Don’t judge The 56 by the worst of their number

You wait years for an SNP scandal and three come along at once. First it was Michelle Thomson, she of the totally-not-an-SNP-front Business for Scotland who stood for the Nationalists in Edinburgh West in May. Barely had she planted bum on green leather before the boys in blue started looking into a series of propertyContinue reading “Don’t judge The 56 by the worst of their number”

The Oldham by-election result is a disaster for Labour

There was a glimmer of hope for the Labour Party this week. Hilary Benn captivated the House of Commons with an impassioned proclamation that democratic socialism still lives. Closing the debate on Syria, the Leeds Central MP called on his comrades to stand against Islamist terrorism, a monstrous and fascistic conspiracy against liberal democracy. ItContinue reading “The Oldham by-election result is a disaster for Labour”

Syria, solidarity, and virtue signalling from 40,000ft

It turns out we stand with France after all. By 397 votes to 223, MPs gave their backing to the Prime Minister’s motion for air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria. The decision came at 10.30pm on Wednesday after a marathon debate in the House of Commons. Speeches were measured, angry, passionate, clinical, accusatoryContinue reading “Syria, solidarity, and virtue signalling from 40,000ft”

Some St Andrew’s Day thoughts on Scotland and Scottishness

“St Andy’s Day.” The tabloids and the First Minister have rechristened the national feast day in honour of Andy Murray. The tennis powerhouse clinched the Davis Cup for Great Britain at Flanders Expo on Sunday. It marks the first title win for the national team since 1936 and the 28-year-old was understandably elated, posing forContinue reading “Some St Andrew’s Day thoughts on Scotland and Scottishness”

George Osborne is all clichés and crossed fingers

Did you force the Chancellor to U-turn on cuts to tax credits? If not, you evidently didn’t try hard enough. Among those who have claimed credit so far are Corbynites, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. Don’t buy the spin. The credit goes to the House of Lords, Conservative backbenchers, theContinue reading “George Osborne is all clichés and crossed fingers”

Forget Trident. Syria is the security test for the SNP

The leader of the opposition has been making life difficult for the government again. After providing details of the strategic defence and security review, the Prime Minister was grilled on cuts to manpower, hardware and bases and lambasted for his 2010 decision to scrap the entire Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft fleet at a cost ofContinue reading “Forget Trident. Syria is the security test for the SNP”

The National supports independence for everything except itself

The National loves Scotland. In fact, it loves Scotland so much it spells its own name with a map of the country in place of the letter “i”. A patriotic touch, to be sure, but it does give the unfortunate impression that the paper is called the Nat Onal. The pro-independence daily marks its firstContinue reading “The National supports independence for everything except itself”

What next for Politician of the Year Nicola Sturgeon?

Nicola Sturgeon is one year into her premiership and six months away from her first election. In the hyperactive world of Scottish politics, it’s easy to forget that the First Minister has no mandate from the country. Unlike Gordon Brown, this is not because she is too frit to face them; the only thing sheContinue reading “What next for Politician of the Year Nicola Sturgeon?”

The economic case for independence is dead? Good riddance.

Independence is dead. Long live independence. The economic case for a Scottish breakaway from the UK has been mortally wounded – by no less a figure than Alex Salmond’s former head of policy. “The dream shall never die,” Mr Salmond assured us but his own right-hand man has beaten it to death with a shovelContinue reading “The economic case for independence is dead? Good riddance.”

How to be a Western liberal in an age of terror

Nous sommes tous les Parisiens. Je t’aime Paris. #IStandWithFrance. Millennials are coming to terms as only we can with an attack on our own. The shootings and bombings that ripped through the French capital on Friday night targeted trendy restaurants and music venues. We were Charlie in January but our hearts weren’t really in it.Continue reading “How to be a Western liberal in an age of terror”