About Me

Hello!

"I'm Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?"

I'm Graeme Cowie. I'm 29 and I work for the House of Commons. My day job is working as a constitutional law specialist for the House of Commons Library, a research and information service for MPs and their staff. I've been working there since early 2018. The job involves being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades on matters public law and parliamentary procedure. As you can imagine, a lot of my work involved Brexit, including the Prorogation dispute of 2019 and the role of Parliament in approving the Brexit deal. In more normal times, however, I also advise on public inquiries, the courts and judiciary, the law officers, and constitutional law more broadly.

From its formation in late 2020 until it reported in March 2021, I also served as a policy specialist for the Joint Committee on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Before joining the House I was:
  • a Devolution Policy specialist with the Department for Work and Pensions; and before that
  • an academic and tutor at the University of Glasgow's School of Law
"Soooo... where are you from?"

Calm down, Timone.

I'm from a little bit of all over, but mostly Scotland. I was born in Glasgow, but I then grew up in Kirkcaldy in Fife (going to school in a little village called Auchtertool). I then spent about a decade living in Aberdeen before moving to Glasgow in 2009 for University.

In 2017 I moved down to London for work. I've lived in Highgate for a bit and later Stratford's Olympic Village, but have now settled (hopefully semi-permanently) in Charlton, South East London.

My family live in Glasgow, and I spent most of lockdown living back up there.

What are your professional/academic interests?

I have a broad range of constitutional law interests, but with an intrigue bias towards territorial constitutional issues (including referendums and secession). I take an interest in the role, function and powers of Parliament in public life. I also have a keen interest in the relationship between church and state.

Okay, sad act, what do you actually do for fun?


I have built several computers and do obscure things like Hackintoshing for fun.

I am a bit of a Nintendo fanboy, especially the Mario and Pokémon games. I do not apologise for having owned, played and completed:
  • Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Odyssey (don't worry, Galaxy 2 is in my sights)
  • Pokémon Red, Yellow, Gold, Crystal, Ruby, Leaf Green, Emerald, Pearl, Heart Gold, Black, White 2, Y, Omega Ruby, Sun, Ultra Moon, Let's Go Pikachu, and Shield
I used to own, maintain and occasionally even drive a classic car (a convertible MG Midget 1500). Sadly I had to give it up on moving to London. If you haven't rinsed a grassy verge between Dundee and Aberdeen in very oily water because of a coolant leak on a hot day, or changed a shredded tyre on the hard shoulder of the M8, you haven't been a proper car owner.

Courtesy of my father's own childhood enthusiasms, I also appreciate heritage and model railways. Yes, I'm that guy.

Please declare all of your sporting activities and allegiances in the space below.

When I stayed in Glasgow I was a season ticket holder at my tribe of choice (Partick Thistle). Now I'm London based (and in non-pandemic times) I roam around different grounds looking for a terrace to call home. Lead contender to date is Fulham. See my nomadic football blog, Thrills Without Firhill.

I watch cricket and play it very badly. One of the good things about moving to England was, after a prolonged absence since moving away from the North East of Scotland, the opportunity to play casual Sunday cricket, book-ended by trips to the pub. I am nominally a tail-end batsman and erratic off-spinner. So far as I have a County team, it's probably Hampshire, and I support the England and Wales team unless they're playing Scotland or Ireland. Because.

I watch (mainly international) rugby. I used to play in my school days as a front-row (a Under 15 Scottish Schools Cup Finalist no less) but now they're all much bigger than me and I quite fancy not having a head impact assessment.

I occasionally swim for fitness.

What do you watch on TV/On Demand/Netflix/Prime/YouTube?

Among other things:

Political Drama/Comedy
  • The West Wing
  • The Thick of It
  • Yes Minister
  • The Crown
  • The Windsors
  • Spitting Image
  • Not the Nine O'Clock News
  • Borgen
  • The Newsroom
  • Alpha House
UK Comedies/Dramas
  • Blackadder
  • Rev
  • Still Game
  • Chewin' the Fat
  • The Trip and The Trip to Italy
  • Monty Python
  • Doctor Who
US Comedies/Dramas
  • Parks and Recreation
  • The Good Place
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Modern Family
  • The Office (US)
  • The Good Wife
Cars
  • Top Gear
  • The Grand Tour

Kids TV
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Fireman Sam
  • Postman Pat
  • Horrible Histories
  • Tom and Jerry
  • Rosie and Jim
  • Wacky Races
  • The Singing Kettle
  • Top Cat
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks

YouTube
  • Linus TechTips
  • Snazzy Labs
  • Tom Scott
  • Stand-up Maths
  • Steve Mould
  • Marques Brownlee
  • Geoff Marshall
  • The 8-Bit Guy
  • Veritasium
  • Numberphile
  • Sally Le Page
  • CGP Grey
  • CrashCourse
  • Festival of the Spoken Nerd
  • Foil Arms and Hog
  • AV Byte
Name some films you like

Okay. Includes:
  • James Bond series
  • Batman Dark Knight trilogy
  • Cornetto trilogy
  • Harry Potter series
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Sully
  • You've Got Mail
  • The Terminal
  • Forrest Gump
  • Apollo 13
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Flubber
  • Jumanji
  • Chicken Run
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Father of the Bride
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • Keeping the Faith
  • Keeping Mum
  • Johnny English
  • Legally Blonde
  • Inside Out
  • Mulan
  • The Lion King
  • Toy Story
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Meet the Parents trilogy
  • The Big Short
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Are you politically active?

Nice try. No.

I am not, and have not been for some time now, a member of a political party. My job does not, as such, prohibit membership of a political party but it does quite significantly restrict political activity (for good reasons: MPs of all stripes and none need to be able to trust me and my employer). Since becoming eligible to vote in May 2009, I have at different points voted for several different political parties, and have (once) even spoiled by ballot paper.

It is a matter of public record that I was politically active quite a few years ago now. Any assumptions you make based on affiliations or opinions expressed back then are entirely on you (and probably no longer accurate).

To the best of my awareness, I haven't expressed any political views on here since becoming employed by the Crown in 2017. Any views expressed on here are to be regarded as, at most, having been held at the time of writing. They do not represent those of my employer, because my employer has no views.