Don’t be distracted by the sound and fury around Brexit

I’VE been doing politics a long time but I can’t recall navigating such an angry political environment. Some days it feels like the air is bubbling away with little pockets of fury. Even during the aftermath of the 2014 referendum, there was more hurt and less fury. But perhaps that’s because the 45 percent who voted for Scottish independence were still represented, via the Scottish Government, independent-leaning publications such as The National, and a sense that this energy would be focused into something more positive. 

The National

First published in The National, 5 April 2017

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Brexit is triggered but it seems like shooting yourself in the head to lose weight

“It feels like a death.”

“Is that it?”

"What a mess"

“How can they STILL not know what they want?”

Crammed into my own office with a crowd of fellow MEPs on Wednesday, watching the UK Prime Minister trigger Article 50, I realised the damage Brexit has done to any credibility the UK Government had. Appropriately for a process so reliant on a trigger, many of my colleagues see the Brexit mess as akin to blowing your brains out in order to lose weight.

Sunday Herald

First published in the Sunday Herald, 2 April 2017

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Brexit is real-life politics that will hurt millions of people – but pro-EU rallies in Scotland are only the beginning

WHEN your friend is on a drunken rampage, at what point do you step in? When they start being careless? When they’re going to hurt themselves? Or when they’re going to hurt someone else?

ScottishSun.png

First published in The Scottish Sun, 29 March 2017.

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Independence is the lifeboat we need to save us from being sunk by Brexit

PROBABLY today, we will see Theresa May commence the triggering of Article 50. This unprecedented action will begin the countdown on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the culmination of years of nagging and low-level rebellion by – primarily – Tory backbenchers.

The National

First published in The National, 29 March 2017

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The time has come for Scotland to make its own moves on the world stage

“Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on” – a famous quote from the famous Winnie Ewing, the former MEP whose constant championing of Scotland’s interests on the global stage earned her the sobriquet Madame Ecosse. 

The National

First published in The National, 22 March 2017

 

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We’ve tried to negotiate on Brexit ... now it’s time to save ourselves

TO hell with this nonsense. I thought the UK could be saved from itself, but even I have to accept that it’s now a ship speeding towards the rocks and they’re not changing course. Since the EU Referendum on June 23 it has been a daily struggle to keep cheerful, but I have been kept going by a belief that, yes, we have a challenge, but I think there are solutions, so let’s find them.

The National

First published in The National, 14 March 2017

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The future lies in thinking local – while taking the international view

OSCAR Wilde said the US and UK were “divided by a common language” but the same could be said for Scotland. We’re a complicated place, and Hugh MacDiarmid’s “multiform, infinite Scotland” needs to be reflected in policy.

The National

First published in The National, 8th March 2017

 

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Labour's conference shows a party disconnected from reality in Scotland

THE days are starting to draw out, snowdrops are peeking through, the daffodils are sprouting, the trees are coming into bud, and for political anoraks up down Scotland it all means only one thing. Spring Party Conference season is upon us. Yay. The Labour Party conference kicked off last weekend and it was truly enlightening, albeit unintentionally. Like many, I was bemused by the bizarre comments from Sadiq Khan in his remarkably ill-judged remarks, but it seems Scottish Labour HQ can’t even smear us competently.

The National

First published in The National, 2 March 2017.

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The face of how news is delivered has changed forever ... so here are a few tips for negotiating the new landscape

IT’S not just that social media has changed how we consume and use information, it’s the scale and speed with which it has happened. Time was, not long ago, you read a daily newspaper, watched the six o’clock news, listened to the wireless and counted yourself well informed. The BBC was trusted.

The National

First published in The National, 24 February 2017

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Europe will put the Brexiteers in their place as soon as Article 50 is triggered

LAST week was a rough one, I don’t mind admitting. Having to watch the House of Commons debate how, when and if the UK Government should begin the withdrawal process from the EU was horrible.

The National

First published in The National, 16 February 2017

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