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.
What does a “domestic extremist” look like? Someone wearing a red baseball cap emblazoned with slogans claiming to make their country “great again”? A far-right thug who uses the threat of violence in an attempt to intimidate anyone who looks different from them? Or members of a community peacefully waving home-made placards, campaigning to protect themselves from pollution?
This week’s return to business for the Scottish Parliament was an opportunity to address the hopes of people in every community across the country. Making Scotland a fairer, progressive, more democratic country is something there’s broad agreement on but it’s an agenda that has needs a far bolder approach at Holyrood.
I’m reminded of the very blunt response given by a Swedish commentator when author and National columnist Lesley Riddoch explained the convoluted and remote way that local services are currently funded in Scotland: “Don’t you trust yourselves?”
My summer holiday this year began with one last work commitment – I had accepted an invitation to speak at the Féile an Phobail – the West Belfast Festival – about independence, Brexit, and the connections between the Irish and Scottish situations in this unprecedented context. It’s pretty unarguable that both countries’ interests are being trampled on by the UK Government’s reckless approach.
This summer’s weather has been extraordinary, not just in Scotland but around the world. It has been accompanied by the usual slew of online articles about how to get to sleep in the warm weather (has anyone actually managed to fit a pillow in the freezer?) and the importance of staying hydrated.
But as the heat has continued, the advice has moved from not leaving dogs in hot cars to warnings about water levels running low in reservoirs and the two words guaranteed to strike fear into suburbia – “hosepipe ban”.
Amid the hubbub of a cabinet reshuffle, a minister-in-waiting scandal and a shelved education bill, the growing threat facing Scotland’s environment has been somewhat overlooked this week.
Powers relating to most environmental matters, such as air quality, water, energy, food and farming are devolved to Scotland. To date, these powers have been used in the context of UK membership of the EU.
If the SNP’s Growth Commission was supposed to do anything, it was to provoke debate. Debate is certainly needed about a new proposition for independence, because the one thing every 2014 Yes voter should be able to agree on is that what we don’t need is simply a re-run of an argument that failed to win a majority then, in circumstances which have already changed dramatically. That would be a recipe for a second and perhaps even final defeat.