"Clear Voice in Europe”
The following article appeared in the Stirling Observer on 4 December 2013:
The following article appeared in Scotland on Sunday on 24 November 2013:
Just over a year ago, Michael Moore, the then Secretary of State for Scotland, told the BBC that 16 and 17 year-olds should not be allowed to vote in the referendum on independence. A week is a long time in politics and a year is an epoch, but in that time the Edinburgh Agreement has been signed giving 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote for the first time ever and Michael Moore has been sent to the back-benches to ponder his future.
Whether you believe in man-made climate change or not, the general consensus is that a move towards low-carbon energy generation is crucial. Pumping out excessive CO2 is bad for the environment from any perspective. That is why I welcome the proposed plans for new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point.
Predictably, the mere mention of 'nuclear' sparked fervent green scaremongering about rises in energy bills and claims that the money would be better spent on renewables, even though Government estimates show that energy bills will be £77 lower by 2030 with new nuclear plants.
It is a sad fact that scientists reckon we are currently suffering the worst biodiversity loss that the world has ever known. They believe that between 150 and 200 species are being lost every 24 hours. Many of those losses can be attributed to climate change. We need to teach the public that biodiversity is valuable; it has an economic, social, aesthetic and practical value from which every one of us individually benefits. Biodiversity services purify the air we breathe, act as a global air conditioning system, provide us with rainfall and oxygen and fertilise plants.
As more and more EU Member States begin to realise that the race for renewables is one that they cannot win, national governments are scrambling for ways to get off the green energy juggernaut without losing face.
With Germany opening new coal-burning plants, while the UK bristles with stationary wind turbines, policymakers lament that their once laudable, voter-friendly plans for clean, 'free' energy have not only failed to achieve energy security, but continue to force more and more citizens into crippling fuel poverty.
The following article appeared in the Sunday Times on 11 August 2013.
OFGEM, the energy regulator, has warned that the UK’s current surplus generating capacity of 14% will sink to a wafer-thin 2% by 2015 as we continue to shut our old, coal-fired power stations to meet EU CO2 emission targets. A 2% surplus would place Britain on a knife-edge. Any surge in energy consumption during a severe cold snap would plunge the country into blackouts.
The following article appeared on the website ThinkScotland on 21 August 2013.
On Monday this week, I had the pleasure of presenting influential Scottish artist and pioneering art impresario Professor Richard Demarco CBE with a European Citizen’s Prize during a ceremony in Edinburgh in recognition of his decades-long efforts to bridge cultural divides between Western and Eastern Europe.
The following article appeared on UPI.com 2 August 2013
Continued bombings, repeated terrorist attacks and spiraling daily casualties in Iraq have given rise to grave concerns in the international community.
The number of victims of violence in Iraq since the beginning of July has more than 700 dead and 1,500 wounded, an average of almost 90 killed and injured every day.
The following article appeared in The Diplomat on 31 July 2013
The massacre of political prisoners by the Iranian regime, which took place in the summer of 1988 has never been acknowledged by Tehran and remains one of the darkest stains in recent history, although it is relatively unknown in the West.
The executions began in late July and continued for several months. As many as 30,000 political prisoners or more, the overwhelming majority of them activists of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) were slaughtered.