A few weeks back I was given a publication entitled ‘Scotland in 1958’ by Bob Ritchie, an SNP stalwart from Peterhead.
Priced at 1/6 (that’s 7.5p in new money) it ran to 12 pages and faithfully documented the key economic and political events of the year 1958, but from a Scottish perspective.
Thus we find that in January 1958 the BBC stated that it hoped to devote a whole FOUR HOURS a week to Scottish programmes, but in February Canadian magnate Roy Thomson was able to boast that his newly established Scottish Television (STV) had already created almost 300 new jobs.
It was great to meet with Aberdeen Airport Director, Carol Benzie, regarding the future of the airport and upcoming developments in the pipeline. Aberdeen Airport is extremely important to the City and Shire, so I am always interested in discussing ideas to improve and ensure its services are the best they can be.
I was pleased to see that Aberdeen Airport already offer a fantastic range of books.
Meeting Lottie from Rhynie to drop off special author's edition of paperback. She features as the darling of Bloomberg News during the Gordon campaign.
After dropping in past Lottie's, I held constituency surgery in Rhynie Community Hall. Managed a quick game of darts with my office manager before first surgery appointment of the afternoon. Needless to say, he was no match for me!
Reading the National on Tuesday's flight to London. An outrageous story that revealed levies paid by Scottish fishermen are being used by a UK Government quango to promote Norwegian fish. My colleague, Calum Kerr MP has submitted two parliamentary questions on this important issue:
"To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to ensure that Seafish and other bodies funded by fishing levies do not promote the fishing industries of other North Sea or Norwegian Sea countries."
"To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make an assessment of the amount spent by Seafish and other bodies funded by fishing levies promoting fishing industries of other countries in the last three years."
Following Prime Minister's Questions, I asked the Speaker:
"Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. We do like to ask for your advice, because it is based on great experience. You will be aware that a number of your predecessors have taken a close interest in whether the Wilson doctrine applies and protects Members of Parliament.
"The Government’s Queens Counsel—the lawyer paid by the Government—appears to have said before the tribunal that ministerial statements are characterised by
"'ambiguities, at best, whether deliberate or otherwise.'
"Is it not in order, Mr Speaker, to ask, as a newish Member of the House, how we can get an unambiguous answer from Ministers on whether the notice and protection, which used to, up until last year, apply to Members of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Parliament, is still in force?
"Secondly, what would the impact be if there was a will across the parties—this is, if anything is, a cross-party matter—to pass an unambiguous substantive motion reasserting an essential democratic protection that has been with us for 50 years and more?"
In the summer, I was invited by Amir from Casual Politics to be interviewed on his YouTube channel. So, it was my pleasure to accept a second invitation to appear on this young man's channel. This time around, Amir asked me questions on a variety of issues including Scottish independence, the new edition of my book and The Donald - Trump that is!
Back up to Aberdeen for the first day of the SNP Conference 2015. This year, we have had to move our conference to a bigger venue to accomodate all of our new members, which as of the opening of conference stood at 114,121! Incredible.
I hosted a diplomats reception in the Forbes Suite at the AECC. Strong showing from countries across the world given the SNP's significant influence at Westminster.
In the evening, I was invited to take part in a special show for BBC Persia, presented by Pooneh Ghoddoosi. It was a fascinating insight into our country's shared history. You can listen to the full show below.
In the morning, I took part in a discussion panel on the EU and the impending referendum on the United Kingdom's membership. I shared the panel with Tom Tyler (Global Head of Corporate Access, Bloomberg), Michael Keating (Professor of Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen) and Laura Cram (Professor of European Politics at the University of Edinburgh).
In a topical resolution, SNP delegates argued the need to bring the conflict to an end, recognising that only United Nations sponsored action will carry the international consensus required to solve the resulting humanitarian crisis. The resolution was passed unanimously.
Conference is opposed to UK participation in military action in Syria. Conference notes that additional airstrikes by the UK to the existing bombing campaigns by American, Russian, Arabic, Turkish and French forces will be at best militarily irrelevant and at worst cause additional human suffering in Syria.
Conference demands that the UK Government instead supports a renewed diplomatic initiative to bring the conflict to a resolution, recognising that only United Nations sponsored action will carry the international consensus required to bring this civil war and the humanitarian crisis that accompanies it to a close.
As the SNP International Affairs spokesperson, I delivered a speech outlining why we must oppose military action in Syria.
“The case for bombing in Syria has simply not been made, and the fact is UK military personnel have been involved in action in Syria, as part of other nations' forces, despite a decisive vote in the House of Commons rejecting any action only two years ago – this clearly flouts the democratic will of Parliament. The UK should be the major sponsor of peace and diplomacy not another protagonist of war and carnage."
Gillian Martin, my successor as the candidate for Aberdeenshire East in the Holyrood elections won a few fans following her speech.
It was great to meet so many of you at conference!
During an interview on Pienaar's Politics on BBC 5 Live, I reiterated the issues that could bring around a second independence referendum:
“I am much more interested in the issues which are: one, the non-delivery of the “Vow” that was made to Scotland, which Gordon Brown has confirmed. Secondly, the issue that Nicola Sturgeon has identified, the European issue, the danger of Scotland getting dragged out of Europe against the will of the Scottish people. Thirdly, the over leering aspect of continued Tory governments, continued austerity and continued the unelectability of the Labour Party.”
Following 5 Live I spoke to Sky News about the conference and the President of China, Xi Jinping's state visit to the United Kingdom.