Party pledges

Back in the early days of the Scottish Parliament, manifesto launches were a big deal. They signalled the kick-off of the campaign. They set the tone and they were important; indeed, parties that got them wrong could see their whole strategy thrown off course. Political hacks like me used to scour each one for stories…

Read More

The art of story telling

Writing last month’s piece about the last 50 years reminded me how much the industry has changed in other ways. When I first started to understand how we were seen by our critics, it became obvious that our story telling just simply wasn’t good enough. In those days a view prevailed that PR and marketing…

Read More

Unfair game

Earlier this month, I came across a headline in the Mail on Sunday that declared: “Listen to country folk – we know our land best”. This was a piece written by Alex Hogg MBE, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and it is interesting because he does not seem to follow his own advice. His…

Read More

Holyrood in the balance

John Finnie is one of many MSPs who are standing down at next month’s Holyrood election and I will be sorry to see him go. That is because he has been the only Green MSP in the Scottish Parliament I have come across who has been prepared to have a proper dialogue and discussion with…

Read More

Evolution of an industry

Given the importance of salmon farming to Scotland, it is hard to believe that just 50 years have passed since the first harvest of farmed salmon. It wasn’t until 1979, that the Scottish Government started to officially record and publish production, and, in that year, it had grown by 15% on the previous to a…

Read More

Time for a lighter touch

Right in the middle of February, six weeks after the new Brexit rules came into effect, a lorry full of Scottish salmon was stopped at the border control post in the main French fish market of Boulogne-sur-Mer. The customs officials refused to let the lorry travel the short distance to the market where buyers were…

Read More

The Old Man and the Sea

Such is the title of a magnificent book by Ernest Hemingway. For those who haven’t read it, it details the story of an old man who catches a huge tuna, which is slowly eaten by sharks as he tries to get it home. It is a triumph of human endeavour – and a bit like…

Read More

Why I am still an unrepentant Leaver

OK, as a Brexiteer I accept this is all my fault. I mean, the chaos for exporters and difficulty getting into Europe. But seriously, was no one expecting this? Hands up all those who weren’t expecting border difficulties as soon as Brexit occurred. What would be more interesting is to ask those who did nothing…

Read More

Mussels and Brussels

I generally class myself as an optimist, but Brexit has rather soured my thinking, and on this subject at least, I have become a fully paid-up member of the pessimistic society. Let me be clear about this: I did not vote for it! We had long anticipated problems in getting mussels to our continental customers,…

Read More

The Brexit fallout

We thought we knew what it would look like. The queues of trucks would stretch back from Dover through the Kent countryside, massive lorry parks would be full and there would be scuffles between angry hauliers and the police. We did see these things but only before Christmas, after the French shut the border claiming…

Read More