This is traditionally a time when we look back at the year just gone and forward to the new one. On a personal note, this year has seen two major medical procedures, chemotherapy and a change of house. So pretty hectic from January right through and I can only pray that next year brings a bit of much needed calm. Politically, it’s been a strange year, with the relief of getting the aftermath of that trial out of the way, unionists as usual shooting themselves in both feet especially in that committee and a good performance in the General Election. The birth of a new partyRead More →

Those of us of a certain vintage, will recall singing along to Edwin Starr’s anti-Vietnam war anthem in the 70s. The response was “Absolutely nuthin” but perhaps that’s not the whole truth. Apart from the armaments industry and some mercenaries who are the obvious profiteers there are those especially on the right of politics who see the “blood and soil” version of nationalism as something worth fighting for. There are also those who see war as a potential unifying factor and this sadly includes many UK Governments down through the years who have used the concept of glory and valour to their own ends. BritainRead More →

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I was reminded of this quotation in the tragic aftermath of the murder of Sir David Amess MP last Friday. It’s one which is often quoted but I now wonder just how much it is meant. Politics is about the clash of ideas, principles and persuasions or it is nothing but the day to day routine of administration. But to have a clash of ideas etc., you must be willing to hear what the other side is saying; just because they differ from you doesn’t make themRead More →

I was recently given a copy of Gavin Esler’s book “How Britain Ends” and have thoroughly enjoyed having another perspective on the politics of these Islands. A large part of his book is devoted to exploring the rise and nature of English Nationalism. Its roots, attitudes and contrasts with the nationalisms of Scotland, Wales and Ireland (north and to a degree South).  He traces what is referred to as “nostalgic pessimism” as a root of English resentment at the loss of some Golden Age through the centuries.  In the words attributed to John of Gaunt in Shakespeare’s Richard 11 the most widely known part being theRead More →

It was good to see the results coming in from the East Livingston and East Calder by-election in West Lothian last week. Not just because it was a thumping win for the SNP from Labour but because it signalled that, despite all the mince which has flown across social media this summer, the voters are keeping their eyes on the prize even if others would rather debate the political equivalents of the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin.  The results also showed the continuation of what is beginning to look like a long term change in affiliations within theRead More →

I wonder how you felt when the email from the National Secretary dropped into your inbox around the end of June? I had a mixture of emotions when I saw the three main topics were Independence, Council Elections 2022 and COP26.  All are no doubt worthy and indeed in the case of Independence a discussion which the Party needs to have on a number of levels. Strategic timeframes, improving the 2014 offering and involvement with the wider YES movement being just three examples. I also felt that familiar feeling of who has Branch or CA meetings in July and especially just after a General Election?Read More →

Shambles, served three ways! When it comes time for the history of how Independence was won to be written, one name will probably be missing and I think that’s a shame. One man has taken a Party from being both a stalwart of the case for Home Rule, a partner in Government and a considerable election winning machine and almost single handed reduced it to the most unthinking of Unionist parties, not even recognised as a Party at Holyrood and a deposit losing shambles.  Truly we have much to be grateful for that Willie Rennie ever stood for election! For those of us of aRead More →

Because we are moving home and I’ve been making full use of the wonderful NHS, I’ve been a spectator rather than an activist but as we move into the final phase of this abnormal election campaign, 4 things stand out for me. Hypocrisy of media over breaches of Ministerial Codes I wrote in my last piece of my concerns about how this might have played out to the serious detriment of both the campaign generally and on Nicola in particular. But this has been a dog which did not bark in the night and perhaps the reason lies a few hundred miles to the south.Read More →

This really is turning into the strangest election campaign I can recall in 55 years in the SNP. What was looking like a fairly routine campaign with the prospect of a possible SNP majority 12 months ago has developed more twists and turns than a Stephen King plot. First, we had the Alex Salmond trial, which so many of us feared would leave a major doubt in voters’ minds about the whole campaign for Independence. Then came the acquittal on all charges and we breathed huge sighs of relief and awaited the return of Alex to the fold and an eventual peace deal being brokered.Read More →

In 1921, Sir Edward Carson in a speech opposing what became known as The Anglo-Irish Treaty, famously said “What a fool I was! I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into Power.” I mention this, not just because it was 100 years ago but more because it contains a truth which should be learned by every Unionist as much as it’s known by Nationalist; you cannot trust the Tories. The colour of tory is irrelevant, red, blue or gold they will pursue two aims only. One being the unbridledRead More →