Scottish Review: I Have a close look at this photograph. We have not published it until now. The photograph was taken at 4.30pm on 3 December 2013 at Prestwick beach in Ayrshire. Alex Salmond: a solitary man, a singular vision Like all the lonely people, Alex Salmond's solitude only really becomes apparent when he is surrounded by others. On Friday he embarked on a helicopter tour of Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Perth, a bewildering eight-hour dash around the citadels of his beloved north-east Scotland. He was the home-town boy entering the home stretch of a race he has been running for 40 years. Everywhere he went he was treated like a champion, their champion, receiving some last-minute encouragement from his "ain folk" before turning to face the eternal and malign foe. But it is in these circumstances, surrounded by love, in which his loneliness is at its most acute. It is not a desolate loneliness such as those who feel abandoned and alienated and forgotten might experience.
Alex Salmond's Hugo Young lecture – full text Introduction It is a privilege to give a lecture in honour of Hugo Young. At Hugo's memorial service, Chris, now Lord, Patten said "the quality of what Hugo wrote, and the standards he set for himself and others, brought distinction to a profession too often demeaned by tawdry unreason." One of the reasons for Hugo's excellence became evident five years after his death, when The Hugo Young Papers were first published. They revealed the sheer diligence and accuracy of his working methods over the course of his career.
Better Nation Welcome to Better Nation, our Scottish blog, built on four things its editors share: a love of ideas, an essential optimism, an anoraky obsession with politics, and a particular interest in the nation of Scotland – as it has been, as it stands now, and its future prospects. The title comes from Dennis Lee, famously quoted by Alasdair Gray (and attributed to Gray on the walls of Holyrood itself): “Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation”. We believe devolution has been a pretty successful endeavour thus far, but that the current constitutional arrangements are unlikely to be the final settled will of the Scottish people. As a result, it is already a better nation than it was when the Vigil camped out under Calton Hill, but even the most cursory glance around Scotland shows continued poverty, movement away from sustainability, a business sector hardly thriving, a nervous public sector, stretched voluntary organisations and shortcomings in our democracy.
The referendum campaign's not toxic, but intoxicating Fewer than 100 sunsets now until dawn breaks on Scotland's fateful day and the campaign has just become reassuringly and pleasingly poisonous. It has been a rather splendid couple of weeks in the independence referendum campaign. If this sort of momentum and tone are maintained for the next 93 days, I shall be sorry to see 18 September come and go. Indeed, I'm almost tempted to urge a no vote so that we can gather together the circus, strike up the band and do it all over again. The campaign hasn't got toxic at all; rather, it has become intoxicating. We first had Gordon Brown galumphing around Scotland, purporting to love the country in ways that were not apparent during his wretched time in office at Westminster.
History of the SNP It was not only the SNP who found this period difficult. The imposition of Tory policies by a government who had not been elected by the Scottish people was widely seen as constituting a democratic deficit, which had to be addressed. Towards the end of the decade the party underwent a revival, gaining 20% of the vote at the District Council elections in 1988. The same year the Party Conference passed a number of important policy decisions, committing themselves to the use of civil disobedience to defy the poll tax and endorsing the policy of Independence in Europe. The following November the party scored an electrifying victory when Jim Sillars, formerly a Labour MP and vigorous opponent of independence, won the Glasgow Govan by-election, overturning a Labour majority of 19,000 and re-igniting the Scottish constitutional debate.
Go Lassie Go I am fortunate in having a gorgeous teenage daughter, but Eleanor and I don't always agree. I am obsessed with Scotland's future. Her preoccupations are musical theatre, boys who look like Justin Bieber and the quest for the perfect black eyeliner. Despite these differences, (though we do share some common ground on the eyeliner issue), Ellie has developed a serene accomodation with her mother's politics, smiling through numerous meetings over the last couple of years. Scottish referendum: why Chomsky's yes is more interesting than Bowie's no 'My intuition favours independence,' Chomsky told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Photograph: Graeme Robertson It wasn't only the anarcho-syndicalists who got excited. In lending his support to Scottish independence, Noam Chomsky generated a palpable buzz among yes activists: "Noam" even started to trend among Glasgow's twitterati.
Why we must save universal benefits Sunday, 07 October 2012 13:24 By First Minister Alex Salmond Scotland is the only "something for nothing" country in the world, according to Scottish Labour's leadership. That claim is palpably ludicrous, and will be looked at askance by people the length and breadth of this country who work hard, pay their taxes and, quite rightly, expect to receive something tangible in return. Devolution has enshrined the concept of a social contract between the people of Scotland and the Government which serves them. Spinning around There’s only one story in the Scottish political media today. The explosive contents of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey have been seized on with glee by the SNP, leaving the Unionist camp in desperate damage-limitation mode. The news – first broken by the Express – that a whopping 65% of Scottish voters only need to be convinced that independence will benefit them by around £9 a week in order to vote for it has sent Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems into something of a panic, and it’s fascinating to watch both they and the predominantly-Unionist media try to spin it. Tory Hoose takes the “we see no ships” angle, announcing that the SNP’s natural welcoming of the poll results is “hysterical grandstanding”, while rolling out David McLetchie to pick out a different section of the results and claim that “This is just one of the many polls that shows support for independence is still relatively low.”
More power to Glasgow's online journalists To those who know about these things, the signs and symbols that recently began to appear buried deep beneath the streets of Glasgow were unmistakable: the cybernats are coming to get us and our children are in peril. It was these fears presumably that must have informed the decision of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to outlaw a series of unique and paid-for adverts by the nationalist website Wings Over Scotland: "There are 37 national or daily newspapers in Scotland. Just five of them are owned in Scotland. None of the 37 supports independence. Wouldn't you at least like to hear both sides of the story?" It was bold, imaginative, thought-provoking and sought to address a democratic deficit in the pattern of newspaper ownership in Scotland.