Swinney the street-fighter who can’t say No to six dismal Greens

There are many ways to follow First Minister’s Questions: on television, online and, of course, in the next morning’s Scottish Daily Mail. By far the most entertaining, though, is listening to Adam Tomkins’ mordant interjections throughout. John Swinney’s first attempt to put a brave face on the car park tax was punctured when Tomkins piped [...]

Daylight robbery Budget would shame Bonnie and Clyde

Watching Derek Mackay rattle out a battery of new taxes in last week’s Budget debate, as Nicola Sturgeon nodded along beside him, I was reminded of a scene from the Oscar-winning crime biopic Bonnie and Clyde. Our hoodlum heroes introduce themselves to a gas station attendant with Faye Dunaway’s immortal line: ‘I’m Miss Bonnie Parker [...]

Roseanna Cunningham lost her seat… good practice for 2021

To Holyrood for the celebration of ‘The Greens Might Not Back the Budget — Oh Look, They’ve Backed It’ Day. It comes round earlier every year. One day out of 365, Patrick Harvie gets to bask in the flash of photographers as TV cameramen capture his bold strides through the corridors of power. His phone [...]

Corbyn the ‘socialist’ has no empathy for ordinary people

One of the most persistent myths in British politics is that Jeremy Corbyn is a nice man. His swaying fanbase speaks of him in the breathless superlatives of a teenage pop crush. Even some of his conservative foes indulge him as a kindly old gent, sentimentalising a far-left demagogue the way the establishment did Tony [...]

Nicola Sturgeon thinks you’re better than that

Sombre hung the mood at Holyrood as MSPs filed in for the weekly ding-dong. Hushed whispers swirled around the backbenches; awkward glances were fleetingly exchanged. The tension held fast then snapped quickly when Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh announced: ‘Members will be aware of reports in the media this morning that the former first minister Alex [...]

Patrick Harvie, the Crocodile Dundee of nationalism

This week she was ready for them. Last Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon was a jabbering mess under the inquisitive glare of Jackson Carlaw, a man whose interrogation techniques are less The Sweeney, more Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. His idea of roughing up a suspect is correcting their grammar. The First Minister was poorly prepared for questions about [...]

Nicola Sturgeon’s septem horribilis

The Nationalists have never had a week like last week. Not when they freed Megrahi. Not when the voters ditched a third of their MPs. Not even when they lost the referendum. Nicola Sturgeon’s septem horribilis was the lowest point thus far in the SNP’s 11-year reign. It began last Tuesday when the Scottish Government [...]