European elections: Voting Green could open door for Nigel Farage’s candidate

I’M honoured to have been approved by the SNP NEC as a candidate in the European election, and now it is over to delegates at our Spring Conference to rank us one to six to finalise our list. We’ve a great slate, and this European election is our most important ever, as well as probably the strangest! I’ll lead it from the front if you’ll back me. We have a chance to shine by sending a strong team of MEPs back to Brussels to defend Scotland’s place in Europe and to build the case for independence in Europe.

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First published in The National, 23 April 2019

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We are not stalling on indyref2 – we must make sure we succeed

THIS week I have submitted my papers to the SNP and hope to be a candidate in the upcoming (I think we can now say that) European elections. I’ll confess, I had long thought in my heart of hearts that Brexiteer Jeremy Corbyn and born-again leaver Theresa May would find a form of fudge to unite enough of each of their parties to get the withdrawal agreement over the line. Perhaps they still will, but from the indications we are getting from Westminster, it seems we’re game on for a European election. Not, obviously, for any reasons of high principle on either side, but because Corbyn thinks he can use this election to punish the Tories.

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First published in The National, 18 April 2019

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The EU elections are a chance to show Scotland is different

THE last few weeks I have felt like in some bad science fiction novel I’m partially existing in about three, maybe four, parallel universes. There is the universe where we won the independence referendum; the one where Cameron did not make is disastrous gamble to have an EU referendum; the one where May got her deal through the Commons and we left the EU on March 29; and now there’s the one where an EU election takes place in Scotland on May 23. There’s also the one where still manages to get her deal through and the elections are cancelled.

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First published in The National, 12 April 2019

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I’m disgusted by the Brexit antics at Westminster

AFTER last night, my dismay for Westminster is verging on disgust at the vain, shallow, self-regarding antics we’ve seen coming out of that place.

I know there’s a lot of decent sorts in there trying to fix this, apalled at where they are, but they’re pushing against a boulder of intransigence, trying to do the impossible – make a success of Brexit.

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First published in The National, 3 April 2019

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Amid Brexit, get set for our most important European elections yet

CONGRATULATIONS, everyone, on surviving another week of noise, drama and Boris Johnson chasing a leadership challenge, culminating in Parliament’s rejection of the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement.

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First published in The National, 31 March 2019

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We need to build a coalition if we are going to win Scottish independence

TO beat Brexit we’re going to need a coalition, and that will mean working with some people we wouldn’t usually work with. I’ll let you into a secret too: if we’re to build a coalition to take Scotland to independence we’re going to need to do the same.

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First published in The National, 28 March 2019

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This is why EU leaders are losing patience with UK

THE reaction said it all. “We were saying all the time that we need to have more clarity from London. Clearly, there is no clarity. There is less clarity today than ... yesterday.”

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First published in The National, 21 March 2019

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Here are five ideas to get us out of this Brexit chaos

THERE was an old Sunday newspaper column by a fictional MSP that always began with “What a week!” I feel like that and as I write it is only Wednesday.

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First published in The National, 14 March 2019

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Article 50 extension isn't going to solve anything

What is remarkable about where we stand is not what has changed but how much has remained the same.

Ever since Mrs May triggered Article 50 with no long term plan (supported, remember, by the Labour and Conservative Parties) it has been obvious to anybody who understood the process that we would by this point have three choices: to accept a deal from the UK Government, crash out with no-deal, or simply revoke it.

The underlying choice is rigid and will not shift until one option has been picked.

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First published in The Sunday Herald, 14 March 2019

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The historic Holyrood Brexit debate was a good day for Scottish democracy

WITH little of note happening on the Brexit front in Brussels this week, I am in Scotland catching up with people and seeing what is happening. I was privileged to be in the gallery at Holyrood on Tuesday to watch the EU debate. It was a set-piece occasion and pretty much everybody rose to it. It was historic because it was the first-ever joint motion presented in the name of almost all the parties in our national Parliament and also the National Assembly for Wales, the Senedd. Scotland’s SNP government and the Welsh Labour government have been working hand in glove on Brexit since the stramash was visited upon us, and it is testament to our outstanding Scotland in Europe Minister Michael Russell that we have such a strong joint position.

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First published in The National, 7 March 2019

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