There's a tremendous sense of community in Caithness – not the kind of dusty, vague “community” that only exists in speeches and faded newsprint, but a tangible, breathing, vibrant community that looks around, rolls up its sleeves and does what needs to be done.
First published in The National, 30 June 2017Read more
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today used a major European Parliament debate to remind the EU of the case for Scottish independence.Read 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 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.
First published in The National, 2 March 2017.Read more
I WAS in Poland last week to deliver the Natolin lecture, and the place has gone from strength to strength since I was a fresh-faced Erasmus student back in 1995. We were the first year fully in Warsaw, and the air was fizzing with energy. The initial euphoria of the Berlin Wall crashing down and Poland regaining freedom from the USSR had worn off, and the hard job of building a nation was under way.
First published in The National, 31 January 2017.Read more
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has urged Scots to take advantage of a new €1.5 million fund made available by the European Commission for linking nautical routes across Europe.Read more
Before we begin, I would like to make it clear that I have not received any of the near-legendary “Brocholates” sent out to journalists and trendsetters by the Caithness Broch Project, and therefore any sentiments expressed are entirely my own, uninfluenced by heritage-based confectionery.
First published in The National, 6 September 2016Read more
David Cameron – remember him? – talked a lot about the Big Society. Communities would come together and rebuild society from the ground up, the role of the State would diminish, and we’d see the dawning of a new, co-operative age, with ginger beer and currant buns for all.
First published in The National, 25 October 2016Read more