Letter to a Prime Minister in more trouble than he realises

Dear Boris, Welcome back to Scotland. It’s always good to see a Prime Minister travelling north of the border, even when he isn’t convinced there is a border. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to see you and some nationalists even think you ought to have secured permission to come here. That is absurd, though noContinue reading “Letter to a Prime Minister in more trouble than he realises”

That’s not a power grab, THIS is a power grab

They say the older you get the more right-wing you get but I find myself becoming more contemptuous of politicians of all stripes. Maybe this is how the education of a young idealist plays out: the faster the years pass, the greater the impatience with the failure of political promises to manifest in material change.Continue reading “That’s not a power grab, THIS is a power grab”

Sunak’s bailout billions mean tough choices ahead

Poor old Boris. He’s not even been Prime Minister a full year and already his replacement is being anointed. Rishi Sunak is the heir apparent, apparently, and it is not simply because of his largesse with the national credit card. His handling of the coronavirus recession has been impressive, not least for managing to keepContinue reading “Sunak’s bailout billions mean tough choices ahead”

Stand up for the Union or lose it

Patriotism can take many forms but the real dividing line is between inclusion and exclusion. Inclusive patriotism sees love of country as a uniting force, something that can transcend social, racial and religious differences to bring people together. A patriot’s admiration and sense of duty are not contained within lines on a map and heContinue reading “Stand up for the Union or lose it”

Praise be! Pubs (and churches) to re-open

Sometimes I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon ever sleeps. Not only does she have to run the country and the campaign to set up a new country, but leading the Covid-19 response has brought her an unexpected career move: live TV host. As lunchtime talk shows go, her daily coronavirus updates are grim, repetitive, and depressing, butContinue reading “Praise be! Pubs (and churches) to re-open”

Neil Oliver and Scotland’s cultural purge

After three years in the post, Neil Oliver’s decision to stand down as president of the National Trust for Scotland should be an occasion for sincere thanks. The television historian should be congratulated for his contributions and shown gratitude for his service to protecting and promoting Scottish heritage. Passion and public-spiritedness, both of which Oliver displaysContinue reading “Neil Oliver and Scotland’s cultural purge”

The future of the Union is in Michael Gove’s hands

Who is the most important figure in government? Not Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister is the front-of-house manager but those are subject to change every five years. Nor is it Dominic Cummings, central though he is to this administration’s policy and positioning. No, the answer is Michael Gove. The ceremonial duties of the Chancellor ofContinue reading “The future of the Union is in Michael Gove’s hands”

Sturgeon’s media meltdown: Salmondism without Salmond

Alex Salmond made an unexpected return to St Andrew’s House yesterday. Nicola Sturgeon delivered the daily coronavirus briefing but the tone was unmistakably that of her predecessor. There was the high indignation and low sarcasm, delivered with the familiar troika of political peevishness: the snark, the snarl and the sneer. Forced attempts at bonhomie wereContinue reading “Sturgeon’s media meltdown: Salmondism without Salmond”