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.
First published in The National, 11 January 2017.Read more
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.
First published in The National, 3 January 2017Read more
‘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.
First published in The National, 20 December 2016.Read more
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.
First published in The National, 13 December 2016.Read more
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.
First published in The National, 6 December 2016.Read more
LIKE many people, I’ve often felt powerless in the face of powerful interests and highly complex systems that seem to be so intricate that we will never reform them for the better. But I’ve never changed my mind over the moral obligation we have to improve the lives of the world’s most desperate and vulnerable people. So last week’s news of the EU cracking down on conflict minerals is a much-needed boost in an otherwise frustrating year.
First published in The National, 18 October 2016Read more
You may be weary of American politics right now and feel the need to concentrate on events here at home, but we mustn’t underestimate the impact that the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States will have on global politics.
First published in The National, 22 November 2016.Read more
IT IS curious that so much of what has been written about the Scottish Government’s Minim Unit Pricing policy (MUP) has been portrayed as a "Scotland versus Europe" struggle. The reality is actually a long way from this, and rather more interesting.
First published in The National, 15 November 2016.Read more
TRANSFATS. They may not sound sexy, and indeed they are not. But neither is heart disease and they have a large part to play in causing it. Every two per cent of energy consumed from trans-fatty acids increases your risk of a heart attack or death due to heart disease by a whopping 25 per cent, and some of our food is saturated with them.
First published in The National, 8 November 2016.Read more