Why is a nominal border touted for Ireland but Scotland warned of a major barrier?

LAST week I was in and around Belfast to see how the Brexit vote is working in Northern Ireland.

The National

First published in The National, 07 February 2017

Read more

An independent Scotland at Europe's top table

EUROPEAN stuff can be complicated and it is easy to get wrong, especially when there are a few folk actively seeking to misinform with a blizzard of half truths, errors, alternative facts and outright lies.

Sunday Herald

First published in The Sunday Herald, 05 February 2017

Read more

Our mongrel nation must find a way to argue for its beliefs

I WAS in Poland last week to deliver the Natolin lecture, and the place has gone from strength to strength since I was a fresh-faced Erasmus student back in 1995. We were the first year fully in Warsaw, and the air was fizzing with energy. The initial euphoria of the Berlin Wall crashing down and Poland regaining freedom from the USSR had worn off, and the hard job of building a nation was under way.

The National

First published in The National, 31 January 2017.

Read more

The UK has to accept Scotland voted Remain or face the consequences

THE EU rose from the ashes of a devastating war where young boys and family men alike were sent off to fight and die because elite politics got it wrong.

National banner

First published in The National, 25 January 2017

Read more

Who is the best candidate to steer the European Parliament through stormy seas?

TODAY the European Parliament will begin the process of electing a new Speaker, or President. Usually this would not make waves in Scotland, but this time it could matter hugely to us.

The National

First published in The National, 17 January 2017

 

Read more

Scotland can learn from Malta which now takes the presidency of the European Council

IT’S a brave man who will admit he was wrong, especially in politics. But Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, has done just that. Having originally campaigned against Malta joining the EU, he’s since said that joining the EU is the best decision his country could have made. Now, as Malta flexes its muscles as chair of the European Union’s Council for the next six months, it’s worth considering that this country of under 500,000 has serious power in a union of 500 million people. Incidentally, the UK was due to take up the presidency in July but... well.

The National

First published in The National, 11 January 2017.

Read more

We all benefit when students become citizens of the world

ONE of the most heartbreaking parts of the drip-fed Brexit horror has been its impact on EU nationals who chose to make Scotland their home and now find themselves living in a state of uncertainty. That’s why I was so proud to see our First Minister, as one of her first acts after the EU referendum result, make a point of telling EU nationals that they were welcome and valued, and that this was their home.

The National

First published in The National, 3 January 2017

Read more

Fifa must act over Israeli teams playing and training in occupied Palestinian territory

‘ALL that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football” – so said Albert Camus, author, philosopher and, as it turns out, pretty proficient goalkeeper.

Sport and ethics are important. Symbolism of sport is important, especially internationally with teams often contributing to a nation’s self image. But there is a lot of politics in sport too, arguably too much, but it is right to call out the authorities when they get things wrong.

The National

First published in The National, 20 December 2016.

Read more

The UK must ratify the Istanbul Convention and tackle violence against women

AN estimated one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. I’m ashamed to type that. But just as the UK is pushed closer to finally ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Poland announces it plans to withdraw its signature.

The National

First published in The National, 13 December 2016.

Read more

Food banks should not need to exist .... we can do better than this

IT’S that time of year again. The year 2016 has fled past us (and who can blame it?) and some good souls are already putting together their parcels for the food banks.

The National

First published in The National, 6 December 2016.

Read more