1000 reasons why Jim Murphy’s nurses pledge needs a rethink

At first glimpse, Jim Murphy’s 1000 nurses announcement bears all the hallmarks of canny policy. It’s bold, makes clear Scottish Labour’s commitment to the NHS, and shifts the focus to the SNP for a counter-offer. This is not an easy ask for the Nationalists; they do not enjoy access to the kind of resources the […]

A strong start for Dugdale but Sturgeon remains untouchable

The keenest-sought accolade in Scottish politics today is to be deemed to have had “a good referendum”. Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, and Jim Murphy all had good referendums. Johann Lamont, Alistair Carmichael, and Anas Sarwar generally did not. Kezia Dugdale, though, secured her good referendum status later than most, winning praise for her impressive turn […]

Neil Findlay outlines his vision for a socialist Scotland

Neil Findlay has no business being a politician. The brickie turned housing officer turned teacher turned MSP didn’t come up through the special adviser/policy wonk ranks like so many parliamentarians today. And it shows. He doesn’t talk like a career politician, in it for power and position. That sincerity shouldn’t be confused for the poisonous […]

Interview: Jim Murphy on patriotism, socialism and Labour’s future

Jim Murphy loves Scotland. I know this because he assures me of it at least a dozen times in a half-hour interview. Scotland is his country. He’s proud of it. He intends to do well by it. Asked why he wants to lead Scottish Labour, the first thing he says is: “It sounds trite, but […]

Gordon Brown: A flawed giant who got a rare second act in political life

“There are no second acts in American lives,” F. Scott Fitzgerald once lamented. As an admirer of the American political scene – he idolises Robert F Kennedy and his “strain of moral commitment” – Gordon Brown could have been forgiven for assuming his defeat at the 2010 general election would similarly curtail his political career. […]

Facebook Q&A and interview: Scottish Labour candidate Sarah Boyack

If Twitter is where nuance goes to die, Facebook is where crazy lets its hair down. The unrestricted post-length allows the angry and the aggrieved to inveigh until their heart’s content. Into this social media bear pit stepped Sarah Boyack, Lothian MSP and contender for Scottish Labour leader, in a live question and answer session […]

A sneak peek at David Torrance’s independence referendum diary

It’s Wednesday, so David Torrance has a new book out. The hipster historian is the Scottish commentariat’s answer to Dame Barbara Cartland, though his similarly prolific output comes without those glorious lashings of fragrant fuchsia. We think. La Torrance’s latest effort is 100 Days of Hope and Fear: How Scotland’s Independence Referendum was Lost and […]

Leadership debate returns Labour to the devolutionist cause

At some point after setting up the Scottish Parliament, Labour forgot that it had done so. The party that was the political driving force behind the Scottish Constitutional Convention and that campaigned on and delivered the most far-reaching constitutional change since the Fifth Reform Act, became complacent and began to drift. There were dedicated Labour […]

Sturgeon’s attack on Labour foreshadows the next election

PERTH, United Kingdom You were supposed to take two messages from Nicola Sturgeon’s first conference speech as leader of the Scottish National Party. First, independence remains very much on the agenda and the constitutional question will rumble on. Second, hers will be a party and a Scottish Government that drives its tanks onto Scottish Labour’s […]

Welsh nationalists look to Scotland for a way forward

PERTH, United Kingdom Here in Perth, the SNP is basking in the glory of its referendum defeat. Where its opponents expected the Nationalists to sink into in-fighting and bitter recriminations, the party has never been in better shape. A membership boost of 65,000 has made it the third largest party in the UK and the […]