Zoink! Kapow! Leonard landed blows like a Batman villain

The torrid heat bearing down on Holyrood yesterday went to Alex Cole-Hamilton’s head, or rather his chest. The Edinburgh West MSP sashayed into the debating chamber in a sharp suit with three shirt buttons undone — a very Liberal Democrat. He was less Jo Grimond, more John Travolta, if Saturday Night Fever had a subplot […]

Sturgeon launches attack on ‘out of touch’ Boris; irony and self-awareness hardest hit

Evidence continues to mount for my theory that Nicola Sturgeon has entered the Late Maggies, the final stretch of a political career where hubris has eclipsed perspective. It was First Minister’s Questions last Thursday and the First Minister became irritable when Labour’s James Kelly asked her a question. She’s almost got the hang of it. […]

How Boris can manage his Scotland problem

The night was nothing to do with Boris and all about him. It was the 2016 Conservative Party conference in Birmingham and in a dark suite hung with tasteful low lights the cream of British right-wingery had gathered for the Spectator’s champagne reception. The annual booze bash is the most sought-after ticket at Tory conference, […]

Davidson leads Tory Nerd Squad into statistics stand-off

To Holyrood, the grim final yards of the Royal Mile, for the weekly match of statistics badminton. Ruth Davidson had an ace up her sleeve in the form of new figures on subject choice in secondary schools. Calculator-bothering boffins in the Scottish Conservative research department — Tory Nerd Squad — had uncovered a 40 per […]

I was going to deliver a managed exit from the European Union but then I got high

Middle age comes to all of us but it announces its arrival in different ways. Some start to notice police constables getting younger. Others record the diminishing change from a fiver when buying a pint. For me, it is the discovery that I’m more square than Michael Gove. The environment secretary has admitted to doing […]

Moanfest /məʊnfɛst/ n. raising education concerns with the Education Secretary

A thunderclap registers at 120 decibels, a fighter jet at 150 but anything above that is John Swinney. The deputy first minister confuses volume for impact and his parliamentary contributions sound like Foghorn Leghorn suddenly took an interest in the Barnett formula. Swinney was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon yesterday; the First Minister was in […]

One billion reasons the SNP can’t be trusted with Scotland’s economy

‘Reconciliation’ is such a warm and happy word. It conjures up reunited families, patched-up marriages and even peace-making between nations. That is probably why economists favour the term to describe the adjustment required when a budget outturn falls short of the forecast. ‘Reconciliation’ has a better ring than ‘we got our sums wrong again’. Scotland’s […]

Like watching Perry Mason cross-examine a border collie

Nicola Sturgeon was not impressed. Her constitution minister was having some difficulty introducing her Indyref 2 (Sort Of) Bill to Holyrood. Mike Russell — he’s ‘Mike’ again, for those who keep track of such things — let forth his ham Shakespearean boom only for a whisper to flutter across the chamber. His microphone wasn’t on […]