European free trade deal with the US would need wholesale reform to win the SNP’s support

Chicago gangster Al Capone was finally jailed not for his violent crimes but for tax evasion. Trade and finance law can cover a lot of stuff, and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ("TTIP") is a case in point. It is of huge significance, and tomorrow the SNP members will decide our policy on it. As you would expect, we'll have a democratic debate and vote at conference open to all members. I have drafted the motion along with Chris Stephens from the SNP Trade Union Group (and candidate for Glasgow South West) and I appeal to delegates to support it.

 The_National.jpg

Published in The National 27 March 2015

Read more

Yorkshire needs local accountability

Scotland is in the midst of a democratic renaissance, and I detect the first stirrings of it in Yorkshire, too. 

 YorkshirePost.jpg

 

Published in the Yorkshire Post 24 March 2015

Read more

Words can’t halt this violence – actions will

Last week, men and women from around the world marked International Women’s Day and hardly a politician missed the opportunity to tweet some platitude about the fairer sex. Many then settled back to forget about equality for another year.

 The_National.jpg

Published in The National 16 March 2015

Read more

Producer Organisations may save our dairy farmers

This week saw the release of the official figures on the impact of the Russian imports ban, and they make for grim reading. The sharpest drops in EU value are fruit, vegetables, and dairy products; cheese is down 19.4%, with butter faring slightly better at 9.5%.

It’s another blow to dairy farmers, as if the need for last month’s special hearing on prospects for the dairy sector didn’t already show that shady practices and difficult market conditions aren’t confined to Scotland. 

 CaithnessCourier.png

Published in the Caithness Courier 11 February 2015

Read more

Dairy attitudes must change to counter brute market power

This week, I've participated in a special hearing organised by the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee on prospects for the dairy sector and the implementation of the recent "milk package" of legislation (comprising, amongst other things, the opportunity for mandatory written contracts with milk collectors, and the encouragement of producer organisations to bargain collectively for a better price.) Adverse market conditions and shady practices aren’t confined to Scotland – this is an EU-wide issue and we have to act now.

PressandJournal.jpg

Published in the Press and Journal 29th January 2015

Read more

Immigration has had a positive social and economic influence on Scotland

'We have now reached a position where Scots are having loved ones torn from their arms and sent overseas'

 SundayHerald.png

Published in The Herald 21 December 2014

Read more

Word from Syria: don't drift towards Assad to tackle Isis

If Europe wishes to find a solution for the problems of the Middle East, it needs to correct a number of misconceptions about Syria. Most importantly, it needs to realise that the key threat is not ISIS but the Assad regime, both of which are engaged with a fight to the death with Europe's only possible ally: the rebels.

HuffPost.png 

Published in the Huffington Post 21st December

Read more

Farmers need protection from unfair practices

The EU’s long-awaited report on the food chain was published at the end of October. Unfortunately, it didn’t mention anything about the major challenges being faced by farmers, foremost of which is the unfair bargaining power of processors. 

JohnOGroatsJournal.jpg

Published in John O'Groat Journal 12 December 2014

Read more

The Iraq Crisis – Beyond ISIS

The European Union, and the Western world as a whole, cannot talk the talk when it comes to military intervention while neglecting the equally pressing humanitarian situation, which is actually now the root cause of the growth in extremism.

 BellaCaledonia.jpg

Published at Bella Caledonia on 11th December.

Read more

Why Europe must now support Tunisia more than ever

We Europeans did nothing to help Tunisia achieve its revolution in January 2011. Yet, today, we can and must support the most successful of the Arab Spring countries - because we know that democracy can never be taken for granted.

 HuffPost.png

Published in the Huffington Post on 25th November.

 

Read more