About that Scottish social democratic consensus…

Some truths are so appealing even facts can’t refute them. Received wisdom is particularly enervating in politics because it calcifies myth and frustrates free-ranging debate. We already have enough blind faith in Scottish affairs so a new poll on public attitudes towards welfare is to be welcomed for delivering a dose of reality. The YouGovContinue reading “About that Scottish social democratic consensus…”

Nicola Sturgeon had a bad debate but will it change anything?

Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t walk on water after all. The SNP leader famed for her formidable debating skills struggled to take the fight to Jim Murphy in the Scotland Debates programme. I assumed Ms Sturgeon had won before she even took to her podium. There was no way Mr Murphy could outmanoeuvre the most popular politicianContinue reading “Nicola Sturgeon had a bad debate but will it change anything?”

Gordon Brown bows out in style, with substance

Gordon Brown is all substance and no style. We know this to be true because lots of people say it over and over. It’s said by his admirers (“unlike You Know Who” they often add) and by his detractors, who deem him insufficiently image-friendly for modern, media-driven politics. His final speech to Parliament on ThursdayContinue reading “Gordon Brown bows out in style, with substance”

What have the Liberal Democrats ever done for us?

The Scottish Liberal Democrats, such as remain, gathered in Aberdeen over the weekend for their party conference. Every inch of the proceedings was soaked in dread, like watching an old children’s film just knowing the dog’s getting shot at some point. Members know how hated their party has become for its governing alliance with theContinue reading “What have the Liberal Democrats ever done for us?”

Anti-immigrationism has poisoned politics in Britain

A hysteria grips this fair country of ours. It is not a feverish fandom for a footballer or a pop group or a shiny new gadget. It is not the 950,000 signatories to the petition to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson to a job from which he has not been fired. (Though these are profoundly odd peopleContinue reading “Anti-immigrationism has poisoned politics in Britain”

Is the Budget good news or bad news for your pocket?

Budget statements are pretty dull affairs. Amidst a blizzard of statistics and percentages, most voters just want to know how much more they’ll have to pay for a pint, a pack of smokes, and a gallon of petrol. What little fun stuff there once was has been purged, such as the customary dram of whiskyContinue reading “Is the Budget good news or bad news for your pocket?”

Ed Miliband has given up on Scotland and Scottish Labour

Now that the SNP has won the general election in Scotland, talk is understandably turning to the party’s role in the new Parliament. The SNP is keen to play up its potential for “holding Westminster’s feet to the fire” but Labour has ruled out a coalition with the Nationalists. Speaking at a public event inContinue reading “Ed Miliband has given up on Scotland and Scottish Labour”

Nigel Farage isn’t a racist but some of his best lines are

Thank God for the SNP. They may be whiny at times, populist all the time, and social authoritarians even in their sleep but they’re not Ukip. Whatever your constitutional politics or your thoughts on nationalism, we are blessed in Scotland to have a nationalist party that is driven more by jobs and public services thanContinue reading “Nigel Farage isn’t a racist but some of his best lines are”

Taking offence at a cartoon is a caricature of nationalism

Someone has drawn a cartoon and a lot of people are angry about it. Don’t worry, it doesn’t depict the Prophet Mohammed. No one needs to go into hiding. It’s just a standard comic strip by the Guardian’s Steve Bell and pokes fun at a couple of politicians. The strip shows Nicola Sturgeon and AlexContinue reading “Taking offence at a cartoon is a caricature of nationalism”

Two leaders but only one Prime Minister at Labour conference

Ed Miliband is a much more impressive speaker in the flesh than he is on TV. That’s not much of an endorsement but it merits noting for what it says about the tyranny of the visual in our politics. Mr Miliband is sincere, bright, policy-focussed, and has ideas for achieving the kind of Britain heContinue reading “Two leaders but only one Prime Minister at Labour conference”