John MacKay and a generation of change in Scotland

‘Where does John MacKay sit?’ The seating arrangements of the STV newsroom are a source of curiosity for some, and often the first question posed when it is discovered that you work for the broadcaster. There is an assumption that the presenter is enthroned in an opulent office on the top floor, deigning only to…

The most scandalous book you will read about Better Together

Project Fear: How an Unlikely Alliance Left a Kingdom United but a Country Divided By Joe Pike Biteback, pp. 320 Joe Pike is the last person you’d expect to write a scandalous account of the campaign against independence. Polemicists like Kevin McKenna or Brian Wilson, perhaps. David Torrance, maybe; he has a new book to go with…

Public won’t allow Corbyn to ban the bomb

The British Army is going soft. A week into Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and only now has the prospect of a coup been raised. Labour’s number one comrade pals around with terrorists, fails to condemn the IRA and wants to cripple western military power. I’d have expected targeted airstrikes by Wednesday last week. A “senior serving…

The Prime Minister, the pig and the principles at stake

At least now we know why Kermit and Miss Piggy split up. According to a tell-all book by Tory moneybags Lord Ashcroft, David Cameron had intimate contact with a deceased member of the porcine community during his time at Oxford. Cameron supposedly porked the piglet as part of an initiation ceremony for Piers Gaveston, an…

Cameron stands to be the winner of Corbyn’s new politics

Crashing bores have had Prime Minister’s Questions in their sights for years now. All those vinegar-faced finger-waggers who want “new politics” and “consensus” and “engagement” – that is, political debate without the debate – have been itching to turn the weekly spectacle into a half-hour of polite head-nodding. They want to make it… constructive. Today…

Labour has abandoned its purpose and those who rely on it

At this point David Cameron could nuke Yorkshire and get away with it. The Labour Party, founded to seek power in the interests of working people, has decided that power is something dirty and it would much rather feel good about itself. To atone for the sin of winning three general elections, they have chosen…

What does Jeremy Corbyn mean for Scotland and the SNP?

Good news, Scottish Labour – your eight years in the wilderness are about to come to an end. Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the UK party and as his Scottish boosters assured us during the campaign his anti-austerity agenda is poised to return Scotland to the Labour fold. The SNP was swept to…

For the sake of the monarchy, long may the Queen reign

Oh to be a republican today. The flags, the bunting, the crowds crammed into Edinburgh’s Waverley Station iPhones at the ready. Cloying front pages, peppy breakfast presenters and breathless royal correspondents. Royalist Britain — which is to say Britain — in a carnival atmosphere for its sovereign’s special day. It must be hell. The Queen’s…

David Cameron is wrong on refugees but he’s not the only one

“Anyone here been raped and speaks English?” one of those brilliant bastards of the trade would proclaim upon arriving in the latest war zone. That reporterly black humour speaks not just to Fleet Street cynicism but to the reality of foreign news: It feels very far away until it reaches our shores. The rising tide…

Independence is coming. It’s now only a matter of time.

Let’s just get this out of the way right from the start: Scotland is going to be independent in our lifetime. I know it seemed like we said No in last year’s referendum but it was actually “not right now”. The timing wasn’t right, key questions remained unanswered, and Alex Salmond just rubbed some people…

Nicola Sturgeon goes back to basics in policy agenda speech

In politics, celebrated strategist Kenny Rogers (almost) advised, you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to keep people who read the Daily Mail on side. That is what Nicola Sturgeon does in her programme for government, unveiled in Edinburgh on Tuesday. The delivery was calm and assured…