Showing posts with label Nicola Sturgeon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicola Sturgeon. Show all posts

Friday 31 March 2023

Nicola Sturgeon Leaves the Stage, February 2023

February 2023

The last day as first minister was an emotional farewell. 

Her final speech and end of era – definitely. As FM she won eight elections and was deputy FM before that under Alex Salmond. 

She’s been at the centre of Scottish politics for so long now, since the SNP victory in 2007.

She’s given a lifetime of service. Recently you could see there was a heaviness in his eyes  - and now its as if a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. 

Nicola faces press pack Photo Jane Barlow

There is this top image of her facing the all white male Press Pack (taken by photographer Jane Barlow) says it all. We need more women leaders. Nicola has always had many women in her cabinet, and fought against injustice, to protect our rights, invest in early learning, Baby boxes, mitigating Tory austerity.


Nicola had that rare quality of being a straight talker, and honest – and had the highest rating of any UK political leader – I trusted her. I feel sad to see her leave the stage, its very strange after her long stay in Bute house. 

She had weaknesses too, and was conservative with a small "c", The 2014 referendum was bruising. 

I took her photographs at Edinburgh book festival 2013. She was clearly less flamboyant or approachable than Alex Salmond, who had a large presences.She's a great reader and lover of books.

Sturgeon has impressed at Global events, such as the Global Women Leaders Summit held at Lake Como, Italy – with Hilary Clinton, Mary Robison, Helen Clark. And also the Georgetown Institute of Women, Peace and Security. 


She’s been there through the crisis of Brexit, which Scotland did not vote for and most of us feel very sad about. Many will remember her Daily Covid Briefings and steering us through the Covid pandemic. Thanks Nicola, we will miss you.

Nicola in Brussels


Tuesday 13 September 2022

Brian Cox at Edinburgh book festival 2022

“Its time to be free!”

Cox said that he’s an optimist!

Succession actor Brian cox chatted with Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon about his acting career and of his hopes for Scotland’s future independence And his new book The Rabbit in the Hat. .

He got his first thoughts of performing as a young boy, when he sang at a new year party at home and singing on a small stage. Later Cox went down to the London theatre stage, and was a character actor in film.


He said young actors can now stay here to be successful, There’s also been the Scottish film successes. His major part in the hit series Succession role, Logan Roy, has a King Lear element, and is not over written. With a wonderful cast and script. Theatre is my church, retain your pass, cathartic. Telling stories and walking with ghosts  and can be cathartic. 

Cox said that after the great war 1945 Scotland was very much north Britain – there were identity battles of the 70s and 80s. We must be true to ourselves – subdued in who were as second class citizen and to discover what we are culturally.


He said there is not enough confidence here in Scotland, its not about personalities, but about country and democracy.   Scotland is a place for social democracy. We’ve suffered old style propaganda and our own voice being stifled. He was the voice of  Labour 1996, but became disillusioned and he didn’t  like Blair and the Iraq war and thought it was all wrong


Cox will be here for our Campaign for Scotland’s independence Referendum 2023 – we can do better! 

He said its not about personalities but about country and democracy. Time to be free!


Thursday 30 September 2021

Edinburgh festivals Review 2021

Times of Change: “A year of Transition”

Its as if this year the festival is taking baby steps after our year of traumas and the set backs of the pandemic, and at its new location at the Edinburgh Art college at the heart of Edinburgh historic old town. 

I don’t know what to say about the new location, its very different, and also with the festival only running at a third of its normal scale because of Covid. This book festival is iconic and has taken place at Charlotte Square since 1983, for nearly 40  years now, so it’s a big change. There are many things I loved about the Charlotte Sq location, at the heart of Edinburgh’s famous Georgian new town. A concern might be that this new location is more out of the way, then again its close to Edina’s historic auld town – the Grassmarket, castle, university, Meadows and the High street.


**The festival is now hybrid with many events only online and authors on zoom. Some events have author and interviewers in person – Tom Devine and Alan Little; Douglas Stewart and Nicola Sturgeon; Jackie Kay and Susan Bonar; David Keenan, Tracy Thorn. 


TALKS – this year I attended talks by Satham Sangheri, Empireland; Jackie Kay, Bessie Smith, Gavin Esler, How Britain Ends; Samir PuriThe Great Imperial Hangover, Legacies of Empire; Ali Smith, Art in a time of Lies; 

AND ONLINE Tom Devine, Douglas Stuart, (Booker prize winner for Shuggie Bain).

David Keenan

Tracy Thorn


After Jackie Kay’s talk I have a great chat at the bar with two lady patrons of the festival. One lady had attended the book festival for decades and had met many famous authors from Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’s Muriel Spark, to William MciLvanney. I speak of the famous faces I’ve met – Seamus Heaney, John Byrne, Brian Cox, Alan Cummings, Iain Banks, Ian Rankin, Edna O’Brien. 

**On entering the courtyard there’s a big screen showing the talks, with places to sit among several small tented marquees and fairy lights hung on the mature trees. Its not immediately obvious where the Press tents or cafes are, but I do pick up a plan. There’s no ticket offices or rows of pamphlets or EIBF books this festivals year, all on a smaller scale and after all everything is online. Covid has affected everything, from music concert bubbles, to sporting events with no audience at all. 

There are no crowds of school children either, although there is a play area. There are only a handful of photo shoots. So the usual buzz is a much more subdued one. 


The  Book festival is close to the Edinburgh’s auld town and the next day I have an interesting walk around Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, which is pretty busy with many outdoor cafes. The High street has performers and some crowds. George IV bridge has been closed to all buses and pedestrians all week, there has been a major fire at the Elephant house restaurant, where JK Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books, which has caused major disruption and no access for pedestrians or buses.  


**Edinburgh is a perfect city to walk around the back alleys and closes with their incredible views. I spent my student days around the Meadows and University union and Forest Road, and it’s busy with a buzz of life returning. On the Saturday I walk around historic George Sq and find young, eager and expectant graduates at their delayed graduations (so many memories) thronging around in front of Edinburgh university.

This is where I graduated too and had a photo taken for the papers! I visit the Pear Tree, which is where the blind poet Blacklock entertained the great and good of Edinburgh in 1780s, including one Robert Burns. Now its the hip and happening place for young people with large outdoor gardens and a large screen showing football, to my surprise. 


I go the Biblos restaurant for a meal as usual to find the menu changed! I order a chicken burger and wine and remember how much I enjoy Indy cafes and restaurants that play their own music playlists. Long live indy shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, to me that’s the future of the High Street. Local and greener and individually creative. (Good example is Castle Douglas high street which has no chains and not even a Greggs). Global homogenization is so BORINGly dull!


On the Tuesday I attend an excellent live concert with rock singing legend Chrissie Hynde.

at the Queens hall Edinburgh, the ideal venue with high ceilings and space. She sang Bob Dylan, Ray Davies and other songs, backed by an excellent top class band. 


After I think of all the young artists, writers and musicians trying to establish their careers. I hope all those grassroots artists get supported, because without them there is no creative future. They’ve been doubly hurt by both Covid and Brexi   the arts are crucial.  **Festivals offer something out of the everyday, a place to discover, interact, refresh, be inspired, take time out, break down barriers.  Every year I often have at least one great chat with people I meet there! Thanks to all those who organise the festival.  EDINBURGH FESTIVAL -

Sunday 24 March 2019

Indyref Yes No vote 2014 documentary: BBC Scotland

The new BBC Scotland has been running a three part series on the Indy Ref Yes/No Vote 2014. 
‘We have made a vote for progress and change", spoke Alastair Darling, of leave of the Better Together campaign (of Lorretto 
school fame) after the 2014 vote. (45% yes, 55% no) How hollow his words ring....  We were promised all these increased powers; protection of our pensions; being in Europe,.

England must now also be heard. The day after the No vote result Cameron announced English votes for English laws. It was a dark forces of the blatant ignoring and side-lining of Scotland that was to come. Its hard to watch without feeling a sense of shame.  

One young man felt the NO side had more to offer – which suggests 2 things – their control of the media and press, and also the lists of promises. The wise amongst us saw from past performances and that promises or vows are actually Lies dressed up in fancy clothes and we listen to the MSM with questioning ears. 

Does this mean in a future ref the indy side, rather than have vague outlines, needs to have clearer promises? Perhaps? What would these be exactly – control of our resources, improved infrastructure, investment in R & D and education, a fair welfare system, business opportunities and investment… 

According to Osborne, ‘SNP were put back in their box.’ ‘Lib Dems were a spent focre.’ This also ruined Labour in Scotland – who barely got a mention in this series. Except for the very funny video shot in Glasgow of the Labour Mps descending to the music of Darth Vadar, " Our imperial over lords are here to rule us.’"! Or the blustering speeches of yesterdays man, Gordon Brown making promises he had no way of ever keeping!

Friday 13 January 2017

Nicola Sturgeon's speech Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann) and questions after.

This is well worth watching – and this is such a positive supportive debate of how independence has led to a resurgence for Ireland.   

Nicola firstly has assured a welcome for all migrants into Scotland. She also discussed climate change of half energy coming from renewables; of16 year olds voting; on equality as the foundation of prosperity.

The Senate praised Nicola’s position on gender equality, her equality statement and her desire to play a part in the importance on human rights. They spoke of protecting our shared interests and solidarity with Ireland. And there was praise for Scotland’s inspiring grassroots referendum campaign in 2014.

One senator spoke of the corrosive nationalism of Trump, Penn and Farage – and that it is excellent to see the fairness, democratic social inclusiveness of the civic Nationalism of Nicola. 
One spoke of how ironic that it will be the 40 year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in 2017 – and of how the EU came out of a time of great divisions, war and a time of fear. .

Legally Brexit is a minefield for Ireland and undermines the legal status of the Good Friday agreement and will unravel the peace of the last twenty years. They feel Northern Ireland should be given a special status.

One asked how Ireland can help Scotland with independence and with the challenges of Brexit. 
They spoke of the Scots James Connelly and Margaret Skinnider, who died with the rebels at the Easter rising 1916.
We must listen to the views of the People and it is not enough to change symbolism. And of independence as a means to build a better nation.

The Senate leader quoted from Yeats – ‘All changed, changed utterly, A terrible beauty is born.’
“A good life means fighting to be human in difficult times.” Alasdair Gray

**Not sure I saw this mentioned on the BBC news!??

It was the 100 year Anniversary of the Irish Rising last year 2016.
In 2017 60 year anniversary of the EU Treaty of Rome; 70 year anniversary of the Edinburgh international festival.