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 […]

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 […]