Wednesday, 24 September 2014


For centuries the United Kingdom has always comprised of four wonderful countries: England, Scotland, Wales and (sorry to sound biased) Northern Ireland. However this was possibly about to change forever.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) had been talking of independence from the UK. They finally almost got their wish when on the 18th September, in one of the most historic events to happen in the UK for a long time,  the Scottish people voted on whether they would gain their independence.

The spokesperson for independence was SNP leader Alex Salmond. Unfortunately a lot of people believed his reasons were flawed. One of them being that they could rely on oil revenue for funding, which would be fine except oil runs out eventually.

On the flip side we had the people in the "NO" camp, or the "Better Together" campaign. Their spokesman being Alistair Darling, with support from prominent politicians like Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown gave a great speech on keeping the UK together (see link below). It was sincere, it was  passionate, and it was brilliant.

On the day in question, the people went out to vote like never before. The turnout was 
84.59% which is bigger than in any previous election. And the result couldn't have been closer.  Results were:

No    = 55%     2,001, 926
Yes   = 45%    1,617, 989

The "NO" vote may have been partly due to David Cameron's promise to give more power to the Scottish parliament. Let's hope he does because if the Scottish ever decide to do this again, they will not be fooled a second time.

And this event has had an effect on places other than Scotland as they saw Scotland choose their destiny, it gave them the courage to fight for theirs. Places like Catalonia in Spain, and the rest of the UK, including Jersey, were all looking to Scotland and saying, "If they can do it, why can't we?".

And that is a very fair question.

And where does Scotland go from here? Nobody knows for sure, but let's hope it works out well for them. I wish them good luck.

One thing is for sure. The UK will NEVER be the same again.


The recent deaths of American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff has led to questions about the safety of journalists in war zones. This question has actually been asked before but their deaths brought into full focus the horror of what happens when things go wrong for journalists in such situations. 

Foreign correspondents are in extreme danger no matter how many precautions they take or how safe someone tells them it is.

Is it becoming too dangerous for journalists to be in war zones? Absolutely.  But the news needs to be reported and journalists have to be there to do it.  It's unrealistic for them not be. 

Syria has now been designated as the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist. Over 120 journalists including Marie Colvin have died there. I should point out that most of these were actually local. 

But should we forget the situation in Syria just because it's so dangerous? No of course we shouldn't. If we did that it would be inhumane.  

For correspondents to pretend they know the situation in a dangerous place if they are not there or in a worse case, never have been, is not only deceitful, it is insulting the intelligence of the audience or reader. 

Someone asked, "Is this the end of frontline journalism?" No it isn't and we can't allow it to be. I know this is easy for me to say while sat here typing this. I am not the one out there in danger. But I honestly believe we cannot let the danger of terrorism frighten journalists from doing what they do best. Going to Syria (or any other conflict zone) and telling us what is happening there.

And now another journalist has appeared in an ISIS video. This is not the first time John Cantlie had been kidnapped in Syria. He was released and returned home. But then, like all good and brave journalists, he went back there. He is now sadly a hostage for a second time.

It must be terrifying for any foreign correspondent to witness. Firstly, the fact that you are seeing a fellow journalist in trouble, and secondly, the thought of , "Am I next?"

That must be frightening for any reporter to have in his head.,

However, I believe the best way to stand up to these terrorist groups is to do exactly what they don't want. Go out there, and tell the truth to the world.

So my advice to journalists is do it and don't let anyone stop you. We need you and we need to know.