A fantastic thing about the Six Nations rugby championship is the all-pervading sense of intense yet immensely friendly rivalry. That friendly rivalry is felt most keenly at the Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England.
In my youth, supporting Scotland in the Five Nations, it seemed a bit of fun to support any team – yes, any team - playing against England. As I started to see and understand more of the world, that pettiness wore off. But I still sang Flower of Scotland proudly, without thinking too much about it.
Of course, I hope that Scotland triumph at Twickenham this year. But I find myself increasingly turned off by Flower of Scotland.
by Graeme Pearson
After nearly 40 years in the police, countless interviews and court cases, I reckon I am fair judge at spotting the gap between what people say and what is the truth.
In many ways, it was perfect training for my time in politics. I thought I had seen it all when it came to stretching the truth until the Scottish referendum.
You can see why Alex Salmond and Donald Trump once hit it off. Neither man lets facts or reality get in the way of their political project. On currency, the economy, oil prices, Salmond was prepared to say anything to get his way in 2014.
Clearly, he taught his deputy well. Since the decision to leave the EU last year, the gap between Nicola Sturgeon’s rhetoric and reality is getting wider.
Why are the SNP so bad at running the country?
By Alastair Cameron, Scotland in Union
Nicola Sturgeon asked us to judge her on her education record. The verdict arrived this week from independent assessors, PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) and it wasn’t good.
St. Andrews Day is quite obviously Scotland’s national day; it is in honour of the country’s patron saint and as such, it is a day for people to commemorate in the manner they feel to be appropriate, with music, food, and dance. It also marks the beginning of late fall and early winter festivals in Scotland, including Hogmanay and Burns Night.
Some places are more fortunate than others. We are lucky to live in a safe and prosperous country, and should do what we can to help others. However, we also have to recognise that our own resources are not infinite, and that is why we must make sure that our contributions are as effective as possible.
The SNP have recently pledged a great deal of money for climate change and flood aid. Whilst this makes for good headlines, there could be better ways to help. By working with the UK departments set up to promote international development, the nationalists could ensure that they are not just giving away money for others to spend, but actually making a difference on the ground.Read more
We are all concerned about the future of our planet. Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have undoubtedly risen above those of the pre-industrial era, and global temperatures also appear to be on an upward trend.
However, we are also lucky to live in a time when these problems can be recognised and addressed. For example, food crops can be modified to better withstand drought or pests, which allows vulnerable people to have more food security while at the same time reducing our impact on the environment. Fewer people go hungry than ever before.Read more
Referendums are held up as the gold standard of democracy. After a state regulated and funded campaign, the people make a decision, which government then honours. But referendums can go toxic: two different pathologies can produce anti-democratic outcomes. The Brexit referendum suffered from both, but paradoxically it opens up opportunities for quite radical changes to the UK's territorial constitution. So Scotland has the chance to avoid compounding the UK's errors with another potentially toxic vote, and instead it and the UK can settle on a constitution that most Scots can assent to. This paper suggests what such a deal might look like if political leaders had the courage to make one.Read more
In declaring that Article 50 will be invoked before the end of March 2017 the Prime Minister has given the Eurocrats a need to negotiate a deal with the UK by early 2019. There should be no doubt, however angered Eurocrats may feel about the outcome of our referendum, some European members would invite the wrath of their people if they permitted the UK to exit at the expense of their trade with the UK and our Commonwealth partners.Read more
Scotland in Union has now reached 31 campaign stops as our tour of Scotland’s 32 council areas draws to a close, with only the Western Isles still to be visited by our Campaigns Manager Andrew Skinner.
The Land of the Neverendum - How Quebec lost its way, by Peter Scowen
In 1960, Montreal was Canada’s most vibrant city. Once the seat of the Canadian Parliament, it was the country’s first metropolis and its economic engine during the fur-trade boom of the 18th and 19th centuries. The wealthy industrial barons who built the railway that would connect the east coast to the west lived and worked there. Most of the country’s oldest and most storied companies were headquartered in the downtown neighbourhood that sits elegantly between Mount Royaland the St. Lawrence River.
The 1950s in particular had been a period of rapid growth and new development, and the good years just kept coming. In the summer of1967, Montreal hosted a world’s fair that drew more than 50-millionvisitors. Nine years later, the city would host the Summer Olympics - the only Canadian city to ever do so.
Fifty years later, Montreal is a shadow of its former self. Its economic growth stalled in the late 1970s and has never recovered. Today it ranks a distant second to Toronto in population and economic power.Read more
By Alastair Cameron, director of Scotland in Union (Published in the Herald Scotland - 03/09/2016)
A friend posed a reasonable question the other day: if it was shown one day in the future that Scotland would be economically better off as an independent country, would I support it?
With oil prices low, the Barnett Formula secure and the economy seemingly down the Holyrood priority list, this prospect seems pretty far off, if not impossible.
I couldn’t see myself supporting independence even in those circumstances. For me, the UK is about something deeper; it is about neighbouring nations working together in a common interest, solidarity with people beyond borders and a respect for the different layers of identity.
When those of us on the pro-UK side warned of the profound consequences to Scottish independence in the run up to the 2014 referendum, we were dismissed as being part of ‘Project Fear’.Read more
Scotland in Union supporter Martin Redfern asks the question: where next?Read more
By Professor Hugh Pennington
The first President of Eire, Douglas Hyde, summarised it nicely when commenting on the exaggerated anglophobia of the Irish, that there is a hibernian habit of denouncing England while imitating everything English. The SNP is the same.Read more
Scotland’s NHS deserves better than being used as another excuse for nationalism, argues a Scotland in Union contributor
A new survey by Swedish think tank Health Consumer Powerhouse shows that the NHS in Scotland – like its counterpart in England – is lagging behind most other western European health services.Read more
Alex Salmond’s preface to the Scottish Government’s White Paper ‘Scotland’s Future’ nominated March 24th as Independence Day.
The 649 page document attempted to predict the changes that independence would bring. There would be full fiscal autonomy. The Barnett formula – from which Scotland has benefitted enormously for almost 40 years– would be history.Read more
In this article, a version of which was first published in Highland Perthshire Comment in 2013, Aberfeldy resident and Gaelic historian Richard Devéria argues that Scottish attributes have contributed significantly to the emergence of British values, and he calls for Scotland to uphold her identity within the Union.Read more
If Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney had got their way, Scotland would be preparing to become an independent country on March 24th.Read more
Information or misinformation? Some thoughts from Scotland in Union supporter Keith Howell.Read more
SIU supporter David Bone is no fan of nationalism. Here are his reasons why.Read more