Gerald Kaufman: Labour hero, Jewish villain

Gerald Kaufman, who has died aged 86, was instrumental in saving the Labour Party, back when the Labour Party was something that could still be saved.  It was Kaufman who pithily pegged the 1983 manifesto as ‘the longest suicide note in history’. He knew the phrase would hang around the far-left and dog any attempt…

Enter the janitor – merrily mixing up MSPs and the SNP

He could have been the janitor, or a weary geography teacher begging the lower fifth to set his car the right way up again. But the shambling figure who made his way to the podium was the leader of the Labour Party. At least for now. Not because he’s likely to be opposed as Labour…

Salmond’s National Party

The 21st century is shaping up to be the era of the angry, bitter man.  On television, on social media, in the corridors of power, you can’t move for stroppy, overgrown teenagers who have lurched from puberty to middle-aged dyspepsia with no intervening period of maturity.  Donald Trump wields all the power any man could…

Sturgeon dodged a banana skin flung down by NatBot 58

When the presiding officer called on John Mason, two dozen notebooks flipped open in the press gallery. The Nationalist MSP is an odd wee polecat — you sometimes wonder if he joined the SNP for a bet — but he makes cracking copy. Like when he wanted creationism taught in schools or the time he…

Flip-flops, U-turns and proof SNP can’t be trusted on taxation

They say one man alone can’t change things. Tell that to Alex Salmond: He just upended the tax policy of a government which he (in theory) no longer leads. Over the weekend Mr Salmond broke ranks and joined the chorus of condemnation over the SNP’s inaction on business rates. Entrepreneurs, especially those in the tourism…

How to get away with murder

Given our seamy obsession with serial killers, real and fictional, one would expect the crimes of Stephen Port to have made more of a mark on the national psyche.  Port was convicted in November of the rape and murder of four young men in Barking, east London over a 15-month period. His modus operandi was cold and…

Is Donald Trump good for the Jews?

Yakov Blotnik, world-weary custodian of the synagogue in Philip Roth’s short story ‘The Conversion of the Jews’, has a simple outlook on life: “Things were either good-for-the-Jews or no-good-for-the-Jews”.  The Blotnik Test confronts us as the new administration in Washington begins to take shape. We’ve just seen the first hints of what to expect at today’s joint press…

Businesses are crying out for help but the SNP is refusing to listen

‘Small businesses sit at the heart of local economies and with the right support they will flourish… a wealthier Scotland with lower local tax and our small businesses freed from the burden of business rates and able to grow.’ Where did this bold paean to free enterprise and limited government spring from? The leader column…

John Bercow must be saved from the paroxysms of Parliament’s angry men

John Bercow is a curious little poppet.  He’s come a long way since his spotty days of undergraduate hangem’n’floggery in the Federation of Conservative Students, an organisation banned by Norman Tebbit for being too right-wing. Today he’s more likely to be found welcoming one acronym or another to Parliament or accosting the word ‘progressive’ and…

Sorry, First Minister, you don’t hold all the cards on indyref2

That’s it then, lads. Run down the Union Jack and up with the white flag. Faced with the dread prospect of another independence referendum, a gloom is settling over Unionist Scotland. The nationalists were only just subdued last time around; now they’re back and, armed with Brexit, certain to win. This year, Last Night of…

SNP tried to silence me. And their freedom to bully, vilify and malign is a chilling glimpse of one-party Scotland

The rise of nationalism around the world is a shocking, disorienting experience. Mainstream politics is under threat like at no time since the 1930s. Demagogues are coming to power, journalists face intimidation, once sturdy institutions and assumptions are collapsing like derelict tower blocks. The political character of entire countries is transforming almost overnight. Nowhere is…