The SNP should nurture and support others in the Yes movement

The SNP depute contest is now official. Nominations closed on Friday and we have four candidates, with four strong and distinct propositions. I regret that no woman came forward, but nonetheless it will be a good debate – as good-natured as it will be passionate – and will I’m sure reflect well on the party.

Register on Facebook, come along!

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First published in The National, 19 July 2016

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Scotland desperately needs vigorous discussion of policy that doesn't descend into political point-scoring

There has been some discussion in the SNP depute contest about the role of policy. Nowhere near enough, and we need to think way bigger. Politics is, surely, about ideas, and we need more of them. New ideas, testing them out in a vigorous debate then implementing whatever works best, learning whatever needs to be learned in a constant cycle of improvement.

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First published in The National, 2 August 2016

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Paid organisers are needed to co-ordinate the good work of local SNP groups

We launched my campaign for the deputy leadership of the SNP this week in Edinburgh, with force of nature Richard Demarco introducing me, and it went really well. I’ve been blown away by the kind words, the offers of support and the recognition that the SNP is going to have a great discussion with four strong propositions to choose from. I’ve launched the campaign website www.alyn4depute.eu with more campaign information, and to keep in touch.

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First published in The National, 26 July 2016

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I am the right man to be depute leader of the SNP

I am using this week’s column to reach out to SNP members, and indeed Yes supporters, to confirm the worst kept secret in Scottish politics. On Thursday I will launch my campaign for Depute leader of the SNP. The event will be at 1100 at Summerhall in Edinburgh, introduced by Ricky Demarco, a chap who knows the importance of internationalism and Scotland’s place on the world stage. Register on Facebook, come along!

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First published in The National, 19 July 2016

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The work defending our place in Europe goes on ... not everyone in Scotland is convinced

The last years have been a rollercoaster for the nation but also for me personally. The EU referendum was our fourth national vote in 21 months, with the energy from the 2014 independence vote still buzzing around and making the EU ref all the more other-worldly by comparison. In the last few months we have seen the worst of politics and politicians, but we have seen the best of the people of Scotland and the SNP membership.

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First published in The National, 12 July 2016

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It's easier to pander to prejudice rather than face it down and inform it out of existence

I had the privilege of speaking at Pride on Saturday, Edinburgh’s annual celebration of equality, always a riotous colourful shambles of happiness. But Pride is not just a celebration, it is also a protest, against inequality. A remembrance of how far we’ve come, those who went before, and those elsewhere who do not enjoy the rights we do. Scotland has been ranked as the top country in Europe for equalities by ILGA-Europe, the Brussels based LGBTI charity. We have come a long way, and we have a lot to celebrate.

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First published in The National, 5 July 2016

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Alyn Smith: It was the speech of my life, and I gave it for Scotland

I was dreading going back to Brussels this week, but I have never had so many hugs, tears and best wishes from colleagues. I was fighting back tears myself as I reported to our political group how the campaign went. Sometimes people forget politicians are actually human beings, we’re passionate about what we do and emotional creatures like everyone else. A lot of us are still working through a sort of grief at something we all lost on June 23. Something that was taken away.

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First published in The Sunday Herald, 18 October 2015 

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Where there’s a will, surely there’s a way for us to stay in the EU

"I very much appreciated the message of your First Minister to EU citizens in Scotland, as did my daughter studying at Glasgow university. Let me know how I can help Scotland.”

This a text message from a senior EU official, and the moment my own mood changed. The scale of last Thursday’s events has barely sunk in. Across the continent people are stunned, sad, horrified.

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First published in The National, 28 June 2016

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Flash the raccoon: an accidental boorach

An MEP's remit is broader than most. I, along with my SNP friend and colleague Ian Hudghton and four others jointly represent the whole of Scotland, making sure that the entire legislative output of the European Union fits Scotland's needs.

What is more remarkable is that by and large we actually manage it. But there are times when the process trips up, and last month we had a good example centred on a raccoon from Bathgate!

Published in iScot February 2016

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Five reasons to vote Remain on Thursday

So, in just two days we will have a vote on remaining within the EU, or not, after what has been the worst campaign I’ve ever been involved in. Everything about it has been star crossed from the start, with the dreadful murder of Jo Cox MP shocking us all. I’d add my own voice to the many expressing their condolences.

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First published in The National, 21 June 2016

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