It is a fact that most politicians in this country are obsessed with American politics.
I’m afraid, in this, I am no exception. (Personally, I blame the West Wing).
Our natural inclination to be drawn into the political debate on the other side of the pond has been consistent ever since the colonists declared they were unhappy to go on being taxed without representation.
During the recent visit of President Trump, many people took to the street protesting at the actions of his government.
I share many of those frustrations. I cannot condone the decision to abandon the Paris Climate Accords, nor the president’s use of language in describing immigrants and women.
So I defend the right of those who felt the need to protest.
Indeed, freedom, and the right to protest, have been fought for and defended by the USA and UK for over a century.
What annoyed me was not the protests (even if some were petulant and in bad taste), but the claims of some that the UK-USA special relationship was somehow a myth.
It was claimed it existed only in the imaginings of British political leaders desperate for the prestige of being America’s best friend.
The current administration’s action in certain fields has seen the relationship placed under strain, but to argue that such a relationship does not exist is to ignore the facts.
In business, in cultural leadership, defence and security co-operation alone, the British and American relationship is like no other on earth.
From leading the free world in defeating fascism in the 1940s, to building and maintaining the rules-based world order in the 1950s, to sharing key nuclear expertise and defeating communism in the 1980s and 90s, our shared values have been demonstrated time and again.
These days, the close relationship of our intelligence communities through the Five Eyes Network keeps millions of our citizens safe.
Our armed forces work in sync in a way that is envied by others.
I experienced this myself in the Gulf as British and American warships worked seamlessly on missions to protect oil fields and allies in the region.
In the north-east of Scotland, the relationship is more evident than in other parts of the country.
Most of us know at least one person who has been employed or involved with an American oil or gas company – and most of us know at least one family that has decamped to Texas.
These are, undoubtedly, tough times for the West. President Trump’s style of government; President Putin’s disregard for international rules and norms; the continuing cycle of death and destruction in Syria and of course, Brexit, all combine to cause unease and a feeling of confusion for many.
But I am clear that despite all these challenges, the special relationship will endure.
I also believe it will continue to be that force for good in the world.
Together, our countries will remain beacons of light for all those who desire liberty and freedom.
In 2012, the coalition government decided, on bad advice, to disband the Universities of Aberdeen Royal Naval Unit and to move the patrol vessel and training ship, HMS Archer, from Aberdeen to Edinburgh.
This left a huge chunk of Scotland’s coastline with no permanent naval presence.
The Aberdeen unit, the oldest of its kind in the UK, has a place close to my heart. It was where I met my wife, so I am perhaps guilty of being sentimental.
However, I find it unacceptable that this unit could be disbanded and the ship moved to the central belt purely for cost saving reasons.
This has deprived students of the ability to see or experience what a career in the senior service can offer.
At the time of the decision, I was a student and couldn’t do much to stop it.
But as a local MP, I have now written to the Secretary of State for Defence to ask for a review of the decision and ultimately, a re-instatement of the unit and ship in Aberdeen.
The north-east must stop being short changed by central governments of all colours.
I will keep the P&J updated on any response I receive.
If you are bored of summer in the north east of Scotland, you must be bored of life.
That, anyway, is my motto at this time of year.
I have the privilege of attending countless events across my constituency – from the Stonehaven ‘Feein Market and Westhill Gala in June, the Fettercairn, Echt and Banchory Shows in July to the Highland Games – Lonach, Aboyne and Braemar through August and September.
Not a weekend goes by that I don’t experience a new flavour of cheese, try my hand at some quirky sport, pick up some new hand-crafted object, observe with fascination the judging of animals, pretend to know why the judges in the WI tent have chosen one flower arrangement over another or buy a Rotary Club raffle ticket in the vain attempt to win THAT car (next year, always next year).
It is a huge perk of the job and reminds me how lucky we are to live in a part of the world that has so much to offer visitors.
And so, as a blazing summer comes to an end and the nights slowly begin to draw in, I’ve only one thing to say – roll on next summer!