If Jim Murphy fails it will be because Labour is beyond saving

Jim Murphy couldn’t win his joust with Bernard Ponsonby on Wednesday night, whatever winning means in a Scotland unmoored from so many political certainties. If he had tried, he would have risked looking desperate. Pathetically straining for a game-changer in the dying days of the election campaign. No, the only thing for it was to…

Could SNP’s best poll also be its worst? (Hint: Probably not)

I for one welcome our new Nationalist overlords. The final STV poll of the general election campaign puts the SNP on 54% to Scottish Labour’s 20%. According to one projection, these results, should they play out on May 7, would see the Nationalists win every Scottish seat. Every last one. 59-0. No single party has…

Rejecting Labour is spurning an inheritance from our grandfathers

We all have an inheritance from our grandfathers. Some are tangible – a watch, a book, a rosary – while others are more ephemeral, like lessons learned, wisdom gifted, or fond recollections of family holidays. The stirring scent of aftershave or pipe tobacco, the taste of an old recipe, or the sound of a rust-bucket…

On quislings, ‘non-Scots’ and Scottish nationalism

As campaign strategies go, it’s certainly a novel one. In Edinburgh South, which voted No in September’s referendum by 65% to 35%, SNP candidate Neil Hay has hit trouble. Under a pseudonymous account, “Paco McSheepie”, which he ran in 2012, he tweeted the term “quisling” with reference to unionists and lamented that “umpteen poor souls…

Mademoiselle Ecosse goes to Westminster

Mhairi Black is a nightmare to interview. We’re walking along the Paisley side street where her campaign hub is based on Friday afternoon. It’s an unusually warm and inviting day so how better to get a flavour of the electors’ attitude towards the SNP candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire South than by hitting the streets…

Rennie reminds us why, love them or hate them, we need Lib Dems

It’s not easy to go up against Bernard Ponsonby, STV’s wily and well-informed political editor. He is unrelenting, menacingly patient, with an acidulous wit, and more often than not knows more about your policies than you do. Now imagine you’re the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, those breakers of pledges and screwers of students….

Nicola Sturgeon unveils her manifesto for England

Something extraordinary happened today. The leader of a political party pitched her election manifesto almost exclusively to people who don’t live here and can’t vote for her. Such is the intensity of Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign of love-bombing England that Scotland was almost a side note at the SNP manifesto launch on Monday. For the First…

How Jim Murphy learned to stop worrying and love the Left

Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay delivered an unapologetically left-wing speech at the launch of his party’s general election manifesto. The socialist firebrand roused the faithful with pungent class warfare rhetoric as he rolled off a roster of Old Labour policies. He promised to tax high earners and their mansions and spend the money on the…

David Coburn interview shows what Ukip is and what it is not

Ukip is not the party that “stands up for ordinary people”. It is not the party that “tells it like it is” or “hits the nail on the head” or “says what everyone else is thinking”. It doesn’t “speak truth to power” or take on the “PC mob”, the “human rights brigade”, or the “Eurocrats”….

About that Scottish social democratic consensus…

Some truths are so appealing even facts can’t refute them. Received wisdom is particularly enervating in politics because it calcifies myth and frustrates free-ranging debate. We already have enough blind faith in Scottish affairs so a new poll on public attitudes towards welfare is to be welcomed for delivering a dose of reality. The YouGov…

Nicola Sturgeon had a bad debate but will it change anything?

Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t walk on water after all. The SNP leader famed for her formidable debating skills struggled to take the fight to Jim Murphy in the Scotland Debates programme. I assumed Ms Sturgeon had won before she even took to her podium. There was no way Mr Murphy could outmanoeuvre the most popular politician…