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Interview with Eva Comrie

OTS speaks to the ALBA party's Equalities Convenor.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024
12 mins

Eva Comrie

Eva Comrie’s profile is growing by the week. 

Regular readers of OTS will recall that our first guest post was by Eva and it remains one of our most-read blogposts. Off-Topic Scotland | ‘I’ll show you something…’ (offtopicscotland.com)

In this post we re-present the latest blogpost from Eva’s own site. It provides a good overview of her priorities right now.

It isn’t easy to convey genuine anger whilst speaking in coherent sentences and few politicians manage to do so without appearing melodramatic or fake. But that righteous indignation is a potent tool when controlled and Eva, like Tommy Sheridan, Margo MacDonald, Dennis Canavan, Jimmy Reid and many other Scots (politicians or not) deploys it with great skill.

We know that there are huge pressures on Eva’s time, some of which are alluded to in the short interview following her blogpost, so we are very grateful that she made time to answer our questions.


BUTTERFLIES, BROKEN UPON THE WHEEL – One-legged woman speaks (oneleggedwomanspeaks.uk)

‘A few days before the 2014 referendum, Robin McAlpine wrote “The British state has sent its big guns to Scotland and found them overwhelmed by a movement of a thousand butterflies.”

On the eve of the referendum Tommy Sheridan addressed thousands of optimistic Scots in George Square –  “ Scotland may have only 40 years of oil left; Westminster has only 40 hours.”

Had the butterflies succeeded in dodging the impact of the big clunking fist and its pugilistic companions, what different a Scotland might we have created.

We’d hoped for a compassionate country addressing poverty and inequality, encouraging and supporting all, with access to the best of services, from cradle to grave. A country where we could right the wrongs of centuries of unnecessary hardship and deprivation for too many. A nation participating on the world stage as an equal partner, peace loving, warm and egalitarian, welcoming and a positive force. Freedom come all ye, pal, neebs, hen – we’re aw Jock Tamson’s bairns not being reserved only for Hogmanay toasts.

Today approaching the tenth anniversary of those times we hear evidence of the flawed ideology which has taken root in all of our institutions – when a woman in her 60s is denied support assisting her recovery from sexual assault, because she requested assurances on single sex provision. 

This revelation follows hot on the heels of the publication of the consultation on conversion practice which if passed would criminalise and lead to the imprisonment of concerned parents. 

Days earlier was evidence in a Scottish Parliamentary Committee to the effect that the risks inherent in enabling male offenders to be housed with females can be acceptable – acceptable to whom ? For sure not the women who expected to serve a sentence alongside only other women or the female officers disinclined to search a male prisoner.

Add into the mix confusion and for some also fear on transgender guidance in hospitals and schools and it’s easy to see how a democratic grassroots movement can be made to become divided and turn upon itself.

Less than competent government on innumerable issues including health, transport, education and all the madcap ‘green’ policies cost us fortunes with at best negligible meaningful returns; at worst the amounts squandered are eye watering, counted in terms of numbers of laptops, bikes, school uniforms and school meals which could have otherwise been funded. Meantime fuel bills rocket, food bills scare, drugs and alcohol deaths continue to increase and mental health provisions, including rehab services, are sorely lacking. No wonder there’s talk of infiltration and bad faith.

Scotland doesn’t need persuaded to support independence; Scotland cannot afford the alternative.

Scotland needs a government of inspired, inspirational, driven leaders, visionaries in tune with the needs and aspirations of our people. Not fools captured by dangerous ill conceived practice.

It is clear to all that despite setbacks and poor governance support for our country’s independence remains at least at 50%; this is why there is unremitting diversion of offshore resources south, manipulation of statistics by GERS, blatant purloining via the instability arising from the Freeports fiasco and the refusal to consider for Scotland the provisions gained for Northern Ireland following Brexit. It is why the British presence in our cities increases. It is why there is ridicule of Scottish efforts to create and maintain international connections and friendships.

Scotland’s problem is that elected independence supporting politicians mainly currently fear, suspect or do not understand the process of converting clamour for the cause into delivery of the objective. Exceptions do apply, but self interest and party political issues cloud judgement. There the people can help and politicians who wish to reflect their views must listen or haud their wheesht.

Westminster maintains its imperial control over Scotland because we are ill-served by representatives able and willing to challenge this. We ought no longer to give consent to government by Westminster and should demand that our political candidates represent our wishes and interest – that will come with a campaign providing for one independence supporting candidate in every constituency. With that, Independence supporting victors will be in the majority as will be the popular vote. That’s internationally recognised as a mandate justifying negotiations on the independence settlement, the divorce if you like.  Recognition that regaining independence will come from all efforts, cross party and no party, is fundamental. 

I hear that many around Scotland fear that politicians may suffer from self-interest; apparently there are moves afoot to create a citizens’ party, a scheme rebellion, involving mass voter registration. Door chapping and street stalls by the ordinary people of this country, not the elite – just the majority who have been silent for too long; the folk who answer appeals online for donations to baby banks, food banks, school clothing banks or a whip-round for an electric blanket or a sleeping bag for a pensioner sitting shivering in her house in Fife within sight of a windfarm but too feart to turn on the heating.

That movement populated by those with the most to gain from our country’s freedom, linked with a national surge, a petition, declaring our intention to become a free country once more, supported by political parties united in their determination to deliver that independent status – that is how Scotland will take her place between Saudi Arabia and Senegal – and not a moment too soon. 

Butterflies signify hope, reincarnation and the tender aspirations of something indescribably precious. The women, the men and the children of Scotland deserve those aspirations and thought. Their dreams and values have been fractured but with common cause and purpose can heal, thrive and overcome. Those wings can fly again.

Let’s make it happen.’

OTS Interview with Eva

What got you interested in politics to begin with?

Listening in the1960s to my parents, grandparents and neighbours, some of whom had fought in world wars, talk of how the discovery of Scotland's oil should transform our lives; wondering why it would take oil to do that when we'd a hardworking people already toiling in heavy industries including coal and steel. And learning from teachers who spoke of the break up of empires across the globe and curious as to why Scotland should be part of an empire not a country in its own right as described by history teachers who spoke of Wallace, Bruce, Burns and others.

Sounds like you had some cool teachers. Which school was it? Want to name-check any of them?

Crieff Primary; special mention for Miss Winter and Miss Steele. Miss Winter came from Australia on a year's exchange and the class project meant all the mums had to stock up on tinned fruit for us to steal the labels for the reports we were creating. There were dodgy drawings of koalas and kangaroos too. Andy Renwick, for whom the pipetune the Ferret is named, was a classmate and good pal.

What about secondary school? Was there a debating society, any political conversation going on there?

A few school friends were into politics but for a while the usual teenage interests including BCRs, T.Rex etc took priority along with scraping through exams to get to Uni.

Through A Scottish Prism has become very popular. Can you tell us a wee bit about how it all came together?

Brainchild of Roddy, the techies and other supporters. I’m a passenger there for the craic. We’ve had several live Prisms in ‘Rebel Hq’ namely The Eagle Inn Coatbridge with mine host Robert Slavin, Edinburgh with special guest Grouse Beater, Stirling and Inverness with Craig Murray. There’s a roadshow and more live events in planning.

I remember now, seeing one with Tommy Sheridan, Phil was drinking the Guinness.

That was the first live show. They’re a blast!

Hopes and expectations for 2024?

A Scotland First election which is a de facto referendum on the I question only. That can be a GE or early HR poll. That’s my hopes. Expectations - neither of the above will come to pass – and I sincerely hope to be wrong.

I want to see justice in Scotland overhauled with action to reduce delays by making better use of tags and community service or payback.

I want children in care to be better looked after. I could go on all night about past and current failings but there’s a desperate need to build on the good evidence-based social work being carried out by many dedicated to delivering the aims of The Promise.

A real addictions strategy providing hope for recovery and rehab rather than the current focus seeming to be on harm reduction - all should be available and addictions should be considered a health issue approached from a human rights not public health perspective.

An apology for the tinker experiment.

An end to self identification.

Universal free meals from nursery to uni.

Saving Grangemouth refinery – we’re an oil producing nation – stands to reason we need our own refinery so as to maintain such a vital contributor to our economy.

Get the ferry from Scotland to Europe up and running – it could be a lifeline in terms of attracting investment, trade and tourism directly as opposed to current reliance on travel through England. Ireland manages well – why can’t we ?

Do you find it difficult to ‘switch-off’?

Yes it can be hard especially when there’s messages and queries, often out of hours, from people in dire straits as the result of current policies controlled by WM and where HR/SG seem unable to make competent decisions. Frustrating in fact, particularly in matters of health, housing and cost of living.

Can you tell us more about your work as a lawyer?

Family and child law specialist so a lot is very sad work regarding separation, arrangements for children , referrals to children’s panels, adoption, financial issues etc.. I used to do criminal defence but found it too depressing and gave it up last century. I’ve been appointed by Sheriffs to do reports about children since the early 90s so I’ve seen a lot of heartache and loss, much of it unnecessary and that waste in part drives me.

The standard fare for this type of interview is the ‘favourites’ and that’s a bit lighter- what about your favourite films/shows/books/music?

Easy - The Godfather, Reacher, crime including William McIntyre who is a now retired Scottish lawyer, Ian Rankin, Marion Todd, Denzil Meyrick, Michael Connelly and Robert Crais. To Kill a Mockingbird of course, some Burns poetry. Springsteen, Bowie, Rod Stewart, Big Country and the BCRs. Soft spot for the Gypsy Kings and favourite places after Scotland are Ireland, France, Malta and Australia.

Favourite comedians and actors?

Billy Connolly, Kevin Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert de Niro, Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and I adore the greats including Kirk Douglas, Lee J Cobb, and should mention 12 Angry Men as one I’ve watched a dozen times.

Highs and lows from 2023?

Lows have been weasel words from politicians and activists who claim to support independence but make plain that a Scotland United campaign is off the table. Gibberish about what constitutes a win or progress towards independence insults the intelligence of the movement. Guff spinning GRR intervention by WM as an assault on devolution when we know Green influence and horrendous waste of money and energy on Green policies has been divisive and counterproductive- all of this harms the cause and Scotland’s progress. I’m not convinced there were any high spots in 2023 from the perspective of either independence or promoting  Scotland’s interests more generally. Those who continue to enable WM rule without a realistic plan to provide an electoral event where we can vote for our country’s freedom need to reflect on their priorities.

High points? I had hoped for a Scotland United deal and a constitutional convention and still do.

The SNP line about making Scotland Tory free won't win them votes - if they want to avoid losing dozens of seats they should prioritise independence rather than talk of defending devo.

Can you tell us a bit about your support for Dr Lynne Tami-Connelly?

Lynne had relatives removed from family and trafficked to Canada. I support her desire for an apology as this experiment and others of a similar nature were the work of the Church and the Scottish authorities. Evidence indicates this was a deliberate attempt to extirpate the GRT community. Scotland should mark this horrific episode with at the very least an apology and a monument to the bairns who suffered removal and trafficking and the families who mourned and continue to grieve.

eva comrie IndyLawyer (@mickbrick54) / X (twitter.com)

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