by Angela Paton
First Minister Jack McConnell got a lucky escape on the Iraq vote on 13 March when the Scottish Parliament voted down John McAllion's amendment that "no case for military action against Iraq has been proven" by 62 votes to 57. The Tories voted with New Labour. The SNP and the Lib-Dems voted for McAllion's amendment.
Labour got its motion through by 69 votes to 52, which called Saddam Hussein a "danger to the international community".
The SNP would have favoured a war if there were a UN resolution. Still the only party that is firmly anti-war is the Scottish Socialist Party.
Much speculation has appeared in the press this week over whether or not John McAllion, the Labour left MSP for Dundee, will leave Labour if he is de-selected as a candidate and join the SSP.
John McAllion would more than likely guarantee an SSP MSP elected from the North East. All supposing he does join. If not, then back to the same dilemma as before with Dennis Canavan: do you support him regardless of what party he's in? I would certainly argue support for McAllion, as an MSP with a credible socialist position, in the way we are also supporting Canavan and firefighters standing on an independent platform.
There is renewed pressure to end detention of asylum seekers' children at the former prison Dungavel in Lanarkshire prior to entire families being deported. Approximately 20 children are in detention with 60 adults. The Falkirk East Labour MP Michael Connarty says he will put forward a motion in Westminster to "seek answers from the Home Office".
Abill that would place Gaelic on an equal footing with English has received unanimous support in the Scottish Parliament. Great for the majority of Scots who don't speak Gaelic and have never historically spoken Gaelic: it's like saying that French should be on an equal footing with English in England. Hmm!