The First Minister is like Judith Chalmers in reverse

Willie Rennie is a Lib Dem for people who otherwise view Lib Dems with suspicion. He spurns sandals in favour of sensible brogues and does not have the look of a man who carries an emergency supply of lentils on his person at all times. I doubt a spoonful of muesli has ever passed his…

They may lean to the Left but today’s millennials are the real reactionaries

Trigger warning. This column contains ideas you may disagree with and pursues arguments that could cause distress to your existing worldview. Those of a sensitive disposition are advised to find a safe space.  Such advisories are becoming commonplace, another layer of cotton wool for a civilisation insulating itself to the point of suffocation. Last week…

Stop picking our pockets

Bad ideas in politics bubble up from a murky soup of groupthink and received wisdom. Research lays out the pluses and minuses of a given course of action. Policy wonks focus on the findings they consider most palatable to the government of the day. Senior civil servants anticipate ministerial preferences and trim back recommendations accordingly….

Strepsil Sturgeon wheezes on but it’s the same old story

Right from the start she was heading Left. Nicola Sturgeon, suited up in Kremlin red, marched on stage to rouse the masses from a podium branded ‘progress’. The First Minister had got herself one of those radical visions that are all the rage these days. Socialism is now so mainstream they’ll be selling it in…

A pantomime for the party faithful – Oh yes, it was…

Party conferences are the pantomime season of political life. Star turns and bit players tread the boards, competing for the limelight with hammy monologues and broad humour. There are in-jokes, knowing looks, the familiarity that nods through gags that would otherwise be considered a bit on the edge. Everyone has a hearty laugh, heads down…

Progress is bashing Tories and Labour at the same time

Like a sharp-suited shark-hunter, John Swinney dumped the chum in the water and waited. The blood pooled out, the scent spread, and the feeding frenzy began. It was the first day of SNP conference in Glasgow and Nationalists were having a right old time tearing chunks out of the opposition. The Deputy First Minister got…

Can Nicola Sturgeon talk her way out of a P45?

Theresa May’s Manchester meltdown was unfolding on live television, like a particularly excruciating Fisherman’s Friend advert, and Nicola Sturgeon was watching nervously 200 miles to the north. The First Minister fired off a tweet: ‘Spare a thought for those of us still to deliver our conference speech and now fretting about all the things that…

What’s the story? Manchester Tories need to find a new oasis of capitalism

There is no rule that says all great things must come from Manchester, it just seems to work out that way. The Warehouse City lays claim to some of England’s finest writers, from Jack Rosenthal to Howard Jacobson, and from its post-industrial streets emerged sounds to define generations of British pop. Without Manchester there would…