SO the news is out, I am indeed seeking the nomination for Stirling constituency for the Westminster election if the local SNP members will have me. There has been lot of uncertainty in my life but I’ve reached the view over the last few years that the big argument on Scotland in Europe that we need to win is not in fact in Brussels, nor Scotland, but the place where the problem is – Westminster.
First published in The National, 11 September 2019Read more
BRITISH exceptionalism has become a buzzword in recent years, as a cause of Brexit for some academics and in the pages of the Telegraph as a justification for why Brexit will be a rip-roaring success. I confess I have some sympathy for the view that some who have spent their careers within the SW1 bubble have developed an over-entitled sense of history.
First published in The National, 7 August 2019Read more
WITH the election of Jo Swinson as leader of the UK LibDems and Boris Johnson as leader of the UK Tories, Westminster has truly spoiled us this week! Here at the outset, I’ll say congratulations to both, and I’ll work with anyone to bring sense to where we are, if they’re willing and able. I hae ma doots. Before we get caught up in the emotion and drama of it all, I was trying to count how many such leaders I have seen come and go since my own election in 2004, but lost count. However, it is worth thinking on what, if anything, their elections mean for us in Scotland and what it all means for Scotland’s place in Europe.
First published in The National, 25 July 2019Read more
EXACTLY 40 years ago, Simone Veil was elected as the first female president of the European Parliament and set out her vision for a fairer and more united Europe.” With those words the first ever female President of the European Commission began her case to MEPs on Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen went on to promise to ensure that there will be full gender equality within her College of Commissioners. This is a vital and welcome step. The EU must lead by example as the Scottish Government has already done.
First published in The National, 18 July 2019Read more
THE results are in and the European Parliament has a new President in the form of David Sassoli, an MEP from Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party. Sassoli, of the Socialists and Democrats group in the Parliament will serve for two and a half years, then an MEP from the centre-right European People’s Party will pick up the baton. The S&D is the second-largest group, the EPP the largest, and so the mill wheel of parliament keeps democracy flowing along.
First published in The National, 04 July 2019Read more
THE first job in the in-tray of the SNP’s expanded team at the European Parliament is the task which matters above all else: stopping Brexit.
Of course, had Scotland voted for independence in 2014 we would be in the same position as Ireland, horrified at what our neighbour is about to do to themselves but making preparations to protect our interests, with the solidarity of a global A-Team behind us.
First published in The National, 23 June 2019Read more
I’LL start this week's column with an apology that I have been tardy in writing lately, but I have a good excuse! I’m pleased to report that your SNP European Team is settling in well to Brussels and making friends across the borders of country, party, and political group. We’ve had a blisteringly successful week.
First published in The National, 15 June 2019Read more
AND so, the hurly burly’s done, the EU election is lost, and in the SNP’s case, won, and emphatically at that. I have been behind in writing this column but I hope I have a good excuse! I would like to thank everyone, from the SNP and the Yes movement, The National itself and folks of all politics and those who contributed to the SNP’s best European election result ever.
First published in The National, 1 June 2019Read more