Why you shouldn’t shout at Michelle Ballantyne

Michelle Ballantyne is a terrible person. She is cruel and without feeling. Don’t take my word for it. Everyone is saying so — or all the people who hold all the correct opinions, anyway.   The Scottish Conservative welfare spokeswoman led for her party in a Holyrood debate last Wednesday on ‘ending austerity, poverty andContinue reading “Why you shouldn’t shout at Michelle Ballantyne”

Jackson Carlaw causes unseemly outbreak of civility at FMQs

Ruddy-cheeked and hale-bodied, crowned by modest locks of greying gold, the Scottish Conservative leader cut a less dynamic than usual figure at First Minister’s Questions. This pregnancy is really taking its toll on Ruth Davidson, I thought to myself, before squinting and realising it was Jackson Carlaw. Davidson is off having a Tory tot andContinue reading “Jackson Carlaw causes unseemly outbreak of civility at FMQs”

Sorry Nicola, but your hypocrisy over Brexit is breathtaking

‘Let me say this loudly and clearly,’ Nicola Sturgeon intoned. ‘If the issue comes before the House of Commons, SNP MPs will support a People’s Vote which includes the option to remain in the EU.’ The SNP leader was addressing the People’s Vote march in London and she had to speak loudly and clearly becauseContinue reading “Sorry Nicola, but your hypocrisy over Brexit is breathtaking”

Brexit fills me with dread but People’s Vote scares me more

This is not a conversion column. It is not ‘My journey to Brexit’ or ‘A Remainer repenteth’. What follows is a resignation to reality. I voted to stay in the European Union for economic reasons and, yes, because I wanted to give a righteous two fingers to Nigel Farage and his odious hate-mongering. I stillContinue reading “Brexit fills me with dread but People’s Vote scares me more”

Mother Scotland, the Oprah Winfrey of Glasgow Southside

The spotlight, perched on high in the gods, bathed the stage. A murmur ran through the audience as the main feature began to roll. The star swept into view in bubblegum pink, ready for her close-up, and her fans erupted as they always do. All party conference speeches are performances but Nicola Sturgeon must putContinue reading “Mother Scotland, the Oprah Winfrey of Glasgow Southside”

Ian Blackford belched out words like a stubby little chimney

From every beam of every ceiling in Glasgow’s SECC droops the same giant banner: ‘HOPE’, styled in Nationalist yellow and black. From a distance, it looks like a motivational talk has got out of hand and staged a military coup. Underneath, SNP members trudge in dismay from conference halls to party tat stalls. Their onlyContinue reading “Ian Blackford belched out words like a stubby little chimney”

Richard Leonard is turning Scottish Labour into Corbynism with a kilt

After their years of navel-gazing politics provoked the populist spasms we are now contending with, the major parties have decided to inspect their belly buttons some more until the problem goes away. At least, that appears to be the strategy. How else to explain the state of politics today? The Conservatives occasionally squeeze a bitContinue reading “Richard Leonard is turning Scottish Labour into Corbynism with a kilt”

Nicola Sturgeon’s zombie government

There is an eerie pitch to Scottish politics these days. It began the year as a mumble, inaudible to all but those listening intently, but in the past few months the volume has swelled.  A cawing groan echoes through the forbidding corridors of St Andrew’s House and winds its way down Calton Hill to stalkContinue reading “Nicola Sturgeon’s zombie government”

RoboSturgeon in no mood for dancing

After Theresa May shimmied onto the conference stage in Birmingham to ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’, I had hoped Nicola Sturgeon would make more of her entrance to First Minister’s Questions. Maybe she and Derek Mackay would lead the rest of the Cabinet in a Dashing White Sergeant across the debating chamber. Great was my disappointment whenContinue reading “RoboSturgeon in no mood for dancing”

She’s the toast of the Tories but what does Ruth Davidson stand for?

I wasn’t around to see Titus welcomed back to Rome after the conquest of Jerusalem, Nelson hailed in Naples for sinking the French on the Nile, or the Lisbon Lions and their European Cup roared around Celtic Park in an open-top lorry but I got to witness Ruth Davidson’s reception at Conservative conference five monthsContinue reading “She’s the toast of the Tories but what does Ruth Davidson stand for?”