We cannot let this be the final chapter for libraries

The Coatbridge of my childhood had four corners: The school, the church, the video store, and the public library. Today, only the church survives and the status of religion being what it is, I wonder for how much longer that will be. My school, St Ambrose High School, the educational pride of the Lanarkshire town,Continue reading “We cannot let this be the final chapter for libraries”

Labour’s manifesto reveals one thing: the Left has run out of ideas

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Labour, Noam Chomsky goes and endorses Jeremy Corbyn.  ‘If I were a voter in Britain, I would vote for him…He’s quiet, reserved, serious, he’s not a performer,’ Chomsky told the Guardian. But the more you read of Chomsky’s endorsement, the more you wonder if heContinue reading “Labour’s manifesto reveals one thing: the Left has run out of ideas”

Theresa May is the Mrs Brown’s Boys prime minister

Theresa May’s appearance on the One Show was awkward, halting, and unrevealing. It was a million sofas away from Tony Blair’s smooth and easy chat show turns. It was in truth rather dull.  It was a resounding success. May, accompanied by husband Philip, fielded questions about when she knew she wanted to be Prime Minister,Continue reading “Theresa May is the Mrs Brown’s Boys prime minister”

Generation’s life chances sacrificed on the altar of independence

If the SNP was being marked on its handling of Scottish education over the last decade, it wouldn’t get an F — it would get expelled. Education was central to the Nationalist pitch in 2007, back when they still pretended to care about things other than BBC mind control and Union Jacks on punnets ofContinue reading “Generation’s life chances sacrificed on the altar of independence”

My survival plan for Labour (it’s not to get Diane Abbott to count the votes)

At risk of giving away the ending, the Labour Party is probably done for. Assuming the polls aren’t fantastically wrong and the British people haven’t lost their minds, Jeremy Corbyn is heading for defeat on June 8. The potential scale of the routing is being described as ‘historic’, since it looks set to be unparalleledContinue reading “My survival plan for Labour (it’s not to get Diane Abbott to count the votes)”

Stuck in the middle with Ruth

Ferguslie Park has one claim to fame and one claim to infamy. The Paisley housing estate inspired the title of Stealers Wheel’s second album; Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, the folk-rock band’s founders, were born and raised in the town. Ferguslie Park is also the poorest place in Scotland. The Scottish Index of Multiple DeprivationContinue reading “Stuck in the middle with Ruth”

A quiet revolution in faith schooling

In a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Glasgow, a quiet revolution in faith schooling is under way. Pupils and teachers in Newton Mearns might be counting down the weeks till the summer holidays but come the autumn they launch a bold experiment. For around 650 youngsters will start the next school year at aContinue reading “A quiet revolution in faith schooling”

SNP facing a fight as Scots turn to Tories

Like a faded starlet spurned by the spotlight, Scotland is struggling to pull in the crowds this election season. We got used to being the centre of attention in the 2014 independence referendum and again in 2015 when it looked like Britain was heading for a hung parliament with the SNP as kingmakers. Last May,Continue reading “SNP facing a fight as Scots turn to Tories”

#FMQs sketch: Why does Murdo Fraser hate Scotland?

And so, on the eve of Scotland’s local election, it fell to Murdo Fraser, the Tories’ chief Nat-baiter, to stoke the political fire.  He riled the SNP by asking Nicola Sturgeon about Scotland’s low rates of immigration. First Minister’s Questions had been brought forward to avoid a clash with today’s vote. Thoughtlessly so, since thisContinue reading “#FMQs sketch: Why does Murdo Fraser hate Scotland?”

The moral agony of the lifelong Labour voter

It’s the dilemma facing millions of moderate Labour voters: can they in good conscience support their party this time around without endorsing Jeremy Corbyn? This is no mere academic puzzler. Many are horrified at the transformation of their party from Europe’s most successful social democratic movement into a glorified protest group, and one with moreContinue reading “The moral agony of the lifelong Labour voter”