The grammar of 21st century terrorism is depressingly familiar by now. First comes the outrage: Innocents savagely cut down going about their lives. Then the reaction, as politicians emote, 24-hour news speculates, and viewers gasp at the brazen, bloody theatrics. We move quickly onto the clichés. "They hate us for our freedom." "Terrorism is caused … Continue reading Tunisia shows there is no opting out of struggle against Islamism
I am writing this from a coffee shop in Edinburgh. Half the people in the room are tapping away on laptops, smartphones or tablets. Who knows what they're doing. Some might be emailing clients. Others will be checking Facebook. At least one might be updating a Tumblr dedicated exclusively to Photoshops of Jim Murphy as … Continue reading The speech Nicola Sturgeon could give to put an end to cybernats
Never speak ill of the dead, our mothers instructed us, and I suppose that taboo extends to the dying. But those shuffling off this mortal coil are encumbered by no such niceties. Indeed, they can be vicious, lashing out frantically at everyone else, dreading the looming inevitable. Scottish Labour is raging against the dying of … Continue reading Watching Scottish Labour fade away made for awkward viewing
There are two questions which, unlikely as it seems, go to the heart of Scottish nationalism today. Question One: Is JK Rowling Scottish or English? If your answer to our first question is “Scottish”, you are probably a civic nationalist. Your framework of belonging is inclusive and dependent on choice and geography rather than heritage. If, … Continue reading Civic or ethnic nationalist: Can you pass the Quidditch Test?
World War II didn’t actually end in 1945, you might be surprised to learn. Japan’s aggression against the Allied Forces in fact ceased on March 11, 1974. Or at least it did for Hiroo Onoda, a second lieutenant in the Imperial Army, who finally surrendered on that day. Onoda spent 29 years cut off from … Continue reading Labour is the Hiroo Onoda of Scottish politics
The Labour Party goes through bouts of introspection. At these times, which inevitably follow electoral reversal, Labour throws all its energies into internal dispute. It was famously said of the Left in the 1980s that they "refused to compromise with the electorate". Doctrinal purity or factional harmony has all too often taken precedence over winning … Continue reading Leadership contest shows Labour needs to get serious
Every pundit in Scotland knows what ails the Labour Party and the prescription for its malaise. We’ve written many columns and monopolised hours of airtime telling you so. On Saturday, Jim Murphy took his turn to lay out a framework for reforming Scottish Labour and electing a new leader and deputy leader. He did so … Continue reading Jim Murphy hands Scottish Labour a chance to rebuild