The high stakes of Salmond vs. Sturgeon

Alex Salmond’s seven-year reign as first minister of Scotland was a regal affair. Chauffeur-driven cars ferried him to and from his preferred restaurants. Wine and champagne flowed during interviews and social meetings with journalists. Then, one morning in November 2014, it all vanished and power passed abruptly to his heir, Nicola Sturgeon. Uneasy lies theContinue reading “The high stakes of Salmond vs. Sturgeon”

Rhetoric: Nigel Farage, Volume: Foghorn Leghorn

The antidote to support for independence is five minutes spent watching the proceedings of the Scottish parliament. Holyrood was summoned back from its holidays yesterday so the First Minister could harrumph about the Brexit deal. Most folk would prefer to be in their jammies nursing half-empty tins of Quality Street while flicking through 300 channelsContinue reading “Rhetoric: Nigel Farage, Volume: Foghorn Leghorn”

Clinging on to hope in a Covid Christmas

Just when it seemed 2020 had done its worst, our annus miserabilis delivers one more wretched surprise. Christmas is cancelled. Nicola Sturgeon has cut our five-day festive grace period down to one and barely will we have our sprouts digested than all of mainland Scotland will be placed on level-four lockdown. No indoor gatherings, pubs andContinue reading “Clinging on to hope in a Covid Christmas”

Scotland’s untouchable ruling class

It was the faintest crease, there and gone again. As SNP chief executive Peter Murrell gave evidence to the Alex Salmond inquiry, a hairline fracture of contempt cleaved across his mouth. Some committee members found his statements inconsistent, others incredible, and they said so, but Murrell was cool, unfazed, in control. Nicola Sturgeon was justContinue reading “Scotland’s untouchable ruling class”

‘I am the First Minister, not the office gossip’

The stench grows thicker around the SNP hierarchy. A distinct odour of something-isn’t-right-here. Peter Murrell, party chief executive and spouse of Nicola Sturgeon, appeared before Holyrood’s Alex Salmond inquiry on Tuesday. His evidence had more holes than Turnberry and there are already calls for him to be hauled back. But when the Scottish Tory leaderContinue reading “‘I am the First Minister, not the office gossip’”

‘I’m sorry, Mr Murrell, I find it hard to believe you’

Committee Room 1 is a squat oval on the ground floor of the Scottish parliament. It is an unremarkable room but governments like this one end up in rooms like this – one way or another. After the glory, after the vanity, comes the banal indignity of cheap carpets and glaring lights. Under their unforgivingContinue reading “‘I’m sorry, Mr Murrell, I find it hard to believe you’”

The coming coup against Nicola Sturgeon

Political parties, when they go unchallenged long enough, end up challenging themselves. The events of the past seven days signal that the SNP is entering this phase of its long sojourn in power.  Elections to the party’s National Executive Committee tend not to capture headlines but last week’s results were an exception. In what lookedContinue reading “The coming coup against Nicola Sturgeon”

Queen Nicola

The £500 NHS bonus is dubious policy but great politics, so when Richard Leonard tried to question the former he fell victim to the latter. The Scottish Labour leader isn’t against the payment; he just wondered why other frontline workers weren’t getting a tidy sum in their Christmas stocking. He told Nicola Sturgeon: ‘£500 isContinue reading “Queen Nicola”