Nicola: The figures are wrong. Kez: Eh, they’re yours, actually.

MSPs were heading off for their summer holidays but there was some last-minute business to attend to. Holyrood debated changes to the rules and members lined up to welcome the measures. This strongly indicated they hadn’t read them since they will allow the Presiding Officer to cut MSPs off mid-sentence when they get too long-winded….

The lady’s not for turning on independence

The referendum is dead. Long live the referendum. Nicola Sturgeon’s statement to Holyrood was billed as a ‘reset’ of her strategy on independence. She had gambled on anger at Brexit bringing her a majority for independence but the numbers did not materialise. Still, she pressed on, in some desperate hope that she could berate the…

Now Sturgeon must show humility — and get on with the day job

This is the week Nicola Sturgeon never expected to face. The First Minister is preparing to address the question of a second independence referendum. When she announced her drive for a rerun of the first plebiscite, and pushed through a vote on it at Holyrood, it looked like discontent over Brexit could carry her over…

Jeremy Corbyn and the cult of anti-knowledge

A funny thing happened on the way to the revolution. On Saturday, thousands of earnest millennials – and better-humoured Gen-Xers pretending to be millennials – gathered in a field in Somerset for a concert. The headliner was an ancient rocker of an even older tune but the crowd cherished every word as their own –…

Children of Corbyn go to war against their parents

At first glance the line-up for Glastonbury, disturbing the peace of the Somerset countryside this weekend, is unremarkable. Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard — Australian psychedelic rockers, m’lud — will be familiar to habitual attendees of this annual celebration of mud and mind-altering substances into which music occasionally intrudes. But…

Watching Trump’s Twitter come to life at FMQs

In fairness to Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale started it. The Scottish Labour leader, spoiling for a fight, told First Minister’s Questions: ‘This week, the Scottish National Party unveiled plans to cut taxes for wealthy air travellers and voted to cut off puppy dogs’ tails.’ The First Minister bared her teeth. John Swinney yapped excitedly at…

Gerard Coyne’s show trial is a stark warning to Labour moderates

‘There is no step, thought, action, or lack of action under the heavens,’ wrote Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, ‘which could not be punished by the heavy hand of Article 58’. Unite the Union’s rules appear to operate on much the same basis as the Soviet provision against ‘counter-revolutionary action’. Gerard Coyne, Unite’s West Midlands secretary, has been…

A lesson for inept politicians from parents fighting to control their school

It was an act of unforgivable cruelty. On Thursday, education secretary John Swinney stood up at Holyrood and dashed the hopes of hundreds of parents and children when he announced the Scottish Government would not support the campaign to save St Joseph’s. You might not have heard of this primary school in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire…

Independence is the SNP’s day job. Everything else is a distraction

‘Get back to the day job.’ The six magic words that delivered the Scottish Tories their best election night in decades. Ruth Davidson recited this incantation endlessly during the campaign and Labour and the Liberal Democrats quickly joined in. As messages go, it was blunt but effective, capturing the public mood that Nicola Sturgeon has…

The SNP will soon learn why denial eventually turns into grief

In 1969, the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her theory that, after a shocking loss, grief comes in five stages. First, there is denial, which gives way to anger, and then to an attempt to bargain away the pain. After this, comes depression and finally, when the truth can be postponed no longer, there is acceptance….

Ditch the West Wing fantasists… it’s time to embrace a new politics

If you hadn’t heard of Nick Timothy or Fiona Hill before this weekend, you are not alone. The Prime Minister’s co-chiefs of staff (the government oversees a sluggish economy but it knows how to create jobs in all the right places) have resigned their posts in the wake of Theresa May’s calamitous election result. The…

The night of the long claymores

It was the night of the long claymores. One after one, the frontline of Scottish nationalism fell. Alex Salmond — gone. Angus Robertson — gone. John Nicolson — gone. The terrain of the nation’s politics has been redrawn; familiar peaks have collapsed and new ascents have risen in their place. Scottish politics has changed a…

Labour has surrendered to Corbynism

When I heard the Tories were cutting a deal with a party of bigots and terrorist-sympathisers, I thought, ‘would a national unity government really work?’ It turns out Theresa May is tapping up the DUP rather than the Labour Party. PMQs is accused of ‘yah-boo politics’ as it is; wait till the questions are asked…

Britain’s Dark Moment

It is as if Richard Nixon had lost the 1972 presidential election—and not to George McGovern but to Gus Hall. British PM Theresa May called a snap poll to capitalize on Labour’s lurch to the extreme left and bulk up her majority as Britain embarks on the Brexit process. She went into the campaign with…

By loving independence so much, the SNP may have killed it

When Alex Salmond lost the Scottish independence referendum, he sought to console himself and the ranks of the vanquished by declaring ‘the dream shall never die’. It was the salve that soothed the disappointment of a nationalist movement. But today that dream appears to lie in ruins. Two years ago, the SNP swept all before…

Last time she told a whopper was a generation ago

Ruth Davidson enjoys First Minister’s Questions beyond what is proper and decent. There are a dozen members of the public watching — half if there’s a Columbo on ITV2 — but the Scottish Tory leader puts on a show for them. How she relishes tormenting Nicola Sturgeon. Before Miss Davidson became head of the opposition…

Nothing can justify a vote for Jeremy Corbyn

For Labour moderates agonising over whether they can vote for the party led by Jeremy Corbyn, an answer to their dilemma comes from a surprising quarter.   The quandary of party or principles comes down to whether you agree with Margaret Thatcher or Enoch Powell. Early in her premiership, Mrs T paid a visit to the…

Kezia took a round… right in the foot

We made it. Six weeks of these ghastly, preening, pontificating characters hectoring us every time we tune in for the weather forecast and finally the end is in sight. By ten o’clock tomorrow night, it’ll all be over and we can go back to getting our political debate from Gogglebox. The STV debate was branded…

When will the Six-Day War finally end?

This week, Israel is marking the 50th anniversary of its improbable victory over Arab assassins. Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser saw annihilation of the Jewish state as a uniting mission for his project of pan-Arab nationalism and had declared: ‘Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood.’ In June 1967, he enlisted Syria and Jordan…

Jeremy Corbyn has just given the best speech of the election campaign

Campaigning starts again tomorrow, but in his speech in Carlisle today Jeremy Corbyn made what is – for any Labour leader – a fairly obvious point: You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the Police…

Rebel with a cause

Ruth Davidson is not an obvious choice to lead a revolution. But out there in the country, from the family farms of the Borders to the fishing enclaves of the North East, from central belt suburbs to the rolling hills of Perthshire, a rebellion is brewing — and Miss Davidson finds herself its de facto…