This Tuesday I will visit Brussels to deliver my first speech in the EU capital since becoming First Minister. At heart, my message will be a very simple one; namely that Scotland is a European nation and that my government sees our future as one of continued European Union membership. The importance of this message to our economy and future prosperity cannot be overstated. It will also be an important counterpoint to the message David Cameron is seeking to deliver in his round of shuttle diplomacy between European capitals, as he seeks to "renegotiate" the terms of the UK's EU membership in ways which remain obscure...
It has been said that Scottish politics is a generational thing. After the 1950s Tory domination in Scotland gave way to the Labour party. Now, it seems, it is the nationalist's time. The consequences of this on the wider UK and it constitutional settlement will play out over time.
National security is deeply linked to the trajectories of nuclear proliferation, arms races and the success of diplomatic efforts to stem the tide. Future British governments would do well to maximise their efforts to develop a globally cooperative approach that undercuts the drivers of proliferation and reduces the salience nuclear weapons have to all states, and maximises the tendency in them all to act in a social responsible manner, with or without nuclear weapons. How they can do this effectively in the coming years must be at the top of their foreign policy agenda.
I have been avoiding the commentary in the aftermath of last week's UK elections. The crowing triumphalism on one side, and the unfocussed rage on the other, have been too much for my hangover to bear. Take a breath, Britain, and let's think about this properly.
Labour needs to start listening to the people again. Instead, Scottish Labour managed to find someone with even less personality than Ed Miliband, which is really saying something. The fact he has announced he is staying as leader in Scotland should be interesting and even more disastrous - self-serving even in defeat.
Britain's E.U. debate focuses on the economics, so let's be clear the biggest cost of a Brexit would be losing the 8% (£150 billion) of the U.K. econ...
There is little prospect that, in the short term, Scottish Labour's core vote will return to it from the SNP. A tactical vote for the party, whilst it may be effective in a small collection of seats, will be as futile as expecting Darth Vader to oversee the construction of a Death Star without a fundamental design flaw.
The SNP have mastered campaigning in poetry, what I fear is their prose.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. At least that is the view of Scotland's Unionist parties. Because despite losing last September's referendum on independence by a decent margin the Scottish National Party now appear on course for a landslide victory at next week's general election.
The numbers speak for themselves. Hydro-electric power is currently the only renewable energy capable of replacing fossil fuels and it's about time we had a party in government that's going to get serious about cutting the UK's carbon footprint.
Let me take you back. It's September 2014 and David Cameron faces the very real prospect of being the Prime Minister who oversaw the demise of the United Kingdom...
When it comes to sport I would never proclaim to be an avid follower of single team or individual professional, however there's something very exciting happening in football that could see the power of clubs placed back into the community they serve. The community ownership of football clubs is gaining momentum and has the possibility to empower local fans like never before, away from the hands of the few and into the hands of many.
What on earth inspired me to knit, crochet and cycle my way around Scotland? I have a habit of cycling with my eyes on the verge and on recent rides have found a whole drum kit in a stream, £40 along with a condom and several beer cans (we all know the story there!) and even a pair of sparkly black and gold high heels on a fence.
It is interesting that despite the SNP governing Scotland for almost eight years, voters show no sign of the mid-term fatigue one would usually expect. This likely stems from the 'outsider' position the SNP have been keen to stake out for themselves, and to retain as long as possible.
Scotland has always been a relatively multicultural place. Almost a fifth of central belt residents were born outside of the UK, and this foreign-born population is getting smarter and more highly skilled every year.
The idea of putting into action a quota for women, seems to get many people's backs up. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told that our representatives must be there on merit only. What an insult to women, apparently in Scotland only 35% of the women's population is able.