My successor as Rector of the University of Dundee, Brian Cox, has left Labour and joined the SNP. Almost no mainstream media coverage – if it was the other way round, we would have Murphy and Cox wall to wall for weeks. I am delighted about Brian’s move as it is more evidence of genuinely radical voices coming in to the party. I was similarly happy yesterday to find that Tommy Sheppard, for whom I voted, has been selected to fight Edinburgh East, where I live. I think the SNP with its new membership is going to be a great deal more radical than it was before.
Long term readers may recall that in 2010 I stood down as Rector of Dundee University after only one term, as I did not feel I had been able to give it as much time as I would wish to do a really excellent job. Now I have moved back to Edinburgh, those problems no longer apply, and I shall be standing for election to take the post again next year, as Brian Cox completes his second (and final) term.
I cannot help but recall that on the polling day of my election as Rector in 2007, the Daily Record came out in Dundee with a full front page photo of my opponent, Andy Nicol (unionist rugby player), and a single front page headline “I was born to lead Dundee students”. The lengths to which the Establishment will go to try to ensure that whistleblowers stay down and stomped upon sometimes surprise even me.
There is a pro-Independence rally outside parliament from 11 am on Saturday. I shall be speaking. I am not sure how widely it has been publicised, but I do hope that it will show that the extraordinary spirit that has been awakened in Scotland is still alive and kicking.