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The rules of the game 429

Posted on April 01, 2021 by

I’m already sick of all this rubbish about “gaming the system”.

When Labour set up the Scottish Parliament in 1999 they could have expected eternal rule if they’d based it on First Past The Post like the UK Parliament, but the Lib Dems insisted on PR as their price for co-operation and the appearance of consensus.

So between them they put together the AMS system (although virtually any PR system would probably have done much the same thing) which would ensure, they believed, that the SNP would never hold power alone, and would therefore never be able to use the parliament as a vehicle to deliver independence.

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To the National Secretary 382

Posted on March 31, 2021 by

Dear Secretary,

I have supported independence for Scotland for as long as I can remember. I was never a party political animal, but immediately after the 1992 general election – that of the failed “Free by ’93” slogan – I joined the SNP since it was the only independence movement we had and I wanted to do something, anything, to help.

I was then living in the south of England and so joined London Branch. I served on the executive committee of that branch in various capacities for a number of years, was a conference delegate and spoke at both conference and national assembly. I also used holiday entitlement to travel to Scotland to help with several election campaigns.

When I returned home to Scotland I joined Tweeddale Branch and again served on the executive committee, for a time as vice-convener. I took part in a great deal of campaigning both for elections and for the independence referendum, and in fact made myself ill during the summer of 2014, so hard was I working for a Yes vote. I also stood as the SNP candidate in the Tweeddale West council by-election in 2013.

During the first 25 years of my membership I made many friends and had many wonderful experiences. I never imagined for a moment that I would leave the party before independence day.

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The mushroom farm 162

Posted on April 12, 2014 by

Have you seen the film of the coronation? I’m not talking about the grand televised extravaganza in Westminster Abbey with the young Queen Elizabeth done up like a wedding cake – I mean the Scottish coronation, in Edinburgh, three weeks after the glamorous London ceremony of 2 June 1953.

It’s not easy to locate. You’ll struggle to find a picture of it, or even a documented reference – a brief casual mention squeezed in right at the end of this article on the monarchical website is the best we could do.


Acting on the advice of her ministers, Elizabeth attended the ceremony dressed in an ordinary coat and hat. The honours of Scotland were presented to her, and she held them as if they were volatile explosive devices, standing stock-still until they were taken back again by be-gowned flunkies. 

There would be no actual official crowning. It might give the natives ideas.

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Luggage and lies 147

Posted on December 20, 2013 by

On 20 May 2012 this site ran a headline which read BREAKING: Lockerbie bomber still alive”. That was of course the day it was announced that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had died of prostate cancer. Even I did a double-take before the penny dropped.


The attached story was a mere 17 words long, but going by the links the assertion that Megrahi was not in fact the ‘Lockerbie bomber’ seemed to draw on three sources: the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission had found six grounds to believe the conviction might have been a miscarriage of justice; a documentary by Al-Jazeera based on investigations by George Thomson (a private detective who’d worked for Megrahi’s defence team); and a review article by English solicitor Gareth Peirce.

All good sources, but I had better reasons for believing that Megrahi was innocent.

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Adequately explained by stupidity? 250

Posted on January 03, 2013 by

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie should be commended for starting 2013 with a legitimate request rather than a party-political attack. The Herald today reports his renewed call for a public inquiry into the events of the Lockerbie disaster.

The call was prompted by the new Libyan government’s pledge to release documents relating to the incident “as soon as time, security and stability permitted”. But what will such documents reveal beyond what we already know?

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A letter to the Herald 56

Posted on December 19, 2012 by

21st November 2012

Dear Sir,

The Herald was the daily newspaper in our house when I was a child. My parents took both it and the Evening Times. When I started to outgrow the Bunty I eschewed the Jackie and its like and graduated straight to the newspapers. My father cancelled his Evening Times subscription when I was coming up to my Highers because he thought reading two newspapers every evening was interfering with my homework.

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