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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I have seen the razor wire ... if Dungavel isn’t a prison then I don’t know what is

Last week, myself and local SNP candidate Dr Lisa Cameron saw one of the most worrying sites in Scotland. Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre is a prison where some of the world’s most vulnerable people are locked up, without trial and without time restraint. The UK Government calls such places “migrant detention centres” but let me be clear: I have seen the razor wire and if Dungavel isn’t a prison, I don’t know what is.

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Published in The National 27 April 2015

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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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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.

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Published in The National 27 March 2015

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Yorkshire needs local accountability

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

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Published in the Yorkshire Post 24 March 2015

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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.

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Published in The National 16 March 2015

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