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PORTFOLIO

PORTFOLIO

 Alastair is a Chartered PR practitioner and strategic public affairs specialist with private sector, parliamentary and NGO experience. 

He is a national columnist specialising in Scottish history, devolution and UK politics. His interests also include pop culture and theate reviews.

Alastair’s bylines include The Times, The Scotsman, The Herald and the Edinburgh Evening News.

He has a particular interest in Winston Churchill’s connections to Scotland.

Comment

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The Scotsman
Print album 

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  1. Scottish independence: Outsiders, from Rishi Sunak to expat celebrities, seem to want to tell Scotland what to do
  2. Scotland’s alcohol problem: Spanish-style tapas bars could help create a cafe culture which could save us from our national embarrassment
  3. Harry’s crusade suggests he thinks he is the only one ever to have domestic squabbles 
  4. New Year’s resolutions: Why we should probably all resolve to stop making them this year
  5. Jeremy Clarkson’s remarks about Meghan Markle are a symptom of our 21st century Dark Age
  6. Scottish independence: Dear Santa, please give the SNP a referendum, it’s the only way they’ll shut up about it and start governing the country properly
  7. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Film industry may discover that immortality for actors is no Holy Grail 
  8. I’m a Celebrity: Matt Hancock’s jungle sabbatical adds to feeling that politicians are in it for themselves – Alastair Stewart 
  9. After Supreme Court’s Scottish independence referendum ruling, Nicola Sturgeon should resign 
  10. Scottish independence: SNP needs to get real about foreign policy. Flowery moralpolitik doesn’t cut it in the real world
  11. Scottish independence: Unionists who call themselves democrats cannot deny SNP a referendum 
  12. Backlash against Hancock’s jungle foray is predictable when we don’t know what MPs really do
  13. Immaturity, simplicity and populism prevail in our politics – and it’s toxic
  14. Dyslexia: Let’s drop the clichés and start recognising the cost, the challenges and the condition’s different forms 
  15. Winston Churchill loved Scotland. The least Scotland can do is drop the ugly myths about him
  16. Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘I detest the Tories’ remark may set a bitter tone for independence push 
  17. Films that ‘fictionalise’ reality are leading more than just Garfield astray
  18. Winston Churchill painted to relieve depression. I discovered the therapeutic effects of scale modelling during lockdown
  19. Liz Truss and King Charles can learn from Richard Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, about power that lacks democratic legitimacy
  20. Volume of sexist, violent and misogynistic attacks on female politicians is harrowing
  21. This England: Is it too soon to make a drama out of a crisis?
  22. Edinburgh International Book Festival: Why the book will never die even in the Internet Age
  23. Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Crying baby at Matt Forde’s show should weep over increasingly selfish attitudes that are eroding society
  24. Former prime ministers like Gordon Brown and John Major should set up non-party political ‘brains trust’ to help the nation in times of crisis
  25. James Bond’s enduring appeal is best understood through the books
  26. Televised Tory leadership debates are a charade that sums up our trying times 
  27. Tom Hanks enters culture wars over role as gay man in Philadelphia but fails to mention his most insensitive tropes
  28. As Tory leadership contenders burnish their military credentials, will a new Winston Churchill emerge or just a little generalissimo?
  29. Labour’s refusal to consider return to EU shows it’s just pandering to Boris Johnson’s populist myths
  30. Scottish independence referendum: SNP and unionist parties have put Scotland on course for Catalonia style chaos
  31. Scottish independence: SNP’s permanent revolution is showing signs of Maoist tendencies and George Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate
  32. NHS in crisis: How private businesses can ease the pressure on the health service
  33. What now for justice in the high stakes court of public opinion?
  34. Anti-feminism and anti-woke backlashes is being disguised as legitimate criticism
  35. Scotland’s council elections produced a slew of coalitions, but why can’t the public have a say in their make-up?
  36. Scottish independence: Unionists should learn from history and form an anti-SNP alliance
  37. Keir Starmer to oust Boris Johnson? How history shows UK may be ready for a boring prime minister
  38. Scottish independence: ‘One-party state’ Scotland needs to find a resolution to its perennial problem
  39. Netflix’s The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On is wholesale relationship slaughter and one reason why streaming services are in trouble
  40. Film and TV industry should realise that sometimes we need heroes to help us escape from reality
  41. Covid finally got me and, trust me, we all still need to keep testing for this awful disease 
  42. Ukraine war: Vladimir Putin’s regime, not ordinary Russians, is responsible for the deaths and destruction
  43. Will Smith might have been in the right, but in the real world his slap would hurt a lot more
  44. Ukraine-Russia war: Volodymyr Zelensky is demonstrating that heroes really do exist – Alastair Stewart
  45. Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee: A damp squib of an institution in decline or a return to the heady days of 2012?
  46. Social media algorithms can drive traffic for seemingly harmless film and TV reviews laced with racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice
  47. Russia-Ukraine war: West must resist crisis fatigue and realise opposing Vladimir Putin requires long-term commitment
  48. Ukraine-Russia war: Boris Johnson could be a worthy leader if he learns from Ukraine’s own Winston Churchill, Volodymyr Zelensky 
  49. Women-only carriages on trains: Proposal shows the need to get tough on extreme anti-social behaviour
  50. Anti-car rhetoric is rising amid climate emergency but not all motorists are out for a Top Gear-style jolly
  51. Disney’s Pam & Tommy may be ‘based on’ fact, but should be viewed as fiction
  52. Social media: We need to reassess the increasing digitisation of our lives
  53. Boris Johnson beware. Scots MPs brought down Jim Callaghan and even tried to oust Winston Churchill during Second World War
  54. Downing Street parties: Boris Johnson is unlikely to go quietly so we can expect increasingly angry soundbites and absurd policies
  55. Cobra Kai’s success as a Karate Kid sequel is based on its adherence to Aristotle’s advice to be ‘consistently inconsistent’
  56. Covid lockdown restrictions have strained many friendships, but the true ones will remain
  57. Covid: New Year’s resolutions in the pandemic age are a mistake
  58. The question of what to do with the work of controversial artists
  59. Covid in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon should realise even Winston Churchill’s rhetoric couldn’t hide the need for results in this war against the pandemic
  60. Covid Omicron variant: Government should act decisively, not keep us all on tenterhooks with constant warnings
  61. Think Winston Churchill hated Scotland? Think again
  62. We need a cultural shift that equates wellbeing with success 
  63. Scotland’s NHS is in crisis as people fail to realise that they too could become a statistic 
  64. COP26 climate change summit: A world government may be required to truly tackle global warming
  65. Scotland’s councillors should be better paid given their level of responsibility for education, environment, homelessness and more
  66. Vicious political language is spilling over into violence. We must change how we talk about each other
  67. Covid pandemic saw planning consultations go online. The results were not what you might expect
  68. How James Bond is being let down by Boris Johnson and co in the battle for hearts and minds
  69. Scottish independence vs the Union: Police Scotland and Gaelic being drawn into culture-war politics is a sign we’re in trouble
  70. SNP-Green ‘coalition’ is not what Scotland voted for and there is a better way to run the country
  71. Covid vaccine passports should be expanded to become full-blown medical ID cards
  72. Scottish independence: Why the Scottish Parliament should be given the power to call second referendum
  73. Dyslexia is not a superpower or a ‘gift’, whatever Princess Beatrice says
  74. Spain’s most far-right town was made rich off the backs of low-paid migrant workers but some still long for General Franco’s return
  75. SNP needs to get real about foreign policy in a complicated world
  76. Is Nicola Sturgeon at risk from the ‘curse’ of China’s panda diplomacy?
  77. Love Island is brain-dead smut and reality TV is the modern-day equivalent of Victorian freak shows
  78. Scotland can’t just play the perfect friend on the world stage
  79. Boris Johnson is not a true conservative in the style of either One Nation Tory Benjamin Disraeli or Margaret Thatcher
  80. James Bond: Will a physically imperfect 007 ever face a handsome supervillain or will out-dated stereotypes continue?
  81. Reading Hitler and Lenin does not make you a Nazi or a communist. We must examine the worst of our history
  82. Scottish independence: MSPs who are also MPs, like Douglas Ross, could help keep the Union together – Alastair Stewart
  83. Scottish independence: Scots living in rest of UK should be allowed to vote in any future referendum
  84. Scottish independence, like Brexit, depends on creating a villain as politics turns into militant smearing
  85. Scottish independence: Irredentism, not nationalism, will deliver a Yes vote
  86. We should elect the monarch – and banish a millennium’s worth of privilege
  87. Scottish independence: Why Dominic Cummings’ gift to the Yes campaign is no good reason to leave the UK
  88. Nicola Sturgeon’s personality cult may mean she will ultimately face the same fate as Margaret Thatcher
  89. Scottish independence may seem a good idea amid ‘post-war’ euphoria of Covid pandemic’s end but history warns against unrealistic dreams
  90. Why reliance on social media is bad for our politics
  91. Politicians must act to shore up flagging public morale as motivation to follow the rules flags
  92. Winston Churchill was close friends with a founder and leader of the SNP, Andrew Dewar Gibb, and supported Scottish home rule
  93. Scottish independence: Why James Bond’s most incredible mission just might be saving the Union
  94. Digital exclusion is not just a problem for the elderly 
  95. How can we love the art while hating the artist?
  96. Why Douglas Ross should remain an MP 
  97. Scottish independence: How a federal UK could save the Union
  98. George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman can teach us a lesson in morality
  99. Donald Trump is the President who would be king, just as shine comes off Britain’s Royal family
  100. VE Day: Why Britain is not overly obsessed with the Second World War
  101. Climate change means lockdown-induced boom in working from home is here to stay
  102. Coronavirus: Why we should beware talk of global utopia after Covid-19 threat recedes
  103. Coronavirus: Is Britain now at war with Covid-19? 
  104. Coronavirus: How Covid-19 could torpedo independence
  105. Amateur ‘coronavirus experts’ should learn a lesson from Jurgen Klopp
  106. Thatcher, Churchill and the Lib Dems: The danger posed by simplistic judgements 
  107. Freedom of movement in the EU was a geopolitical wonder
  108. How Scotland’s political parties failed to respond to devolution 
  109. How TV talent shows exploit a horrible human instinct
  110. Why hating the Tories is bad for Scotland
  111. We need healthy debate over avoidable deaths
  112. Never mind saving the world, a Jane Bond could change it 
  113. How Hollywood seems to be embracing use of ‘ghost actors’
  114. Should we treat Tony Blair as an elder statesman or put him on trial?
  115. Churchill’s roar drowns out Johnson’s huge ego 
  116. We need to talk about an independent Scotland’s foreign policy
  117. Brexit: Why Gibraltar’s border issue is most likely flashpoint for violence
  118. Nuclear weapons: Big question is whether UK would use them in revenge 
  119. Brexit: How Brexiteers’ worldview can be understood through history 
  120. Brexit Britain must realise it cannot stand alone in the 21st-century world
  121. Why people are not listening to Greta Thunberg
  122. A robust Tory party can only be good for Scotland’s democracy 
  123. Corbyn can save the Union if he embraces federalism
  124. Why political opinion polls may well be harming our democracy
  125. How to make your career ambitions come true in the digital age 
  126. The danger to democracy posed by voting apps and internet politics
  127. How we’ve failed to heed Nikita Khrushchev’s warning about personality cults
  128. How US-style politics could be damaging British democracy
  129. What the public can learn from MPs’ pragmatism
  130. French Revolution has lessons for Brexit Britain
  131. One more (reluctant) fight – that’s why we love comeback screen heroes (print only)
  132. The European Union’s biggest failure? Explaining what it does
  133. Why we’re fascinated by Jeremy Kyle, Katie Hopkins and the like
  134. Why Gothic Edinburgh was born to be Gotham City
  135. MP for Spain? Expats need a voice
  136. Brexit: Why it’s wrong to blame the older generation
  137. Social media addiction is gaining recognition from an unlikely source 
  138. How does the UK reconcile post Brexit? (print only)
  139. Brexit: To expats in EU, the UK sounds like it’s preparing for war 
  140. Dear John McDonnell, if Winston Churchill is a villain, who is a hero? 
  141. Scottish independence would strip Churchill of his ‘Britishness’
  142. Here’s how to end the UK’s ‘elective dictatorship’ 
  143. Will tourist tax have the same effect on tourists as plastic bag tax had on bags? 
  144. What Donald Tusk can learn from Winston Churchill 
  145. Winston Churchill: Ross Greer is wrong, but so is Piers Morgan 
  146. Scottish Secretary should be elected by MSPs
  147. Donald Trump’s wealth is no reason to denounce him 
  148. Churchill once defended ‘Scottish nationalism’ at Ibrox stadium
  149. Disagreeing is a virtue our society is fast forgetting (print only)
  150. Macedonian village healer changed my life in a way I didn’t expect
  151. North Macedonia? Don’t you ‘North Briton’ me!
  152. Scotland is the Casablanca of the Great Brexit
Edinburgh Evening News

Photo album

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  1. NHS has languished in the shadows for far too long
  2. Orthodox good will reflects our Scottish diversity 
  3. Covid in Scotland: Something is terribly wrong with our NHS
  4. Edinburgh’s statue slavery row: Interactive, digital plaques could be used to teach us their real history
  5. Going digital is the way forward for planning
  6. Today it’s a fear and loathing in Edinburgh day
  7. Meadows action plan should be a city template
  8. Why aparthotels are ready-made Covid solution
  9. It’s time for a rethink on living in retirement
  10. Scotland needs fresh ideas for empty homes
  11. Donald Trump has saved our democracy
  12. Going digital is no quick fix for Christmas cheer
  13. This war on virus is unearthing political truths
  14. Switch to digital is boosting community engagement
  15. Don’t let social media scare stories add to pandemic fears 
  16. Churchill’s Scottish connections run deeper than we may think
  17. Tory strength in opposition is good for Scottish democracy
  18. Colour-blind casting ensures new talent gets recognition
  19. Disabled can bear brunt of social shaming in Scotland 
  20. Two decades after devolution, do we actually understand it? 
  21. A problem with pubs re-opening
  22. Great men and women have earned a place in our history
  23. We’re a shell shocked nation in need of cautious optimism
  24. Let’s make our streets interactive learning places
  25. Even reduced democracy is better than no democracy
  26. If we don’t all follow the rules then the chances are none of us will
  27. Coronavirus: Is lockdown showing us the shape of things to come?
  28. Coronavirus: Let’s get virtually married, it will be good for morale
  29. Coronavirus: Isolation will start the clock on a mental health timebomb
  30. Immigration: The UK’s new policy is an affront to reason
  31. As a society, we seem torn between fear and optimism
  32. Burns Night a good time to see our history for what it is
  33. We don’t need a solution to homelessness, we need a resolution
  34. Would independent Scotland be a ‘good global citizen’

Blog & Essays

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The Scottish Review
Place Design Scotland

International Comment

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Triling (News 24) - Macedonia
Euroweekly News -Spain
  1. Teacher in Spain launches online petition for MPs for Brits living abroad
  2. A very British fudge – why democratising the Monarchy may be the best compromise 
  3. It’s time to call Theresa May undemocratic
  4. Votes for life must only be the beginning
  5. Why it’s time for overseas MPs
  6. Passports are a hint of things to come
  7. Guns will stop the US government? Give me a break
  8. Is Batfleck the hero for the Trump generation?
  9. Star Trek: Discovery isn’t really Star Trek
  10. If Nigel Farage is calling for a second referendum, it’s time…
  11. Decluttering social media
  12. New Year’s resolutions are hogwash
  13. The Apprentice is bad for business and bad for the BBC
  14. Have you noticed something about Bond villains?
  15. I’m a member of the Scottish Parliament – Get Me Out Of Here
  16. It’s not superhero fatigue, it’s misery fatigue
  17. Brits abroad must help support stray cats and dogs
  18. Shouldn’t International Men’s Day be as important as the female…
  19. Lights, camera, Salmond!
  20. The rise of the social media wedding
  21. Kevin Spacey has betrayed his fans and they’re hurting too
  22. Why irredentism explains Brexit
  23. Catalonia was a gross injustice, plain and simple
  24. The day America accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb on Spain
  25. Read this before you see the film Dunkirk
  26. Don’t be afraid of the big, bad doctor
  27. The Diana tapes are a ‘macabre indulgence’
  28. Brexit, the game show!
  29. Stop panicking about new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker
  30. Expatriates need to stop calling themselves ‘expats’
  31. Doctor Who travels through space, time and… Spain
  32. Why doesn’t Spain love the iPhone?
  33. Why Brexit matters in Almeria
  34. Dual mandates are wrecking British politics
  35. Who’s who in Almeria politics
  36. Our responses to terror must be consistent
  37. Opinion: Why Tim Farron had to go
  38. When Winston Churchill bribed Spain’s General Franco
  39. May-day: Looking at the General Election result
  40. Grenfell Tower blaze victims deserve justice
  41. Why Theresa May is wrong about human rights
  42. Of course Wonder Woman deserves an all-female showing
  43. Understanding Spain’s political parties
The Sol Times - Spain

Print album

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  1. A street called 17 January 1966 
  2. At home and abroad: What does Europe mean? (print)
  3. A very British fudge – Why democratising the Monarchy is the only way forward
  4. Brexit makes me angry, and you should be too
  5. Brexit, the game show! (print)
  6. Brexit thoughts: Through the glass, darkly with Mrs May (print)
  7. Boris, Brexit and Britons in Spain (print)
  8. Brits abroad must support stray cats in Europe
  9. Can you compare Scotland and Catalonia (print)
  10. Catalonia was a gross injustice, plain and simple (print)
  11. Decluttering the hell of social media
  12. Did the sun really seton the British empire? (print)
  13. Doctor Who travels through space, time…and Spain
  14. Don’t be afraid of the big, bad doctor (print)
  15. Dual mandates are wrecking British politics (print)
  16. Expatriates need to stop calling themselves ‘expats’ (print)
  17. Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish (print)
  18. Grenfell Tower blaze victims deserve justice (print)
  19. Guns will stop the US government? Give me a break!
  20. Have you noticed something about Bond villains? (print)
  21. History and hope over terror and tyranny (print)
  22. How do the Spanish feel about the UK general election? (print)
  23. I’m a member of the Scottish Parliament, get me out of here!
  24. If Nigel Farage is calling for a second referendum, it’s time for a rethink 
  25. Is Batfleck the hero for the Trump generation?
  26. Is Discovery Star Trek?
  27. It’s time to call Theresa May undemocratic
  28. It’s not superhero fatigue, it’s misery fatigue
  29. Kevin Spacey has betrayed his fans and they’re hurting too 
  30. Lights, camera, Salmond
  31. May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’ (print)
  32. May is right to hold a general election (print)
  33. May-day: Looking at the general election (print)
  34. Moggmentum is the last straw of sanity (print)
  35. New Year’s resolutions are hogwash 
  36. Of course Wonder Woman deserves and all-female showing (print)
  37. Opinion: Terrorism can’t become normalised (print)
  38. Our responses to terror must be consistent (print)
  39. Passports are a hint of things to come
  40. Read this before you see Dunkirk (print)
  41. Shouldn’t International Men’s Day be as important as International Women’s Day?
  42. Stop panicking about Jodie Whittaker (print)
  43. The Apprentice is bad for business and bad for the BBC
  44. The Diana tapes are a macabre indulgence (print)
  45. The old men in grey suits should be listened to (print)
  46. The rise of the social media wedding
  47. Tired of government officials lying to you? (print)
  48. Trains, planes and bins: how Almeria works (print)
  49. Trump’s obvious historical strategy (print)
  50. The UK is not coming apart at the seams over Europe (print)
  51. Understanding Spain’s political parties (print)
  52. Votes for life must only be the beginning
  53. When Churchill bribed Franco (print)
  54. Who’s who in Almeria politics (print)
  55. Why Brexit matters to Almeria (Almeria)
  56. Why Esteban Gonzalez Pons’ comments on Scotland don’t matter (print)
  57. Why doesn’t Spain love the iPhone? (print)
  58. Why irredentism explains Brexit
  59. Why it’s time for overseas MPs
  60. Why Theresa May is wrong about human rights (print)
  61. Why Tim Farron had to go (print)
  62. Why Trump matters to Europe (print)
  63. Why Spain and Britain are two peas in a pod (print)
  64. WIll apps kill pubs? (print)
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The Sol Times - News reporting - Spain

Journals & Magazines

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History Scotland

Print album

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Why have the Scots forsaken Churchill?

The Scot who nearly killed Franco

Churchill: Remember the man, not the myth

Part 1: Debunking the cult of Churchill

Using primary sources to explore the statesman’s life and work.

Part 2: Churchill as a military leader

A look at Churchill’s reputation as a boorish war leader with a penchant for expeditions over expediency. Is it justified?

Part 3: Churchill the actor

For all his flaws and quirks, Churchill makes for an infinitely more interesting character study than the heavily redacted, and catastrophically cliched, caricature of a stoic leader with a jutted jaw and cigar.

Part 4: Why the real quotes are better than the memes

Alastair calls for a more significant distinction between the real and apocryphal stories about Churchill.

Part 5: A heavy drinker?

Examining Churchill’s reputation as a heavy drinker.

Part 6: The real price of ale

If Churchill wasn’t an alcoholic, but if he fanned tall drinking tales about himself, then what was he at heart?

Part 7: Churchill was a peacemaker, not just a warrior

Exploring Churchill’s postwar role as a peacemaker.

Part 8: The Dream reveal’s Churchill’s soul

What ‘The Dream’ can tell us about Churchill’s relationship with the father he thought never believed in him.

Part 9: Churchill & Europe – the ultimate myth?

The many Churchills, the many Europes.

Part 10: Churchill on our doorstep

Where are the books dedicated to Churchill and Scotland?

E-International Relations

Radio & Podcast

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BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland

 

Podcast
Complete podcast here.

 

Think Tanks

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TV & Video

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Webinar
Watch all videos here.

Fiction

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Poetry

Contact

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