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”

Blackboard bungle

John Swinney has spent much of the past few weeks in TV studios foretelling the blood-curdling horrors to come if schools returned full-time in August. Yesterday, he bobbed up at Holyrood to inform us that schools would be returning full-time in August. Imagine if Roy Scheider had announced halfway through Jaws that there had never beenContinue reading “Blackboard bungle”

Lockdown must apply to everyone or it must be lifted

What connects George Square, St Andrew Square and the Paisley Cenotaph? The answer is that all three attracted crowds over the weekend. In Glasgow’s most famous gathering place, more than 500 demonstrators assembled to protest against racism and in favour of refugees’ rights, alongside a smaller contingent of Right-wing activists. In Edinburgh, 1,000 gathered to hearContinue reading “Lockdown must apply to everyone or it must be lifted”

Wanted: a worthy opponent to Nicola Sturgeon

At risk of spoiling the ending, Nicola Sturgeon is going to win next year’s Holyrood election. Barring some unforeseen scandal or government catastrophe, Scotland is likely to hand the Nationalist leader another term in Bute House. It is not impossible that she secures an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament. Election 2021 is hers toContinue reading “Wanted: a worthy opponent to Nicola Sturgeon”

Alison through the looking-glass

Alison Johnstone knows how to handle herself. The Greens’ co-leader turned in another assured performance at First Minister’s Questions on the issue of testing in care homes and hospitals. Burnishing her reputation for sharp interrogation, she pressed the First Minister over scientific advice on testing. This isn’t the most thrilling subject for FMQs but theContinue reading “Alison through the looking-glass”