Why fake news is not about Michael Gove being beastly to a bichon frise

Michael Gove doesn’t have the look of a cat-strangler. You could leave your miniature dachshund in the care of the Environment Secretary and, at worst, it might find itself embroiled in a hapless Tory leadership plot.  There are, however, a great many people out there — perhaps millions — who think Mr Gove would gladly…

Nicola nipped by Yorkshire terrier’s bite

As Kezia Dugdale was put through her paces on I’m a Celebrity, her successor Richard Leonard, salt-of-the-earth Yorkshireman, was making his debut at First Minister’s Questions. Miss Dugdale found herself crawling through a tunnel of fish guts deep in the Australian jungle. Fish guts? Luxury! Richard Leonard could only dream of having a tunnel of fish…

A £2billion windfall but the SNP is still overdrawn at the bank of grievance

When is a £2billion windfall a cause for righteous indignation? When you’re the SNP and eternally overdrawn from the bank of disgruntlement.  Philip Hammond unveiled the additional money to cheers from the Tory benches during yesterday’s Budget. Three hundred miles northwards, Derek Mackay seethed. The Scottish Government Finance Secretary greeted the boost to his coffers…

Walking the Green Line

Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel Ian Black Allen Lane, pp.606 If books about the Israeli-Arab conflict were building blocks, the Palestinians would have their own state already and then some. Most volumes bring little that is fresh or challenging, so selectivity is key. Daniel Gordis and Benny Morris are essential,…

Oh Richard Leonard

Oh Jeremy Corbyn, your takeover of Labour is all but complete. Left-winger Richard Leonard has triumphed in the Scottish Labour leadership, defeating moderate rival Anas Sarwar. The Yorkshireman and former GMB official becomes the party’s sixth leader in ten years and takes over from Kezia Dugdale, who abruptly quit the post in August for the…

Holyrood sketch: No more Mr Nice Guy… The return of Angry John

To Holyrood for First Minister’s Questions, where there is a distinct lack of a First Minister. In her place sits John Swinney. Zimbabweans have ousted Robert Mugabe after a long, colourful tyranny. Could a military coup have claimed our own snazzily-dressed megalomaniac? Nicola Sturgeon would be blissfully unaware if there were tanks in the streets…

How bounders, chancers and charlatans took over politics

They can’t hide it anymore. The contempt in which the political class holds the rest of us has erupted from the confines of the bubble and oozed its way across the entire body politic. The worst politicians no longer pretend they respect us or seek our approval. Ego is all and the best interests of…

Tax talk sends the Sturgeometer into overdrive

The Sturgeometer, the most reliable scale of outrage in Scottish politics, was pealing full pitch.  A growing part of the First Minister’s job involves condemning things that are already deplored and don’t require her opprobrium but which she must be seen to be against all the same. So she summons all her lamentations and informs…

America’s unheeded prophet

Catholic, conservative, controversial — US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seldom speaks but when he does journalists’ notebooks flip open.  Recently he gave a rare interview in the course of which he diagnosed the malaise afflicting America. He asked: ‘What binds us? What do we all have in common anymore? I think we have to think about that. When…

Whenever politicians call for consensus, hide your cash

Whenever a politician calls for consensus, hide your wallet. Nothing good ever comes of the words ‘cross-party cooperation’. Working together is the surest sign they’re up to no good because, for all their grudges and enmities, the one thing they agree on is that more of your money should be in their hands. Nicola Sturgeon…

Neither bank of the Jordan

‘Two banks has the Jordan,’ runs Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s verse of Revisionist Zionism. ‘This is ours and that is as well.’ The Betar leader’s vision of Eretz Yisrael Hashlemah exists today only in songs sung by old men who remember, barely, when the lyrics carried possibility rather than lament. Even on the nationalist Right, the East…