The SNP’s historic “Tsunami” of a result in 2011 meant that what had been a dream, aspiration and hope of all Independence Supporters was now a real possibility as we all set our sights on the Referendum on Scotland’s future. I have been convinced for half my life, over twenty years, that Scotland should be an Independent country. Nothing in those intervening years from the banking crisis, selling off the gold reserves cheap, raiding of the pension funds, the Iraq war, the poll tax or bedroom tax to the privatisation of the Royal Mail has swayed me from the conviction that Scotland should be anRead More →

I am often asked by some of the many young visitors to the Parliament what I think is the best thing the Parliament has delivered for the people of Scotland. I am sure that MSPs from across the Parliament give many answers to that from the Smoking Ban to the Climate Change legislation. But, for me, it is the 2007 decision to extend the education rights that are enjoyed by Scottish-domiciled students to the children of asylum seekers. A Government press release from the time stated: “Children of asylum families are to have the same access to full time further and higher education as ScottishRead More →

Noam Chomsky once said, “The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.” I think Nigel Farage may be aware of this truth, as is Better Together – the self- styled “Project Fear.” And this use of fear is what mires our political debate: whether about Europe or the Independence Referendum, it is the lowest denominator of political rhetoric. In the USA, negative campaigning is perceived to work. So if Project Fear and Farage were not bad enough, Labour and the Conservatives are importing US spin doctors David Axelrod and Jim Messina.Read More →

To say it has been a bad few days for the no campaign would be a bit of an understatement. Alastair Carmichael was schmoozing with journalists at his party conference in Perth when news broke of the Guardian article by Nicholas Watt reporting that a UK Government Minister had confirmed what the First Minister has said all along that the stated policy of the UK Government on a currency union was nothing more than a campaign tactic. From the Guardian article: “A currency union will eventually be agreed between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stability onRead More →

I love the beginning of a Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…” Dickens’ contradictions capture our imagination and, because he doesn’t mention the characters involved, the reader is left to determine to whom the tale of goodRead More →

For some time now the Better Together partners have been suggesting that the SNP have put Scotland on Pause.  Yesterday Alex Salmond showed a Scotland far from “on pause”, rather a Scotland of the Possible.  Possible- tackling of inequality and injustice in our society. Possible –  tackling poverty. Possible – a better future for Scotland’s children.  And with the full powers of Independence, possible –  a Scotland that truly is the best country in the world in which to grow up. I was delighted to be able to speak in the Parliamentary debate on Tuesday 7th January on Scotland’s Future where Alex Salmond announced, asRead More →

In the Herald on Sunday Ian McWhirter said of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Independence, Scotland’s Future, that “Not since the tablets of stone descended from Mount Sinai has any document been more eagerly awaited or expectations greater”. Does he exaggerate? Were the tablets expected when Moses ascended Mount Sinai? As someone who has a 16 year old son I have to say Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows launch may have been a better comparator! Harry Potter launch took place at the National History Museum, “Scotland’s Future” at Glasgow Science Centre.  Both launches captured the world’s attention and imagination, with press reports, liveRead More →

By general agreement, the 2013 SNP Annual Conference, the last before the Referendum was a great success! Held in the most difficult of circumstances, in the shadow of the dire threat to the Grangemouth workforce and possible blow to the Scottish Economy that the closure of Grangemouth would deliver and the Dunfermline by election, the Conference displayed a confident, positive party enthused by the up and coming European and Referendum campaigns.  As someone who lived through the closure of Ravenscraig in my own home community and the mass unemployment caused by the deindustrialisation of Motherwell, I was deeply concerned for the people of Grangemouth andRead More →

There could only ever have been one topic for this week’s flag and I hope I can do justice to the 30,000 marchers on Calton Hill on Saturday. Our day began with a meet at 9.15 at Motherwell Station.  I was mindful that if we each had a plus one on last year then we could double the numbers.  I was delighted that not only had our Branch members, volunteers from Yes Motherwell and Wishaw, and the Lanarkshire Forum for Independence turned out in force but that the platform was full of YES badges and T-shirts on people that I had never met before.  IRead More →

MRS LILIAN MACDONALD We regret to announce Lilian MacDonald, a long-time director of the Scots Independent, died yesterday. There will be an obituary in the September issue of the Scots Independent.   History Lesson As a Motherwell born and raised girl I have always been proud of the role that my home town has played in the Scottish Independence cause.   When Robert McIntyre was elected in 1945 it marked the first Parliamentary milestone on the Independence journey, a journey that is far from over but which has in its sights the referendum that can realise a dream held by so many, for so long.  OnRead More →