Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Welcome to An Independent View. This is my first of hopefully many blogs, reflecting on Scotland, my ideas, activities and the future.
It is being launched as I seek nomination to become a Scottish Parliamentary candidate in Kirkcaldy, for the Scottish National Party. I will find out my fate in a few weeks time, but I hope this blog continues well beyond any campaign period as I discuss issues I think are important for our future.
I suppose I should briefly introduce myself. I have been active in the pursuit of Scottish Independence for over 50 years as a member of the SNP. I have had many roles in the party, but like most members I am not a career politician. I do have a life beyond Scottish politics.
Much of my life has been spent conducting research, providing advice to governments in different parts of the world on a wide range of areas, but most often in relation to higher education, economic and social issues and what is called "capacity building" .....a fancy term for helping societies develop, become resilient and able to manage themselves effectively.
In Scotland, I have had a strong focus on research and consultancy work related to education and the college sector in particular; and more recently into areas of economic and business opportunities for Scotland.
I am also involved in humanitarian issues related to the needs of innocent victims of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). I won't dwell on this here as a colleague has kindly agreed to be a guest blogger on the topic in the coming weeks.
As an Honorary Professor at Stirling University I have been involved over many years in teaching a range of subjects to post graduate students and undertaking reviews of proposed research programmes. I used to teach at the Open University too.
My diverse background I found very beneficial when I was the SNP MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath from 2015 to 2017. I was a particularly active member of the group of SNP MPs speaking regularly on a wide range of topics and leading parliamentary campaigns on areas of concern, such as the need to clean up the financial system.
Over the next few weeks I aim, as you might expect, to reflect on a wide range of issues. Some will be clearly of current interest, others will take on a longer term view. All will honestly reflect where I stand on issues of importance.
My next blog will tackle the issue of democracy and Scotland, but from a different angle from mainstream political punditry. I had better get on with writing it. See you soon.