Parliament must take back control of Brexit

Theresa May’s ‘Dear John’ letter has now dropped onto President Tusk’s desk and, to euphemise a saying popular among The Young People, feculence just got actual. In the early, sunlit days of New Labour, the left-wing comedian John O’Farrell had a skit on how the Tories, after a generation of dominating British politics, found their…

Sit down, roared Ruth. And down sat the First Minister.

Parliamentary clashes are all about the leaders but sometimes you have to peer past them, to the next generation, to grasp the mood in any given party. Nicola Sturgeon had come to Holyrood’s independence debate as the First Minister, in rhetoric at least, and issued a plea for civility. She told MSPs: ‘Many others across…

Scotland’s messianic age

An old joke sees a Jewish man accosted by some burly types on one of Glasgow’s rougher streets. “You a Catholic or a Protestant?” demands Thug A. The man, panic in his voice, insists: “I’m a Jew!” Thug A takes a step back. There is a pause but the tension remains, until Thug B pipes…

A sense of decency shouldn’t require a committee meeting

It is always the police, our selfless human shields, who suffer the first blow.  Whatever you do for a living, whatever drudgery it brings, it is humbling to remember that there are men and women whose job it is to stand between you and danger. There is much we do not know about what happened…

#Indyref2 debate: Her sleeves were rolled up and she was ready

Nicola Sturgeon called this second referendum for a dare.  She must have. There is no way she thought it was a good idea to put herself front and centre in a spectacle of the sort that played out in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.  MSPs packed the chamber to decide whether to ask Theresa May for…

Martin McGuinness – a man who put the ballot before bullets

Ulster is where memory burns long and forgiveness comes slow.  The death of Martin McGuinness will pass without the spilling of sorrow by many Unionists in Northern Ireland and here in mainland Britain, where the IRA’s terror campaign paid regular, outrageous visits, there will be those who mutter a cold ‘good riddance’.  Douglas Murray writes:  ‘[W]hile…

No peace after the PM’s victory in Four-Day War

A thousand iPhone screens lit up all at once. The humming of government-issued BlackBerrys carried the buzz. Impromptu chat groups sprung up and precious scraps were shared via direct messages. It took ten days between an anonymous tip-off and the discovery of Guy Fawkes and his 36 barrels of explosives for the Gunpowder Plot to…

MPs can no longer employ family members – and SpAds are delighted

It wasn’t quite our answer to the West Wing — too young, too cynical — but it filled a Bartlet-shaped hole in the TV schedule.  Party Animals followed a clique of sexually bipartisan political advisers at Westminster in the dying days of New Labour. Matt Smith and Andrea Riseborough played researchers to a Caroline Flintish…

Nicola Sturgeon has chosen grievance over governance

It was Hamlet as performed by the Govanhill Amateur Dramatics Society.  Nicola Sturgeon mugged for the audience of journalists as she delivered her ponderous monologue.  Flanked by saltires, framed by the adornments of Bute House, she was centre stage — where she belongs — and talking to, talking for, the nation. Pausing to mark the…

The Lost Generation who won’t get a pay rise in 15 years

On Budget Day, it’s easy to become disoriented by the miasma of statistics.  The Chancellor is hawking his numbers and the Office for Budget Responsibility theirs. The opposition chips in its take, followed by business leaders and unions. Then duelling experts start to pop up in TV studios, at which point you come to appreciate…

How Buffy the Vampire Slayer transformed pop culture

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Right there, those four ridiculous words, are why it shouldn’t have worked. What was this? Some low-camp Russ Meyer knock-off? Joss Whedon’s generation-defining TV hit debuted 20 years ago tonight. Its anniversary is being marked by the fans who adored it and the critics whose cool detachment it drove a stake…

Swinney the Slugger wins this political punch-up

The rest of them may as well have gone for an early lunch.  John Swinney was standing in at First Minister’s Questions yesterday and having the time of his life.  Nicola Sturgeon was in London for Her Majesty’s unveiling of a memorial to the fallen of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. (She still managed to…

If the SNP won the lottery, they’d complain about the cost of the ticket

What would you do with £350 million?  Pay off the mortgage? Go on a world cruise? Buy Greece? The possibilities are limitless. Unless, of course, you are the SNP. The Nationalists are positively glum about the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget that Scotland will get an extra £350 million from the Treasury. The Barnett Formula,…

If they want to stop indyref2, the silent majority cannot be silent

Nicola Sturgeon wants you to be afraid. She wants you to be afraid because people are easier to mislead when they’re afraid. Nicola Sturgeon wants you to be angry. She wants you to be angry because angry people take rash decisions.  Nicola Sturgeon wants you to be cowed. She wants you to be cowed because then…

People of faith are being driven from public life

‘They will hate you because of who I am,’ Jesus says in the Gospels. He forgot to add: ‘And the ones who don’t have a clue will point and laugh.’ It’s a lesson Carol Monaghan has learned abruptly. Monaghan is MP for Glasgow North West and a member of the Scottish National Party. A former…

Ya dancer! She might just waltz Tories into power

Ruth Davidson strode onto stage but she may as well have waltzed. The Scottish Tory leader, rubescent in her rosso corsa skirt suit, was down to deliver the closing speech to her party’s conference. But the Lady in Red was here to dance. She took the country for a few birls but it was Labour…

Theresa May’s hymn to unity was heartfelt and robust

The only thing missing was the Queen barreling out of a helicopter with Daniel Craig.  Theresa May’s speech to the Scottish Tory conference was straight out of Danny Boyle’s London 2012 spectacular — Britain as bold, bright, outward-looking nation. And like Boyle’s Olympic-opening paean to all that is good about the UK, the Prime Minister’s…

Sturgeon sneered and guffawed just like her predecessor

Humble pie, please waiter. A large portion. No, just one spoon — the lady will be dining alone. There was a delicious moment near the end of yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions when Nicola Sturgeon’s galloping ascent to the moral high ground took a tumble. Murdo Fraser noted that the SNP leader had spent last weekend…