The British political class returns to business as usual

That the Union is living through perilous days is all but undetectable here in Westminster. Not a week since the air was thick with talk of coalitions, the only coalition in town is the one between David Cameron and his backbenchers. The SNP MPs sent down to “hold Westminster’s feet to the fire” are busyContinue reading “The British political class returns to business as usual”

Victories for the true believers but what about the dreamers?

“This is a victory for the true believers.” Paul Keating so described his Labor government’s improbable triumph in the 1993 Australian election, which had been trailed by commentators and pollsters as “unloseable” for the centre-right Coalition. Calculating pragmatism brought Keating success over an ideologically lazy opposition whose leader spoke to his grassroots but could notContinue reading “Victories for the true believers but what about the dreamers?”

The woman who melted Jamie Ross’s heart

It was a tragic quest that could only really end in futility and failure. Ahab had his whale, Don Quixote his windmills, Fox Mulder his vast conspiracy between the CIA, alien shape-shifters, and that black oil they never really explained. For Jamie Ross, it was Solero Woman. Back during the 1999 Scottish Parliament election campaign,Continue reading “The woman who melted Jamie Ross’s heart”

If Jim Murphy fails it will be because Labour is beyond saving

Jim Murphy couldn’t win his joust with Bernard Ponsonby on Wednesday night, whatever winning means in a Scotland unmoored from so many political certainties. If he had tried, he would have risked looking desperate. Pathetically straining for a game-changer in the dying days of the election campaign. No, the only thing for it was toContinue reading “If Jim Murphy fails it will be because Labour is beyond saving”

Could SNP’s best poll also be its worst? (Hint: Probably not)

I for one welcome our new Nationalist overlords. The final STV poll of the general election campaign puts the SNP on 54% to Scottish Labour’s 20%. According to one projection, these results, should they play out on May 7, would see the Nationalists win every Scottish seat. Every last one. 59-0. No single party hasContinue reading “Could SNP’s best poll also be its worst? (Hint: Probably not)”

Rejecting Labour is spurning an inheritance from our grandfathers

We all have an inheritance from our grandfathers. Some are tangible – a watch, a book, a rosary – while others are more ephemeral, like lessons learned, wisdom gifted, or fond recollections of family holidays. The stirring scent of aftershave or pipe tobacco, the taste of an old recipe, or the sound of a rust-bucketContinue reading “Rejecting Labour is spurning an inheritance from our grandfathers”

On quislings, ‘non-Scots’ and Scottish nationalism

As campaign strategies go, it’s certainly a novel one. In Edinburgh South, which voted No in September’s referendum by 65% to 35%, SNP candidate Neil Hay has hit trouble. Under a pseudonymous account, “Paco McSheepie”, which he ran in 2012, he tweeted the term “quisling” with reference to unionists and lamented that “umpteen poor soulsContinue reading “On quislings, ‘non-Scots’ and Scottish nationalism”

Mademoiselle Ecosse goes to Westminster

Mhairi Black is a nightmare to interview. We’re walking along the Paisley side street where her campaign hub is based on Friday afternoon. It’s an unusually warm and inviting day so how better to get a flavour of the electors’ attitude towards the SNP candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire South than by hitting the streetsContinue reading “Mademoiselle Ecosse goes to Westminster”

Nicola Sturgeon unveils her manifesto for England

Something extraordinary happened today. The leader of a political party pitched her election manifesto almost exclusively to people who don’t live here and can’t vote for her. Such is the intensity of Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign of love-bombing England that Scotland was almost a side note at the SNP manifesto launch on Monday. For the FirstContinue reading “Nicola Sturgeon unveils her manifesto for England”

How Jim Murphy learned to stop worrying and love the Left

Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay delivered an unapologetically left-wing speech at the launch of his party’s general election manifesto. The socialist firebrand roused the faithful with pungent class warfare rhetoric as he rolled off a roster of Old Labour policies. He promised to tax high earners and their mansions and spend the money on theContinue reading “How Jim Murphy learned to stop worrying and love the Left”