked in 1997 if we wanted a Scottish Parliament, and one with financial powers,Read More →

That is the key fact which underlies the welter of figures, claims and counter-claims of recent days about Scotland’s economic prospects as an independent nation.  The discussion paper I prepared for the Scottish Cabinet around a year ago, and which is now in the public domain, demonstrates just how seriously the Scottish Government is approaching the task of managing Scotland’s finances as we look forward to the prospect of a Yes vote in the referendum next year The document is a serious, hard-headed look at some of the challenges and opportunities that will be presented by having control of all of our own resources forRead More →

So, according to the Mail on Sunday all that is British will be dead and gone when Independence is declared. In some cases maybe a good thing. But the scaremongering continues……………….. Car tax will go. Don’t think so. We pay it direct to our own tax office but we’ll still pay it, how else will we fund the roads? If the tax does go it will because Mr Swinney has thought of another way to go about things. No National Lottery. Don’t think so. You can buy the Euro lottery and the Irish lottery tickets here so why not the UK one? If they stopRead More →

More than six months after its LA premiere saw the First Minister and assorted delegates from Scotland’s tourism industry walk along a specially-made green carpet, Disney-Pixar’s Brave had glasses raised in its direction once again when it took the Oscar for best animated picture this week in the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, the same venue which hosted its June launch.  When we note the success of Brave is in fact an incredible hat-trick for it this movie awards season, after wins at the Golden Globes and Baftas, it serves as a reminder of the affection Scotland is held in internationally and its marketability as a brand, which isRead More →

It doesn’t seem like more than ten years since the massive anti-war demonstrations, held to dissuade Blair from joining with the US invasion of Iraq. Yet February 15th marked the date of the biggest peace rally in recent times. I remember it well. It was one of those clear, bright February days, not unlike we’re experiencing at the moment. Glasgow Green was full of thousands of people – a police estimate of 30,000, and an organisers’ estimate of 80,000. Amongst the marchers were the usual political types you usually find at rallies – the SNP, the Greens, the SSP, and even some Labour Against theRead More →

  January editorial from Scots Independent As I have said, I will publish the Editorial from the preceding month’s Scots Independent. Here is the Editorial from January; it does not seem dated, as the Unionists   keep repeating their behaviour Depreciate and deprecate The Leveson Report is published on the day of writing.  We had some repartee at First Minister’s Questions, calmly spiked by Alex Salmond’s proposal that as no one had actually seen the report it would be more sensible to have the debate next week.  This very reasonable approach was somehow not to the liking of the ‘earnest concerned’ leader of the Liberal rump,Read More →

It seems that hardly a day goes by that Scotland takes one step closer to Independence Day.  History will see the Edinburgh Agreement as hugely significant in determining our country’s future. Tuesday 5th of February saw the launch of the Scottish Government’s proposals for “The transition to an independent Scotland”.  Of course this comes hot on the heels of the Electoral Commission Report “Referendum on Independence for Scotland, Advice of the Electoral Commission on the proposed referendum question.” This has given us the final question, with which many Yes campaigners will be as content as am I. ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No’ Surprisingly,Read More →