Sturgeonspeak: A guide to dodging tricky questions

Mairi who?  It was halfway through First Minister’s Questions when the Presiding Officer called a backbencher. The name sounded like ‘goujon’, though that might have been because lunchtime was approaching. From the din of desk-thumpers behind Nicola Sturgeon — She Who Must Be Applauded At All Times — up popped Mairi Gougeon, who it turns…

Colin Kaepernick takes a knee in America’s culture war

American football is rugby played badly but they seem insistent on it. Place kicks and end-runs are as bound up in American identity as mom, apple pie and the flag. As such, NFL games are occasions for overt displays of patriotism that are probably benign but nonetheless unsettling to British audiences. The most ostentatious of…

Our faith in politics vanished as dunces replaced firebrands

Sir Teddy Taylor. The name was enough to return a resounding ‘hear, hear’ from Tories and a gasp of horror from liberals. The MP for Glasgow Cathcart and later Southend East, who died on Wednesday, was the sort of politician the euphemism ‘colourful’ was invented for. He was also a man of strong, if not…

Et tu, Alex? Day Sarwar’s ambitions were skewered

Friends, comrades, snivelling Blairite sellouts. Alex Rowley might not have come to bury Anas Sarwar but he may as well have. Whatever possessed Labour’s interim leader to launch into a jeremiad against millionaires, his well-coined would-be successor wound up with a dagger in his back. The scene was First Minister’s Questions, yesterday. Enter stage Left,…

Let us all pray for religion. It is slowly dying as a force in public life.

It is the last taboo, a predilection indulged by a small segment of the population and looked upon with disapproval by mainstream society. In Scotland, just seven percent will admit their involvement and even then they are reluctant to talk about it. Churchgoing is a minority pursuit these days, and if you attended services yesterday…

Notes on the Scottish Daily Mail poll

The Scottish Daily Mail has an interesting poll on Holyrood voting intentions.  It’s actually got findings on much more and I’d recommend you pick up a copy of the paper or check out the digital subscription deals here.   Before we go any further, it’s just one poll, remember the margin of error, and the next…

Nicola Sturgeon takes Brexit myth out for a spin

A rare joy of First Minister’s Questions is spotting the Toady of the Week, the Nationalist backbencher who bids to ingratiate themselves by asking Nicola Sturgeon the softest question. It’s a balancing act and all too easy to trip over your forelock as you tug it. Sometimes it’s James Dornan, the Glasgow Grunter, who confronts…

Roald Dahl — National treasure, Nazi sympathiser

It’s Roald Dahl Day, Britain’s annual celebration of one of its most venerated children’s authors.  No family bookshelf is complete without a volume or two from the Welsh-born conjuror of juvenile joy and nightmares. Dahl understood the youthful imagination — its fierce moralism and rage against hypocrisy; the half-wonder, half-terror at these towering masses of…

Anas Sarwar may be a bad socialist but he’s trying to be a good father

Let’s not talk about politics this week. At least not the rows and resentments at Holyrood; the ghastly business will still be there a week from now. Let’s talk about something more precious, far more difficult to negotiate. Let’s talk about love. No politics, however lofty, can match the idealism of love, especially the love…

Alex Rowley doesn’t end sentences, he lays them to rest

‘As the Fuuurst Minnnnnister would expeccccct, I dispute the figurrrrrres for who cooooommitted to what buhhht the issue is…’ It was Alex Rowley’s debut at First Minister’s Questions. He is standing in as Labour leader while they find their seventh leader in a decade. No wonder they want to ban zero-hours contracts; it’s the only…

A weary list of recycled pledges… no wonder the Greens love the SNP

Ever had the feeling that you’ve been somewhere before? That notion that what you are seeing or hearing is elusively familiar? Call it deja vu or groundhog day, the effect can be disorienting and so it was yesterday at Holyrood when Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her Programme for Government.  This was the First Minister’s keenly-anticipated, game-changing…

Who are the contenders to lead Scottish Labour?

They both went to private school but were drawn to Left-wing politics. Now, Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard are in a battle for the leadership of Scottish Labour following the shock resignation of Kezia Dugdale. Here, STEPHEN DAISLEY examines what the two pretenders to the throne believe and asks what do they offer their party…

SNP foreign forays are about selling independence, not Irn-Bru to Indians

It might have escaped your attention but we appointed a new ambassador to the United States last week.  Fans of the incumbent Sir Kim Darroch needn’t fear; he remains in post. By ‘we’ I mean Scotland. Joni Smith was announced as the Scottish Affairs Counsellor to North America at the same time as Martin McDermott…