We’re not the good guys if we keep selling arms to Saudi Arabia

As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, I have to observe a lot of doublespeak, wilful ignorance, selective memory and sometimes outright hypocrisy, all in the name of Realpolitik or Statecraft. But sometimes we do need to sup wi’ a lang spoon and I’m no boy scout. Few things are black and white.

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First published in The National, 18 October 2015

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Why Brussels finally gets the point of Scottish independence

By the time you read this I’ll be back in Brussels, but pretty sure I’ll still be raw from the cold, bleak feeling of powerlessness as I watched my country vote to stay, and parts of England I had barely heard of vote to leave. Scotland wants to remain, that is clear. We also have an SNP government and team that will work flat out to do what’s best for Scotland.

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First published in The Sunday Herald, 18 October 2015

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Helping the desperate is our only option – if we continue as we are things will deteriorate

“WHO are you and what are you doing here?” is not really how I’m used to being spoken to when on mission, but I wasn’t going to argue with four men each with a casually slung Kalashnikov to make up for, or perhaps bring on, the lack of manners.

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First published in The Sunday Herald, 11 October 2015

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Catalunya: The people will decide

AS I write this in a pavement café in Barcelona’s Old Town, memories of the energy and energising sense of possibility crackling around Scotland last September have made my eyes a wee bit misty.

I had not even arrived in Catalunya but my excitement was building. At Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting for the Barcelona flight, the couple next to me were having a heated, but friendly exchange. Their neighbours soon joined in, and I’m not sure if my linguistic skills mislead me but I’m sure I detected a certain flirty tone too in among the banter. They swapped numbers as we were called to board.

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First published in The Sunday Herald 27 September 2015

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Catalunya is a nation and has the right to choose

Next Sunday, the people of Catalunya go to the polls to choose their new government. However, this election will have further implications than merely a change in seats for Catalan political parties.

Due to the intransigence of the Spanish state, this vote has been given the status of a proxy for a referendum on Catalan independence.

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First published in The Sunday Herald 20 September 2015

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Calling Palestine "Palestine" in the European Parliament is actually quite important

Wednesday 9th September marked a symbolic victory for those who believe that an Israeli-Palestinian peace is only possible if both sides are treated as equals. The European Parliament has now voted to change the name of its “Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council” to the “Delegation for Relations with Palestine" by 344 votes to 282.

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Published in The Huffington Post 11th September 2015. 

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Most Refugees are fleeing harm the UK helped to create

I was heartened by the response from National readers to the joint letter I put together to the EU's President urging real action on refugees back in the Spring (April 22). I and so many others across Scottish civic society were afraid that without concerted European action the trickle of desperate souls fleeing danger and coming to harm on the EU's shores would only increase.

How wrong I was. It is way worse than I feared, and the response individually by the member states of Europe and collectively by the EU has made me doubt my faith in humanity. We live in bleak, shrill times and it is being exploited by a political agenda we should all be chilled by.

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First published in The Sunday Herald 6 September 2015

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How I could reach the tipping point on this trade deal

After a remarkable few months, countless twists and turns, the EU Parliament finally has a position on TTIP (the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

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Published in The Herald 11 July 2015

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The Tories' agenda is simple; it is an attack on decent European values

As the dust settles on the election and we all start to work out what the election result means for Scotland, only a few facts are clear.

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Scotland doesn't want cruel, heartless rhetoric about the refugee crisis in the Med - it wants humanitarian action taken right now

The Mediterranean, for most Scots, means summer holidays, a relaxing time with family and friends, sun, sea and sangria.

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Published in The Herald 26 March 2015

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