Representing ourselves in the world

The first British diplomat that I met was Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Paraguay who was rejoicing at the “re-election” as President for the 8th time of General Adolfo Stroessner and praising his “free-market zeal.” Stroessner was of course a brutal dictator and notorious for providing refuge to Nazi war criminals, and his free-market zeal was largely centred on smuggling. Paraguay in the 1980s was officially a huge consumer of Scotch whisky amongst other things. The Ambassador lamented that Thatcher could not be persuaded to fly in for a visit. Continue reading

Beyond the debate and towards a vision for Scotland

We have won the first phase, Scotland can be a successful independent country. Even David Cameron says so, though Alastair Darling can’t bring himself to admit it. The challenge in the next six weeks is to articulate what we can do with that to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country. Continue reading

How can we help the people of Gaza?

How can we help the people of Gaza? There is a humanitarian and medical catastrophe which the UNRWA and others are seeking to respond to. But this is the third war to have targeted the civilians of Gaza in the last 6 years. The killing of civilians, the killing of over 300 children, the deliberate collective punishment are war crimes. And the only way to stop the whole bloody cycle coming around again is to make some progress on bringing those responsible to justice. Continue reading

The morality of Michael Ignatieff

My first reaction when I saw the gleeful tweets of unionists about the Michael Ignatieff article on separatism as a moral sin was to ignore it. As someone who has worked in international human rights for 25 years I have never had a lot of time for Ignatieff. He supported the war in Iraq and tried to construct a human rights argument for military adventurism and torture. Continue reading

The road to federalism?

Lets welcome Murdo Fraser coming out in favour of federalism and the sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament. Lets put to one side the absurdity of Ed Miliband wooing anybody. Lets consider for a moment what a progressive case for reforming the UK to make it more attractive for Scotland to remain might be. Continue reading

Barking illiberalism and the right to protest

I was in two minds about whether to join the anti-UKIP protest this evening in Edinburgh. On the one hand I wanted an opportunity to express my revulsion for Nigel Farage’s racist populism and the way it has been puffed up by the media. On the other hand I am conscious of how the anti-independence media distorted the coverage of the last protest, ludicrously claiming it was anti-English, even as they interviewed one of the English organisers.

And then I saw Willie Rennie’s offensive and illiberal comments in The Herald. Continue reading

Warning, blow, Cataclysm

(I may have taken the invitation to submit a Referendum Rant too literally)

The Better Together Lament

Warning, blow, Cataclysm

volatile with oil

Too wee, Too poor, Too stupid

lance the indy boil


Warning, blow, Cataclysm

Salmond’s self-obsession

Dambusters and Project Fear

Cybernat aggression Continue reading

Smears and fake outrage dishonours Putin’s victims

I started the week thinking that the manufactured furore about Alex Salmond’s remarks on Putin was a storm in a tea-cup best ignored. However, the desperate attempts of the unionist parties, the BBC and the right wing press to smear Salmond and divert attention from their failing campaign has reached a level of absurdity that is so disrespectful to the rights of people in Ukraine and Russia that I feel compelled to respond. Continue reading

Cameron to fall on his sword?

According to Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph:

David Cameron will resign if he loses Scotland. A Prime Minister who allows the break-up of the United Kingdom cannot suffer such a statement of no confidence and continue in office.”

I doubt that Cameron will fall on his sword following the Yes vote. I doubt that most Conservative MPs will want him to. Continue reading

Family ties?

Menzies Campbell is probably trying to “inject the love” when he writes about how he will vote No in September because he loves Scotland, but the unionists really need to understand how offensive it is to many people to talk about giving up “family ties.” Two of my three children live in England. I will be giving up no family ties when I vote Yes. I will be voting at least in part for my children. Continue reading