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
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
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
"WE’LL just revert to WTO terms!” shriek the Brexiteers when challenged that the EU stuff is a bit complex. I’ll let you into a secret: anyone saying that clearly doesn’t understand what they’re talking about and should be quarantined as a dangerous fool.
Scotland’s best interests are emphatically to stay in the EU, but lets look at the reality of WTO membership. If you didn’t like Brussels, wait till you meet Geneva!
First published in The National, 2 August 2018Read more
SINCE the EU referendum in 2016, I almost feel like I’ve been walking around with “Scotland voted to Remain” tattooed on my forehead and in my heart, so often am I reminding my friends, colleagues and chunks of the media of this. It’s not a clever-clever argument for Scottish-European exceptionalism – it’s just a fact, and a situation that’s in danger of being railroaded through by this zombie UK Government.
One tiny, tiny glimmer of good news is that we’ve got more people talking about the EU, discussing it, analysing it, and debating whether we can stop Brexit.
First published in The National, 11 April 2018Read more
IF you voted Leave on the promise of more powers for Holyrood and a stronger Scottish Parliament, I’m sorry to say you’ve been had.
As I write this, I find myself deflated by a vote in the House of Commons. You’d think I would know better by now. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill has been in principle agreed by the House of Commons, and now moves on to the detailed consideration in the Commons and Lords. This despite a clear majority of Scots rejecting Brexit across every local authority in the land, and an even clearer majority of Scotland’s representatives in the Mother of Parliaments rejecting it too.
First published in The National, 13 September 2017Read more
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.
First published in The National, 14 March 2017Read more
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.
First published in The National, 24 February 2017Read more
ANYONE who did not believe that the European Question is the defining attribute of politics in these islands is in no doubt after Sunday. Different people come to independence for different reasons. I’ve always been motivated by the difference Scotland could make in the world, and the difference we could make to the lives of Scots by taking control over our own lives and making decisions here.
First published in The National, 4 October 2016Read more