UNITED NATIONS TO PROBE TORY WELFARE REFORMS The SNP has urged the UK Government to fully cooperate with UN investigators following reports that the United Nations are to probe UK Government welfare reforms following a complaint that there had “grave and systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. So concerned are the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that they have already launched a formal investigation – and it is believed that a team will shortly visit the UK – and Scotland- to talk to those directly hit by the deep and continuing assault of Tory cuts. Last year United Nations SpecialRead More →

Almost everybody I meet at the moment asks me what it’s like to be an MP. So I thought I’d explain a wee bit about The House of Commons part of the job. Parliament meets in Westminster roughly 32 weeks a year. The weeks vary drastically, but usually I leave the house about 7am on a Monday morning and fly to London. I go straight to Westminster and arrive by 1pm. Parliament sits from 2:30pm to 10pm on a Monday, although a half hour adjournment debate follows the 10pm votes. On Tuesday and Wednesday the House sits 11:30am to 7pm and on Thursdays from 9:30amRead More →

“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi Although I don’t consider Great Britain to be a nation, this quote surely does apply to it. How can Britain continue to call itself great when it allows its government to treat the weakest members of our society the way it does. The current situation is merely the tip of the mountain the Tories wish to push our people down. “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; thoseRead More →

SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford is calling for an immediate halt to all sanctions in response to concerns that DWP staff are put under pressure to hit targets.   Dr Whiteford has written to Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith saying that a “root and branch” independent review must be carried out immediately following a sorry catalogue of errors at the government department.   In recent weeks it has emerged that the DWP shamelessly fabricated success stories for a leaflet, that half of JSA and ESA sanctions were overturned when reviewed and today a whistle-blower has revealed that staff are under pressure from bossesRead More →

News that Germany is to follow Scotland in banning GM crops under new EU rules has been welcomed by the SNP. German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed German states of his intention to use a new EU law, passed in March, to ban the use of GM crops. This follows the Scottish Government’s announcement earlier this month that they will take similar action to protect Scotland’s clean, green status. The German announcement also comes as Professor Carlo Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, said that he strongly believes the Scottish Government ban on GM crops is right and that “there are likelyRead More →

An SNP MP has called for clarity from Scottish Secretary David Mundell on the use of the Scotland Office in London. Dover House – the Scotland Office’s base in London – occupies an enviable location in central London on Whitehall and has hosted receptions for the Scottish Fashion Awards and the Scotch Whisky Association in recent years. But in response to a series of parliamentary questions seeking the number of public engagement events that have been held in Dover House aimed at promoting Scotland’s place in the UK and across the world lodged by Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman, the only answer fromRead More →

Corbynmania may or may not enter the Oxford English Dictionary next year. It is a word that strikes fear, loathing and depression in the minds of many ‘progressive’ Labour MPs. For progressive read whatever you like: right wing? Blairite? Brownie? Everyone wants to claim the title of being progressive and Nicola commandeered, nae owned it, in the General Election. After all, as an adjective all one has to believe in is a sense of going forward. For the youngsters among you, the Progressives in local government in the 1970s and before were Tories by another name. Enough about that. Jeremy Corbyn kicked off the openingRead More →

Richard Lochhead has just defended the governments position to ban growing of GM crops here in Scotland, and I am currently in favour of that position. It may come as a surprise to some that a farmer is opposed to a science that we are told will bring massive benefits to our industry, but quite simply, I have yet to be convinced. I am not opposed to genetic modification because as farmers and agrarians we have been doing that for generations. We grow our livestock, crops, fruits and everything else through selective breeding to try and maximise particular traits that we wish to encourage. ForRead More →

Following two sell-out performances, a third and final event takes place at the Saltire Society’s Edinburgh Old Town Headquarters this week. 45 years since first taking to the stage, Wednesday the 19th August could be your last chance to meet the original Heretics as they hand over to a new generation of writers and musicians. Committed to promoting the poetry and music of Scotland’s living tradition, The Heretics first appeared in 1970. They gave an early platform to future household names including Billy Connolly, Aly Bain and Liz Lochhead. It will be an opportunity to see the original Heretics hand over the baton to aRead More →

In the Herald of Monday 10th August I came across two articles which irritated me.  The first was by David Torrance at present in  South Africa apparently,  entitled “The politics of hope is little more than political escapism”, and as anyone with knowledge of Mr Torrance will be aware, he regards the Tories as the only realists. He used a phrase about “the SNP, whose mediocrity in devolved government….”  Mr Torrance may not have noticed but the SNP took over in May 2007 with a minority government which was only expected to survive weeks, but lasted four years.  In that time they abolished prescription charges,Read More →