Pain, loss, and the miserably high price of seizing Scottish Labour’s poison chalice

Not many party leaders launch their political career on a sofa in front of daytime TV but that is where it all began for Kezia Dugdale. The Aberdeen University graduate was 23, unemployed and bingeing on trashy talk shows in her Edinburgh flat when her roommate came out with a curious suggestion — Dugdale should […]

Control-freak SNP and its vast army of spin doctors see facts as the enemy

‘When the facts change, I change my mind,’ said the economist John Maynard Keynes. When the facts change, the Scottish Government changes the facts.  This secretive, control-crazed administration has been caught changing the facts again. This time their blue pencil set to work on an Audit Scotland report into colleges, a sector which has suffered […]

Corbyn wiped the smirk off SNP faces. Will he do the same to the Unionists?

Jeremy Corbyn might be a saviour of the Union. Alternatively, he might help bury it. So tumultuous is our political life these days that it’s impossible to predict which course events will take.  It’s like those childhood favourites, the Choose Your Own Adventure books, that allowed junior readers to change the plot at key moments […]

Forget No.10, Ruth is aiming for Bute House

In fractious times, Ruth Davidson is the great Tory unifier. Brexiteers love her, Remainers adore her. Left and right, young and old, urban and rural, there is no faction that does not sing her praises. Her public utterances on everything from social justice to immigration lead the BBC news bulletins. Serious people speak seriously about […]

SNP’s road to the Promised Land has turned into a path to penury

Scottish politics has come to resemble a never-ending courtroom drama, with Nicola Sturgeon the hostile witness in the dock. The First Minister was at the heart of the dishonest, two-year campaign for independence, the longest attempted mugging in history. She tried the same confidence trick again after the EU referendum but by then the country […]

Blood, outrage and tears… and why we have to challenge every extremist

How do you drive a van into a crowd of people? What dark justifications gird your mind as the key turns in the ignition and your foot connects with the pedal? What aberration of the human soul seeks the glory of God in the random slaughter of the innocent? The terrorist attacks in Barcelona and […]

Frank watched his final goal and asked me: ‘Who scored that?’

Amanda Kopel steps onto the pitch at Tannadice and it all comes back. This is where her husband Frank spent ten years of his career as a footballer. It was at Dundee United that he scored his most celebrated goal, a shot from the 40-yard line in the 1979 UEFA Cup first-round match against RSC […]

Stuck in the middle – the demand for a new centrist party isn’t from the voters

If only we could all be more like Richard Tull. As the antihero of Martin Amis’s novel The Information, the anguished writer has fallen out of favour with the literary crowd but still aspires to their pretensions – not least in politics, where he feels at home among the soft-Left consensus of Tory-fatigued, mid-Nineties London. […]

Have you heard the one about a has-been MP and his fruity festival show?

It was roughly at the fifth S&M joke that I settled in and began to enjoy Alex Salmond’s Edinburgh Fringe show. You would think the former First Minister would have had his fill after being spanked on election night by the Tories. But kinkiness was a running gag in yesterday’s hour-long show, with innuendo about […]