This time last week, we woke to horrific news from Christchurch. Since then people have come together to express shared revulsion at the actions of the white supremacist terrorist, and concern for the bereaved and injured in New Zealand. I’ve also been inspired by New Zealand’s wider response – they are recommitting to the values of their inclusive society, refusing to placate the far right, and taking urgent action on gun control.
Writing about the turbulent UK political landscape is tricky these days, given that almost anything could be out of date in a matter of hours. How many MPs will be sitting with the new Independent Group by the time this column goes to print?
“The government believes, fundamentally, we have got to have an efficient public rail network that meets the needs of individuals within Scotland, that acts in the public interest, that delivers the services that members of the public are looking for.” So said the Deputy First Minister in answer to my questions yesterday, while he was standing in for the First Minister at FMQs.
The world’s “elite” gathered in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, with environmental challenges, including a failure to mitigate climate change at the top of their list of dangers facing the global economy.
Without a hint of irony politicians, economists and an assortment of other very rich people arrived at the Swiss ski resort carried by a flock of about 1,500 private jets.
Back in 2016, few people could have predicted quite how chaotic the Brexit crisis would become.
But it’s not only a crisis in parliamentary debating chambers and government institutions. The toxic values which have been cultivated and unleashed by the Brexit cause have been spilling out in far more public ways, and this week many people began to take notice.
Derek Mackay has unveiled his tax and spending plans for next year. For a minority Government, that’s only half the story. He must now find a way of securing the consent of at least one other party for the budget to pass at Holyrood.
The First Minister was in Katowice this week at the latest round of international climate talks, where she warned against climate complacency and spoke of increasing Scotland’s ambition in response to the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Of all the unedifying moments there’ve been over the past two years since the Brexit vote, this week’s macabre spectacle of the Prime Minister working her way round the UK trying to sell her dead duck of a Withdrawal deal is surely a new low.
After months of build-up, we finally have a deal. And what a thing of beauty it is. This monumental act of self-harm is making almost everyone unhappy. From the Brextremists of the Rees-Mogg tendency, and the arch-unionists of the DUP, right through to ardent Remain supporters and the independence movement in Scotland.
The reaction to the deal is telling. Labour’s priority is to agitate for an election, yet we know from opinion polls they have failed to land a blow on this hapless Tory government, so the great Corbyn victory they are hoping for looks as distant as ever.
Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens’ co-convener, explains why he wears the white poppy and issues a challenge to the Scottish Government and the Royal British Legion to end their relationship with weapons manufacturers.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, I want to say something not only about why I choose to wear a white poppy and what this means, but also about what we would lose if remembrance ceases to be a shared moment between people whose values are different.