Kezia Dugdale caused voting stooshie in Holyrood but it's her backing for Owen Smith that's the real issue

KEZIA Dugdale got into a kerfuffle when she apparently failed to vote last week in Parliament.

Who knows whether she actually pressed the electronic voting button?

She insists she did but as with all touch screen devices, it’s best to double check.

The politically neutral Parliament authorities, who in my experience are sticklers for correct procedure, insist she didn’t.

Kezia’s inadvertent abstention resulted in Labour losing a vote they expected to win by allying with the Tories.

“Somebody’s for it tonight,” SNP MSPs jokingly taunted as we filed out of the chamber, laughing at our opponents instead of licking our wounds.

Read more

Unionists need to get tough with the trolls - it's not ok to abuse anyone who doesn't share their UK views

IT WAS a happy, innocent picture.

Three kids, in blue T-shirts each emblazoned with a single letter that spelled out the word YES.

I knew their parents and granny, whose idea it was to make the T-shirts two years ago.

The mums jokingly called them yeslings – they were very cute. So when invited into a photograph with them at the weekend, I didn’t think twice. Selfies and politics go together like tea and toast these days.

I posted the picture on the social networking site Twitter. Then came the outpouring of bile.

“This is like Hitler Youth” screamed trolls, working themselves into a frenzy of hate. My timeline was sullied with image after image of Nazis and swastikas. “Where is your brown shirt?” said one.

Read more

Big transport and infrastructure projects show SNP is more than 'getting on with the job'

GETTING on with the day job can be a pain in the neck.

That’s my thought as I navigate the morass of motorway lane closures on the M8, M74 and M73.

Drone footage released earlier this month showed the scale of the roadworks, though if you – like me – have crawled along those contraflows, you probably don’t need an aerial view.

But this is pain for gain. The £500million upgrade to the central motorway will make journeys shorter and answer calls, going back decades, to upgrade the essential Glasgow – Edinburgh road link.

It’s a good example of the SNP Government doing exactly what their British nationalist Tory opponents call “getting on with the day job”. 

Read more

Theresa May cannot ignore the warnings of business and international allies on Brexit disaster

THERESA May tried to put on a brave post Brexit face this weekend

But there’s unease in the east and it will follow her home from the G20 Summit.

The biggest blow was a 15-page warning from Japan that Brexit could hit its investment in the UK - unless access to the European Single Market is maintained.

Japanese car companies such as Toyota and Nissan came to the UK because they got access to the 500 million consumers in the EU’s “single market”, the biggest in the world.

Read more

Brexiteers claiming credit for Team GB medal haul proves how delusional they are

THERE is a huge difference between self-belief and self-delusion.

Self belief turns a naturally gifted, well supported and hard working athlete into a medal winner.

Self-delusion is what the loony fringe of British nationalists show when they attribute GB medal success to Brexit.

The European referendum result came as a surprise to everyone – including the leaders of the Leave campaign. Yet the bonkers faction of Brexiteers want us to believe that it somehow put a rocket under the UK team in Rio.

Read more

Owen Smith has the blood of the NHS on his hands

The Tories have a secret agenda to “break up, denationalise and privatise the NHS”.

So says Owen Smith, the hitherto unknown MP who wants to fill Jeremy Corbyn’s sandals as Labour leader.

That’s exactly what the Yes campaign said two years ago in the independence referendum.

Consultant breast surgeon Philippa Whitford, now an SNP MP, warned the restructuring of the English NHS would makeprivatisation and break-up easier.

She explained that while the NHS in Scotland was protected, reductions in funding in England would have a knock-on effect here.

Read more

Scottish Secretary unable to defend our interests following Brexit disaster

THE Secretary of State for Scotland is supposed to be our voice at the heart of the UK Government.

But for a long time he has really been the Tory Government’s chief propagandist in Scotland, a country that has overwhelmingly rejected Conservative policies.

The Scottish Secretary has an entire government department and £50million of our taxpayers money to spread the Tory message. It should be used to advance Scotland’s cause.

David Mundell, Scotland’s only Tory MP and the current Scottish Secretary, was not invited on to Theresa May’s task force aimed at stimulating the economy post-Brexit…this is despite a recent report by the respected Fraser of Allander Institute suggesting Scotland’s economy will take a big hit.

Read more

Scottish Six can work and critics need to get with the programme

SCOTLAND'S ultra unionist Tories looked a bit foolish when they sneered at plans for a “Scottish Six” news programme.

A parliamentary committee at Westminster, dominated by their own Tory colleagues, said the time had come for a TV news show that combined Scottish, International and UK news. And critically, they said it should all be edited from Scotland.

The Culture Media and Sport Committee stated the obvious when it pointed out that there was enough content to fill the show after 17 years of devolution.

But a sour statement from the Scottish Tories suggested this would be seen by the SNP as a chance to “shove propaganda down the throats of a dinner-time viewing public north of the border.”

That statement is wrong on so many levels.

Read more

Brussels is quick to spout apathy for Brexit Britain

BRUSSELS is already turning its back on Britain. That was my impression when I visited the EU centre of operations last week.

There’s little mood for compromise – or even conversation, a month after the referendum vote. Britain is already outside the club.

European institutions don’t want to talk to anyone associated with the UK Government . It could be considered a “pre-negotiation”.

That is why we need to make some big decisions quickly.

Read more

When terrorists can turn vehicles into weapons then no preparation can save the innocents

IN Glasgow at the weekend, I watched a couple walk down the busy pavement with a very young girl, aged perhaps three.

She wore multi-coloured wellies, a cute yellow anorak and hair in bunches of curls.

She was loving every second of life, as kids that age do.

She pointed, she laughed, she stretched out her arms for dad to pick her up.

She was so tiny and vulnerable, and so full of promise.

Read more

Theresa May will show Thatcher-like military might as she asks government to back £205bn nuclear weapons

DON’T be fooled by those heels. There is nothing kittenish about Theresa May .

Comparing Mrs May with Mrs Thatcher is wrong, of course. Just because they both happen to be female ... and Tory ... and Prime Minister of a deeply divided country.

Those similarities are entirely coincidental. I don’t think.

Theresa May shares Margaret Thatcher’s authoritarian streak. They say she is “flinty”. In fact, she is diamond hard.

Read more

No wonder the young feel betrayed by Leave vote ... they may see chances of living abroad denied

SINCE my daughter went to study in Delft, our family have done wonders for the pretty Dutch town’s tourist industry.

I’ve visited twice, as has her father and his partner. So too has granny, auntie, sister and countless pals.

We had a great time and Delft’s hotels, restaurants, museums and gift shops were all the better for it.

I can particularly recommend the cheese, local porcelain and Vermeer museum.

Read more

We must accept that Brexit makes another independence referendum almost inevitable

WHEN the history of Scotland’s journey towards full independence is written, BBC Question Time will surely merit more than a paragraph.

A special post-Brexit edition of the programme definitely won a few more fans for indyref2.

When Alex Salmond pointed out the democratic abomination of Scotland voting Remain then being dragged out of Europe, he was shouted down.

Tory, Ukip and other Brexiteer panellists joined Birmingham audience members to ridicule this point. 

Scotland was “part of the UK” and would just have to lump it.

Read more

Brussels' power has nothing on London's grip over Scotland

THIS is a tale of two ­referendums. There are some similarities in the campaign lines that make Yes voters like me want to hide under the duvet.

Remain’s threats of raised prices, slashed public spending and social collapse are too reminiscent of the campaign against ­Scottish ­independence run by Labour and financed by the Tories in 2014.

But I will still vote Remain because the Leave side is so much worse.

Read more

In the wake of the Orlando shootings, only true equality can bring an end to hate

HOMOPHOBIA is a difficult word. It means, quite literally, “fear” of homosexuality.

But the person who murdered 49 innocent people and injured many more in that Orlando nightclub was not afraid. He was full of hate.

Homophobic is, however, the best term we have to describe the violent, bigoted, angry man who killed so many this weekend.

The scale of Orlando is appalling, as it was in Paris and all the other terrorist atrocities. Orlando was different in that it deliberately targeted gay people – it was a terrorist and a homophobic attack.

So the expressions of solidarity are important – the rainbow flag flying half mast on Scottish Government buildings , candlelit vigils, the silence observed by MSPs in parliament yesterday. Scotland and the world are standing in solidarity.

Read more

Keep calm and trust Tam Baillie - not the Tories - over the Named Person legislation

KEEP calm and listen to Tam. As Holyrood debates the Named Person legislation today, that’s my advice to anyone worried by some of the more ludicrous stories put out by the right-wing press.

Tam Baillie is Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.

He is politically neutral and therefore a source of sound advice on a topic which the Tories and their cheerleaders have misrepresented to a reckless extent.

So before we go any further, state snoopers will not be questioning the colour of your child’s bedroom wallpaper.

Nor will you be in the pokey for feeding them the occasional poke of chips.

Read more

Boris Johnson is the great white shark of the post-EU referendum feeding frenzy

THERE'S a funny game on the internet site Buzzfeed where you “make up your own EU scare story.”

The anti-Brexit options are by far the most bizarre.

If we vote leave, the only legal holiday will be caravanning in Wales, ISIS will occupy the Isle of Wight and pasta will be off the menu.

Oh, and Boris Johnson will be PM.

The last one is no joke, unfortunately.

Read more

WASPI warriors won't be ordered to buzz off

AS monstrous regiments go they make an awesome army.

And witnessing the formation of one of their many battalions was a highlight of my local election campaign.

I’m talking about Waspi –Women Against State Pension Injustice. These are ladies born in the 50s whose retirement age was hiked up with very little warning.

You’ll hear a lot about them in the next few weeks as they march towards their mass day of action on June 29. You can read more about the campaign at

Read more

Tories now bring up independence at every opportunity to hide their own failings

WHEN are the Tories going to shut up about independence?

It is they, not the SNP, who cannot “move on” from 2014.

After an election campaign in which they talked of little else, they seem set to stay in the same groove throughout the new parliament.

Like infatuated teenagers who just cannot help themselves, they have this huge crush on the constitution that comes spewing out each time they open their mouths.

Read more

There is no denying it ... The bloody business of tax dodging costs lives

THE Panama papers scandal is no victimless crime. One in nine people in the world go to bed hungry every night.

Sifting taxes – which could be used to alleviate the poverty of those whose exploitation often generates the wealth in the first place – is more than a whodunnit of international finance. It is a crime of violence.

Failure to pay trillions of pounds worth of tax is a bloody business that costs lives. And the losers are the majority.

Read more