EXACTLY 40 years ago, Simone Veil was elected as the first female president of the European Parliament and set out her vision for a fairer and more united Europe.” With those words the first ever female President of the European Commission began her case to MEPs on Tuesday. Ursula von der Leyen went on to promise to ensure that there will be full gender equality within her College of Commissioners. This is a vital and welcome step. The EU must lead by example as the Scottish Government has already done.
First published in The National, 18 July 2019Read more
THE results are in and the European Parliament has a new President in the form of David Sassoli, an MEP from Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party. Sassoli, of the Socialists and Democrats group in the Parliament will serve for two and a half years, then an MEP from the centre-right European People’s Party will pick up the baton. The S&D is the second-largest group, the EPP the largest, and so the mill wheel of parliament keeps democracy flowing along.
First published in The National, 04 July 2019Read more
THE first job in the in-tray of the SNP’s expanded team at the European Parliament is the task which matters above all else: stopping Brexit.
Of course, had Scotland voted for independence in 2014 we would be in the same position as Ireland, horrified at what our neighbour is about to do to themselves but making preparations to protect our interests, with the solidarity of a global A-Team behind us.
First published in The National, 23 June 2019Read more
I’LL start this week's column with an apology that I have been tardy in writing lately, but I have a good excuse! I’m pleased to report that your SNP European Team is settling in well to Brussels and making friends across the borders of country, party, and political group. We’ve had a blisteringly successful week.
First published in The National, 15 June 2019Read more
AND so, the hurly burly’s done, the EU election is lost, and in the SNP’s case, won, and emphatically at that. I have been behind in writing this column but I hope I have a good excuse! I would like to thank everyone, from the SNP and the Yes movement, The National itself and folks of all politics and those who contributed to the SNP’s best European election result ever.
First published in The National, 1 June 2019Read more
I’M honoured to have been approved by the SNP NEC as a candidate in the European election, and now it is over to delegates at our Spring Conference to rank us one to six to finalise our list. We’ve a great slate, and this European election is our most important ever, as well as probably the strangest! I’ll lead it from the front if you’ll back me. We have a chance to shine by sending a strong team of MEPs back to Brussels to defend Scotland’s place in Europe and to build the case for independence in Europe.
First published in The National, 23 April 2019Read more
THIS week I have submitted my papers to the SNP and hope to be a candidate in the upcoming (I think we can now say that) European elections. I’ll confess, I had long thought in my heart of hearts that Brexiteer Jeremy Corbyn and born-again leaver Theresa May would find a form of fudge to unite enough of each of their parties to get the withdrawal agreement over the line. Perhaps they still will, but from the indications we are getting from Westminster, it seems we’re game on for a European election. Not, obviously, for any reasons of high principle on either side, but because Corbyn thinks he can use this election to punish the Tories.
First published in The National, 18 April 2019Read more
THE last few weeks I have felt like in some bad science fiction novel I’m partially existing in about three, maybe four, parallel universes. There is the universe where we won the independence referendum; the one where Cameron did not make is disastrous gamble to have an EU referendum; the one where May got her deal through the Commons and we left the EU on March 29; and now there’s the one where an EU election takes place in Scotland on May 23. There’s also the one where still manages to get her deal through and the elections are cancelled.
First published in The National, 12 April 2019Read more