Why would we want the people who can’t deliver Brexit running the railways?

During the Blair Terror, true socialists would gather at conference fringes to lament a Labour government the way only Labour members can. They would grieve the party’s triangulations and console themselves that the voters were more radical than the government. Why, just look at the polls showing most wanted to renationalise the railways. Most do [...]

This Hogmanay, raise a glass to the Union and Scotland’s special place within it

Hogmanay holds a special place in Scottish hearts and minds. The very word can summon a tide of memories, some ringing with joy, others tinged with sadness. It is a time to celebrate, yes, but also to recall those who were but no longer are. For all the industrial drinking and kisses stolen on the [...]

Christmas reminds us that love still has a place in politics

I won’t keep you long this Christmas Eve. You still have gifts to wrap — or, the men among you, to buy — and that turkey isn’t going to defrost itself. Christmas is that time of year when we’re called on to reflect while going 90mph, as if there’s much opportunity to ruminate on the [...]

Don’t let the Muggles get you down, First Minister

‘Will Jackson Carlaw explain to me, right now, where in the Budget he wants us to take the money from? Is it from health? Is it from education? Is it from local government? I am waiting with bated breath for the answer.’ Yes, it was another lively session of Questions from the First Minister, Nicola [...]

Mackay was like a renegade elf… pinching back the gifts left by Santa

A buzz of excitement crackled through Holyrood as the Budget was handed down. Not for Derek Mackay’s speech – God love him – but because the proceedings were scored to the whirr-growl-thrum of an orchestra of mobile phones. Updates from Westminster whooshed in and MSPs jabbed their screens in anticipation of some fresh calamity. By [...]

The end of the world and Brexit’s not even in sight

Fidel Castro used to deliver nine-hour speeches and have his political opponents shot. Patrick Harvie tries to combine the two: during his 301-word question at Holyrood yesterday, some Tory MSPs took on the glazed register of people longing for a bottle of brandy and a revolver. Mr Harvie does not mean to torture his opponents. [...]

Carlaw takes Tories in a neon-conservative direction

Jackson Carlaw is a frightfully nice man who should not be allowed to dress himself. Yesterday at Holyrood he turned up sporting a chartreuse tie that hinted at a second job as the night manager of an Elvis-themed Las Vegas wedding chapel. It wasn’t quite atomic green but Fin Carson might want to get himself [...]

Authenticity in politics? I’d rather have character, Darling.

Politics is nothing like normal life and the rules are different there. In normal life, it’s the quiet ones you have to keep an eye on, as every ashen neighbour who has ever told a TV news camera ‘he always kept himself to himself’ will attest. In politics, it’s the loud ones that need watching. [...]