On grief

me and Mike
me and Mike

This time three years ago I was keeping busy catching up with a different friend every night over a pint, coming to terms with the loss of a dear friend. Mike, a beautiful radge I met when I was 15 had been killed in a car crash and the loss was devastating to the huge number of people whose lives he’d been part of. Thinking about him this year on the anniversary of the accident, it struck me that then, as now, I’d spent the weeks before Christmas running on adrenalin, keeping busy, coping, being with others who’d been part of his life. This year I’ve been busier than ever, spinning a lot of plates and trying to give as much time as I can, not just to my close friends but to the people I’ve met through the last couple of years of campaigning for a Yes vote. Continue reading

Radical independence: rediscovering hope

I gave this speech at a Visions of Independence event on behalf of the Radical Independence Campaign

The Radical independence campaign was set up in 2012 with a fairly large and disparate group of lefties – greens, socialists, swappies, trade unionists, and folk on the left of Scottish politics who felt there was no one articulating a vision for the kind of Scotland they wanted to see. Continue reading

On Remaking Or Starting Anew

Common Weal nightOver the last few days I’ve been undecided. Luckily not about how I’ll cast my vote in September, but rather, undecided about whether independence is about starting over, remaking Scotland out of the crumbled walls of the union we’d break by leaving it. Or about a blank canvas, a fresh start, full of potential. The somewhat messy conclusion that I’ve come to is that it’s a bit of both, and that both metaphors need work. Continue reading

For a just and welcoming Scotland

I gave this speech to Radical Independence Edinburgh branch ahead of the European election in May 2014.

Candidate Maggie Chapman
Candidate Maggie Chapman

This year is about all of us deciding what kind of Scotland we want to live in, what kind of Scotland we want to build and the message we want to send to the rest of the world. In that respect, I think there’s a clear and important connection between the European election and the referendum. Continue reading

Women in the independence debate

This article was first published in Greenprint, the Scottish Green Party’s newsletter.

Imagine you’re watching Newsnight Scotland (or Scotland Tonight if you’re that way inclined). There’s an item on some independence related argument – some big business threatens to leave, some report says we’d be better off alone – you know the drill. There’s a pre recorded film, narrated by a journalist who draws some conclusions. The camera cuts back to the presenter who says “and now in the studio to discuss today’s news…” and welcomes an expert. Continue reading