Rumpole of the Baillie shines in FMQs courtroom drama

Jackie Baillie, the Helensburgh Hitwoman, takes out her targets cleanly. Dumbarton’s answer to Liam Neeson, she has a very particular set of skills and occasionally uses them on someone other than the Labour Left. Yesterday, it was Nicola Sturgeon and whether she contravened ministerial rules, a matter under consideration by Irish QC James Hamilton.  ‘If theContinue reading “Rumpole of the Baillie shines in FMQs courtroom drama”

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a straight answer…

Can I ask, Mr Murrell: is there anybody in the room with you?’ For a moment, I thought I had tuned into an impromptu Holyrood seance instead of the harassment committee. Jackie Baillie was giving SNP high heid yin Peter Murrell a forensic once-over via Zoom when she abruptly objected: ‘You keep looking off toContinue reading “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a straight answer…”

Separate state? I’m more worried about a failed state

Everyone agrees: no one understands. At least that is the consensus on the Alex Salmond affair within the political and media bubble. The general public, so the thinking runs, finds the whole saga so bafflingly labyrinthine that they zone out when the story pops up in the newspaper.  There is, MSPs and journalists lament, noContinue reading “Separate state? I’m more worried about a failed state”

The case for a public inquiry

Sometimes there are breaking points that can’t be ignored. The inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond has just suffered another low, dispiriting week. That does not distinguish the past seven days from any others since the committee began its work but the accumulation of indignities and inadequacies hasContinue reading “The case for a public inquiry”

Sturgeon’s independence roadmap is a dead end

The SNP says it has a ‘roadmap to a referendum’. Over the weekend, constitution secretary Mike Russell published an 11-point plan for a plebiscite on independence ‘that is beyond legal challenge’ and would be held after May’s Holyrood election. The wheeze is that, unless the UK Government accedes, the SNP-controlled Edinburgh parliament would simply passContinue reading “Sturgeon’s independence roadmap is a dead end”

Sturgeon objects to ‘spin’; irony in critical condition

Watching Holyrood these days requires Olympian stamina and a boundless supply of optimism. The longer the First Minister’s statements get, the more depressing they become. Nicola Sturgeon’s message to MSPs yesterday can be summed up in four words: Nothing’s changed. Any questions? Actually, that’s not quite true. The reopening of schools and nurseries is changingContinue reading “Sturgeon objects to ‘spin’; irony in critical condition”

The Hungry Hungry Hippos approach to government

We should consider doing away with podiums. Every time Nicola Sturgeon gets behind one, we lose another freedom. The First Minister pounced from her Holyrood perch again yesterday, gobbling up what remains of our liberties like Hungry Hungry Hippos with statutory powers. Before First Minister’s Questions kicked off, she previewed a ‘further tightening of theContinue reading “The Hungry Hungry Hippos approach to government”