As part of the annual Cabinet on tour, our Scottish Government highheidyins are in Shetland this week. It’s a positive thing to do, not least because a different part of the country gets showcased each time they do it. I’ve never had the chance to visit Shetland, but the sunny photographs certainly would encourage me to go: twitter reveals that John Swinney has seen some picturesque landscapes while out running, Fiona Hyslop has admired the morning sunshine, and Derek Mackay has clapped some pretty ponies wearing fetching jumpers. Yes, that’s the ponies, not Derek… More seriously, the Cabinet meeting in Shetland allows for a focusRead More →

Durham When watching TV I saw the procession at the Durham Miners’ Gala – Len McLuskey was speaking at it, and I recalled a piece on this Gala some years back, in the Observer I think.  I paraphrase; One of the comments was  that this was the greatest democratic demonstration in the world, and the report went on: “ “If you vote Tory up our way, you get a brick through your window” quoth one democratic miner.”   A9 tragedies I am never surprised by the hypocrisy of our Unionist MSPs;  whenever there is an accident on the A9 involving loss of life you canRead More →

A wee bit of confusion of compilers ( could be a collective expression!)  this week with many causes. Start with the stunning  achievement of Andy Murray in winning at the All England Tennis Club, attaining the highest rated award in tennis;  beats even an Olympic Gold – in English eyes certainly.  The Scottish Parliament is now in recess, and Scotland is basking in sunshine with soaring temperatures. So a bit of a hotch potch this week.    Some items from the Scots Independent newspaper Labour contradictory over Bedroom Tax Kevin Cordell   Policy pursued by a Westminster Government Scotland  rejected in 2010. The weapons ofRead More →

At the start of the Lunch, Denholm Christie, Acting Chairman of the Scots Independent newspaper, paid tribute to the late Jimmy Halliday, the former Chairman, who died on 3rd  January this year; a photo of Jimmy appeared on the screens as Denholm spoke. After introducing the top table, SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP and his wife Lily, Una Ozga, daughter of the late Oliver Brown, Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP and Jim Lynch Scots Independent Editor, Denholm admitted that he himself usually preferred to remain anonymous. SI Editor Jim Lynch presents the Oliver Brown Award to “Sean’s representative in Perth” – SNP President Ian HudghtonRead More →

I was delighted this week to see my friend Mark McDonald elected to serve the Aberdeen Donside constituency in the Scottish Parliament. The result itself was not the thumping victory some had predicted, and it was disappointing to see turnout down. There was a lot for voters to consider in this by election – the future of local schools, transport infrastructure, the very status of the city of Aberdeen itself – yet only 38.8% of registered voters managed out to vote, down from 47.3% in 2011. Last Thursday, along with many other SNP activists, I was out all day trying to encourage supporters out toRead More →

As I write this the report commissioned by the Scottish Government on pensions and benefits is released by the welfare working group. By now many of you will have had a chance to read it. No wonder the Westminster government is burying its head in the sand and hoping Scotland will vote no. I had no idea that so many of the UK pensions were processed here, in Scotland.  How many other parts of UK  government are carried out here? This will have massive consequences for the running of the rest of the UK (as it is being called) when we become independent. If theyRead More →

It is always interesting in the Chamber to see the reaction on the Labour benches when the SNP hits a raw nerve.  My recent speech, in a shameless Labour debate on student funding, was rudely interrupted to such an extent that the Presiding Officer was obliged to intervene. Why? Because I had dared suggest that the “Blue Labour” ideology close to the heart of Ed Milliband’s leadership was driving the abandonment of universal services by his Party. Just this week Labour have refused to reverse the bedroom tax or cuts to Child Benefit, and have pledged to means test winter fuel payment for pensioners.  InRead More →

Can I kick off this week with a reminder of the by-election in Aberdeen Donside constituency? Any help at all will be much appreciated. So no apologies for reminding you. This week we decided with spring in the air that we should replace our winter wind battered Saltire with a nice new one. We phoned our usual supplier and he said “would you like a new YES one? Silly question really. If you would also like a YES flag for your flagpole please contact James Stevenson (flags) ltd, 75 Westmoreland Street, Glasgow, G42 8LH Tel 0141 423 5757 http://www.stevensonflags.com/index2.htm   It was mentioned at ourRead More →

New compiler;  We say farewell, on the Flag only, to Jennifer Dunn, who will still be writing in the Scots Independent, and welcome to Alison Thewliss;  Alison’s  first Flag will be next week.  She will give us a brief biography and a picture. Jennifer has been contributing to the Flag for quite some time; she has also been contributing to the Scots Independent since before I became Editor.     The Isle of Man I was most intrigued to read that First Minister Alex Salmond had written an article  in the Mail on Sunday on currency, and I looked in vain in Monday’s Herald, theRead More →

I could not sit down to write my SI article without reflecting on the passing of Brian Adam MSP.  I met Brian a number of years ago at the Livingston by-election. Dutifully, trying to raise money for the campaign, I tried to sell him a raffle ticket! A mistake to be made only once in a lifetime. So it was with some trepidation that as newly elected MSP I was summoned to the Whips Office.  Brian immediately put me at my at ease and explained, without a hint of irony, that if I did what I was told, when I was told to do it,Read More →