Thursday, 29 May 2008

Bread, Butter and Independence

I've written a new article for this month's destiNation on 'bread and butter' issues and independence.

You can check it out via the link below:

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Eurovision humiliation

Yes, I confess - I watched the Eurovision song contest last night! To be fair, I was combining this indulgence with a wardrobe clear out in preparation for our impending move.

Anyway, to call it a 'contest' would be a gross distortion of the word. Russia seemed to sweep up all the votes from neighbouring countries (for fear of having their oil and gas cut off suggested Terry Wogan - half in jest), while the UK received votes from only San Marino and the Republic of Ireland.

Now, avid readers of this blog will be well aware of my politics and how little I identify with the political entity that is the United Kingdom. But the reality is, when the UK was being hammered by a lack of votes last night, I didn't like it!


Well, firstly because the voting really didn't seem fair. Countries were voting for their neighbours, rather than judging each song and performance on merit. Of course, this has gone on for years, but last night it was more blatant than ever before.

Secondly, I think the guy who sang the UK's entry did an excellent job and the song wasn't half bad (especially compared to your average UK entry).

But there was another reason. Partly, it was because Scotland is still (but not for too much longer I hope!) part of the UK. So, I was being represented by that entry last night. But also because I do share a cultural identity with the other nations of the United Kingdom. I watched all the Scandanavian countries voting for each other last night with envy. They are independent nations with a great deal of goodwill towards their neighbours. I want that for Scotland. I want people in an independent Scotland to watch Eurovision and pick up the phone to vote for England or for Wales (but not to be too blatant in our favouritism for our neighbours of course...).

Yes, my point about Eurovision is very superficial, but I think it's indicative of a wider issue. The UK 'brand' is incredibly soiled. Other countries in Europe regard the UK as a state in the shadow of its imperialist past trying to recapture former 'glory', a warmonger in the Middle East and as anti-European. The UK hasn't exactly done a lot to endear itself to other European nations.

Independence would give the constituent parts of the UK an opportunity to present themselves in a more positive light in the international arena, to shake off the past mistakes from the 'union years' and to become a force for good on this planet.

Now, we wouldn't be doing all this JUST to win the Eurovision song contest - but it would be a bonus. I would love to see the Proclaimers win it for Scotland!

Monday, 19 May 2008


This month's issue of destiNation is now live:

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Exposing More Labour Hypocrisy

(In Cumbernauld with Jamie, local councillor Liz Irvine, SNP candidate for the European Parliament Anne McLaughlin and hard-working SNP activists)

We were out in Cumbernauld today, distributing a leaflet that exposed the hypocrisy of the local Labour MP over the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate. Rosemary McKenna has been making a big song and dance about campaigning against the abolition, despite having voted for this measure. Labour hypocrisy in action yet again.

In our local newspaper, Rosemary has attempted to deflect from her actions on the issue of the 10 pence tax rate by accusing me of possessing a ‘lack of knowledge of the parliamentary process’ and of issuing an ‘inaccurate’ statement.

What a novel approach for a Labour politician - attempt to patronise, mislead and generally bluster your way out of a situation.

Rosemary can try to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes in relation to her conduct over the abolition of 10 pence tax rate, but the fact of the matter is that she voted for this measure. The reality is that Rosemary’s actions as an MP are a matter of public record, and people can easily see for themselves how she has voted on each issue at Westminster. People don’t need to take my word for it; they can check out Rosemary’s record for themselves at websites such as – which lists how each MP has voted.

She may well have called for a review of the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate, but we wouldn’t need a review if she and her Labour colleagues hadn’t voted for the abolition of the 10 pence rate in the first place!

As for Labour’s so-called U-turn on the 10 pence rate, that is nothing more than a compensation con (to use an already well worn phrase in this whole debacle). Not everyone set to lose from the abolition of the 10 pence rate will be adequately compensated by Darling's panic tax break and there is no guarantee that the tax break will continue next year. Labour MPs like Rosemary have been boasting about their victory in bringing about this U-turn from the Westminster Government, but this is a move that will still leave more than a million low paid households comparatively worse off.

As for my Labour opponent at the next Westminster election (Rosemary's standing down), well a few weeks ago I challenged him to condemn Rosemary McKenna’s actions over the 10 pence tax scandal. He refused to comment, to either condemn or support Rosemary. Not only is it strange that somebody who is putting themselves forward for election doesn’t seem to have an opinion on a matter as important as this, but also that he didn’t take the opportunity to back Rosemary McKenna’s actions. His silence speaks volumes.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


It is now just a few short weeks until we move from Glasgow to Cumbernauld. I have packed only a single box of what I can only describe as things that make Jamie's eyes roll when I appear home with them - candles, decorative things and the like. And I've run out of bubble wrap already!

I always have an endless 'to do' list these days, and it's not going to change any time soon. As well as moving, I am working hard on our constituency campaign. There are always leaflets and surveys to design and get printed, workdays to organise, activists to mobilise, doors to knock, press releases to write, local events and branch meetings to attend.

The second issue of destiNation (check out the link on the right) is going live this weekend too, and so I've all the new articles to read as well as my own article and editorial to finish.

I'm the political education officer (sounds grand, doesn't it?) for my branch, and I put together a little magazine in that role. One due shortly...

Work is also really busy at the moment, but absolutely brilliant! So many exciting projects on the go there too.

Over the past year I have just become really really busy. Partly because of Jamie's election - I've found that being a politician's wife does make you busier in itself (although it would be difficult to put my finger on how or why exactly...). But also because I made the decision to stand for the SNP at the next Westminster election. Being a candidate really is a way of life. It's like having an extra job.

But this workload will be nothing compared to the task ahead of me if I am elected. This would merely be the warm-up! So no politics tonight folks, just a wee meander through my mundane observations about the practicalities of my life at the moment. I'm off to unwind for a bit and watch Heroes!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Independence - Bring It On!!!

Much like fellow SNP member, Richard (, I have also delayed posting on developments regarding an independence referendum.

However, my delay was for slightly different reasons than Richard has given. I was not waiting for the dust to settle or confusion to lift so that I could offer a better quality analysis of events. No - I think my hesitation has been more due to disbelief!

Who could have predicted such an astonishing U-turn from Wendy Alexander? This is the woman who has for years told us again and again that the people of Scotland did not deserve the right to choose their own future in a democratic referendum. For her, such an opportunity was a mere distraction from the 'real' issues. She subscribed to the patronising view that Labour - and the other unionist parties - were better placed than the people of Scotland to decide what was in our best interests.

Suddenly, in a cynical and desperate attempt to 'outflank' the SNP, she has given us exactly what we want. We want the people of Scotland to be given the chance to have their say on the future of this country, in a democratic referendum on independence. The people of this country have never had the opportunity to choose independence in such a vote, and it is long overdue.

And the difference between the Labour Party and the SNP on this issue is this...

Labour want to rule Scotland and prevent us from flourishing as an independent nation. Their sudden conversion to a referendum is not because they have discovered their democratic credentials - this is about political survival and self-interest. The SNP, on the other hand, understand it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to govern Scotland, and we want both to give people the information they need to make a decision about independence and to offer the opportunity to make that decision in a referendum. The SNP argues the case for independence, and also for our right to choose our own future.

In our manifesto, on which we were elected last May, we pledged to put a bill before the Scottish Parliament on an independence referendum following wide consultation with the people of Scotland. That's exactly what we are doing with our National Conversation. So, we will indeed put our referendum bill before the Scottish Parliament. And now, with Labour's support (well Labour in Scotland anyway) that bill will pass and a referendum will be held.

Labour are now committed to supporting a referendum. The fact that they will subsequently be going round the doors telling people to vote 'No' is another matter, and I can't wait to hear the shoddy and vacuous reasons they come up with for opposing independence. I think people are fed up of being told that we, as a country, are too small, too poor and too stupid to run our own affairs. They are starting to see through the lies they have been told by generations of unionist politicians, more interested in their London fortunes than the people of Scotland.

Of course, I am just speculating about Labour's position on the independence referendum itself. At the rate Wendy seems to change her mind, she may well be advocating independence by then too! Bring THAT on!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Day of Action!

I whirled round the constituency today, for the SNP's Day of Action across Scotland.

First Kilsyth, then Cumbernauld and then Kirkintilloch.

We were handing out the new 'Vision' leaflets, which outline the successes of the SNP's first year in Government and generally chatting to people in the town centres.
I must say, it is amazing to be standing talking to people about our RECORD in government. Before we were elected, I would so often have people say to me that all political parties are the same, and that they didn't think the SNP could run the country. And I always used to ask people to give us a chance, and allow us to show them that we could indeed do a good job on their behalf. And I think the SNP Government is repaying the trust that people across Scotland put in us when they cast their votes last May - many of whom were voting SNP for the first time.
But that's the first year in government over, and we must not spend too long dwelling on what we have been able to achieve so far. We have still so many goals to work towards - important work to be done in government using the powers that we currently have and campaigning for independence, to ensure that we have all the powers that we need here in Scotland to really start to transform our country for the better.

That's why I'll be out again tomorrow, chapping doors.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Impending anniversary

It's been a momentous year for the SNP and Scotland.

I won't list all the achievements of the SNP Government here. The list is just too long... ;o)

Plus, Alex Salmond covers it all well:

I'm heading out tomorrow morning for a veritable whistle-stop tour of the constituency I'm standing in, where I will be joining SNP members in handing out our new 'Vision' leaflets to local residents.

The last year has passed so quickly in many ways, yet so much has changed. And I really feel like we are on the verge of a real breakthrough in our journey to independence. Now, that's motivation for getting up early on a Saturday morning!