efa meps march 2018.jpg
As we enter this, the New Year, I thought it might be a good opportunity to look back at 2014 and how we fared as the world's eyes were on Scotland.
Of course, 2014 was always going to be a big year for Scotland -the independence referendum, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, elections to the European Parliament and, of course -close to our hearts -the 80th anniversary of the SNP being founded.
Back in May we comprehensively won the European elections, securing more votes than any other party in Scotland, and -historically -the highest number of votes ever for the SNP. Although we were delighted with winning the election itself, I guess we were a little disappointed that we weren't quite able to win that elusive third seat and stop UKIP from representing Scotland in Europe. Since his election in May 2014, it would appear that our newly elected UKIP MEP doesn't actually know how to represent Scotland in Europe anyway!
This summer the eyes of the world were on Scotland for reasons of sport. First we had the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which was an enormous success in terms of medals won for Scotland but, remarkably, it was also delivered on time and under budget. The Ryder Cup in Gleneagles was also a massive success, providing a major economic boost for the local economy. All of this proves that the Scottish Government can easily compete on the world stage and Scotland isn't shy in punching above its weight internationally.
Moving into the autumn, campaigning for the referendum was going at full speed and I was doing my bit around the country, campaigning all over the place, including Shetland and Stornoway.
Much has already been written about the referendum and its outcome but my overall feeling was that many Scots actually wanted independence but voting for it, particularly faced with such a hostile media environment -which was producing negative stories from the self-styled "Project Fear" every day -was just too dif.cult.
The publication of "the vow" just a couple of days before the vote was probably enough for the No campaign to win over the undecided voters who wanted to "play it safe". However, the anti-independence parties scored a major own goal in this respect. Let us not forget that, in their desperation to 'keep Scotland' we were essentially promised devo-max, indeed, "something close to federalism", as claimed by the former politician, Gordon Brown. In fact what we've since been offered by way of the Smith Commission, although welcome, does not go anywhere near far enough to meet the challenges that Scotland faces.
Moving forward, and into 2015, we have an enormous opportunity to capitalise and put up a strong .ght for the Westminster elections. With such enormous promises made by way of the vow, and with so little delivered by way of the Smith Commission, the Westminster election is the best opportunity for the people of Scotland to send a message to Westminster. That message is "thanks for the opening offer via the Smith Commission, but here is a strong group of SNP MPs. It's time to up your offer."
Because that's the only way we're going to get more powers from a reluctant Westminster. Let's do it. A Happy New Year to all.