This was the final Strasbourg session of this parliamentary term and an important one. As I have joked more than once, I have had more farewell addresses than the Rolling Stones! In my speech to Parliament, I called for international observers for the European elections because the Leave campaigns broke the law and I don’t doubt they’ll do it again.Read more
It has been another long week but at the end of it another so-called ‘Brexit Day’ has been and gone. Scotland is still in the EU!
Theresa May went to Brussels and came back with an extension until Halloween. The EU has again shown itself to be a mature body of compromise. Although the frustration in Brussels is palpable, all the countries were looking for the best way to help the UK. But the situation in Westminster is so confused that there was significant debate about the best way to do that. After discussion they compromised, and the deadline of October 31 was set. Politics the mature, European way.
This is not my dream – of revoking Article 50 – but it is far from a Halloween nightmare. I must confess, at times I have felt I am in some bad science fiction novel: 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 May still manages to get her deal through and the elections are cancelled.Read more
After this week, my dismay for Westminster is verging on disgust. I am sickened by the vain, shallow, self-regarding antics we’ve seen coming out of that place. I know there’s a lot of decent sorts in there trying to fix this – as appalled as I am by where they are – but they’re pushing against a boulder of intransigence. They're also trying to do the impossible: make a success of Brexit.
This week began with MPs having non-binding votes on various future options, floundered in the middle – with MPs narrowly passing a mechanism to stop no-deal which won’t stop no-deal – and ended with Corbyn and May locked in a room trying to decide the fate of Scotland’s EU membership.Read more
The EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, today met with members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) to discuss Brexit, leading to an "invigorating" exchange of views with the SNP’s Alyn Smith.Read more
This week has been tough. I confess I have been dreading it for months, wondering how I would feel when on the 29 March at 12pm (Brussels time, not UK time) we were dragged out of the EU against Scotland’s will.
Throughout the process there have been so many folk pretending it’s inevitable, or just resigned to it, despondent. Yet here we are, the time has passed and yet the SNP’s MEPs are still here at our posts. Well, this is far from over folks. Theresa May’s deal was defeated again this afternoon and now the only sensible choice is to revoke Article 50 and take the irresponsible threat of no deal off the table.
This week was also potentially my last Plenary session in Strasbourg. As I said to my fellow MEPs, there are a lot of us in Scotland and across the UK, working hard to turn this round, to serve our citizens, to remain within this family of nations.Read more
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Friday) published a report he commissioned into Scottish Twitter and online discourse in Scotland.
The independent report, "Scotland and Social Media, Trolls Under the Bridge?", researched and compiled by former Metropolitan Police Inspector turned investigative journalist and author JJ Patrick, found that some 4.25% of Scottish Twitter activity is identifiable as potentially malign, though this rises to a maximum of 12.24% in an assessment of certain account types.Read more
I believe it is utterly wrong for people to be placed in a situation where - after making a home, enriching a community, and contributing to society - they are now facing this awful uncertainty. The European Commission has produced the following 23-page memo on citizens' rights, which I believe may be of interest. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/2017-12-12_qa_citizens_rights.pdfRead more
ONE of the few good news stories to emerge from the UK’s decision to leave the EU is that people have started to engage with European politics in a more active way. I admit this is ironic but it means that for the first time people are aware of developments in the EU beyond that being covered by the major news outlets.
First published in The National, 28 June 2017Read more