THE Brexit clusterbùrach continues apace at Westminster and it has become nigh on impossible to make any sense of it, in particular when explaining it to my increasingly incredulous MEP colleagues from across Europe. The only difference is that, whereas we in Scotland have been dragged into this mire against our will and may suffer draconian consequences for it, the rest of Europe can regard it as nothing more than a surreal sideshow. To them, it is of secondary importance (at best) to the many serious challenges which they continue to address through pan-European co-operation.
First published in The National, 21 December 2018Read more
THERE have been a lot of twists, turns, bumps and forks in the road in the Brexit madness – but tomorrow might be the start of the end of it.
As readers of my pieces will know, I’m a joint litigant in “The Scottish Case”, an action taken together with five other Scottish parliamentarians to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) asking for a ruling on how to revoke Article 50.
First published in The National, 3 December 2018Read more
NEXT week the Brexit drama moves to Luxembourg, where I believe a fundamental part of undoing Brexit will move a step forward. As we see the mess at Westminster, MPs need to know their choice is not this blindfold Brexit v No Deal – there are other options. One of them being to stop Brexit altogether.
First published in The National, 23 November 2018Read more
THE UK-EU withdrawal agreement is now public, so we can now see what all the fuss has been about. Remember, this is just the exit agreement, the settling up our bills, and has nothing meaningful on what the future will hold. If the agreement is approved (an open question) then from Brexit day we will enter a transition where the EU laws roll on, so little overnight will change.
First published in The National, 18 November 2018Read more
IT seems that writing about Brexit should carry an implied “At the time of typing”, or carry a timestamp, so quickly do things appear to move.
With that in mind, here’s an explainer of how we got here and – more importantly – where events may take us.
First published in The National, 15 November 2018Read more
IN this column I have tried to sort the wheat from the chaff on Brexit and pass on useful news. But, in what looks like yet another “sound and fury signifying nothing” Brexit week, I’ll look at something else crossing my desk as a member of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee – New Caledonia’s independence referendum.
First published in The National, 9 November 2018Read more
YOU could be forgiven for thinking that the big news this week was the UK Budget. Certainly enough of the commentariat gleefully went back to something other than the Brexit process story, but the Chancellor’s fantastical claim the austerity is over did not get quite enough analysis. The fact is, Scotland’s resource block grant is next year going to be almost £2 billion lower in real terms than it was when the Tories first came to power. Austerity might be over for some.
First published in The National, 2 November 2018Read more
AS an MEP, I put a lot of time into getting out and about personally. I enjoy the fact I represent the length and breadth of Scotland– and have seen most of it! I think it is an integral part of my job to be available, and as visible as I can be, so that folk can see what I’m up to.
First published in The National, 26 October 2018Read more
IN one of my speeches on Brexit at SNP Conference last week, I quoted JK Galbraith from his book The Great Crash 1929: “the end had arrived but was not yet visible”.
That is where we are with Brexit, and we all need to keep the heid. The next few weeks will have many bumps in the road and I know from my own daily experience and the emails I am getting on a regular basis there are a lot of people finding this to be a new sort of torture.
First published in The National, 18 October 2018