Bomber Baillie goes Full Metal Jackie

First Minister’s Questions is no place for alarmism. Nicola Sturgeon made that clear when she warned Jackson Carlaw against ‘inadvertently undermin[ing] public confidence’ in the flu jab. On what tenuous basis was the interim Tory leader engaging in such wanton scaremongering? Other than the fact that 61 per cent of over-65s haven’t received the vaccine [...]

Brexit Britain makes Israel’s hectic politics look strong and stable

Nothing humiliates quite like the sympathy of foreigners. When you are overseas in times of acute national anguish, even the slenderest shard of sympathy can pierce the heart. It is far preferable that your hosts be blunt. Candour stings but pity burns. I spent last week in Israel, land of unwieldy coalitions and unstable governments. [...]

Che Guevara of Charlotte Square joins the class war

Primly accoutred in a royal blue Thatcher suit, the First Minister was somewhat overdressed for the class war. The Che Guevara of Charlotte Square had stormed the ramparts of Holyrood to decry Philip Hammond’s Budget sop to the filthy rich. The capitalist lickspittle had raised the higher income tax threshold to £50,000, feathering the nests [...]

Why you shouldn’t shout at Michelle Ballantyne

Michelle Ballantyne is a terrible person. She is cruel and without feeling. Don’t take my word for it. Everyone is saying so — or all the people who hold all the correct opinions, anyway.   The Scottish Conservative welfare spokeswoman led for her party in a Holyrood debate last Wednesday on ‘ending austerity, poverty and [...]

Jackson Carlaw causes unseemly outbreak of civility at FMQs

Ruddy-cheeked and hale-bodied, crowned by modest locks of greying gold, the Scottish Conservative leader cut a less dynamic than usual figure at First Minister’s Questions. This pregnancy is really taking its toll on Ruth Davidson, I thought to myself, before squinting and realising it was Jackson Carlaw. Davidson is off having a Tory tot and [...]

Sorry Nicola, but your hypocrisy over Brexit is breathtaking

'Let me say this loudly and clearly,’ Nicola Sturgeon intoned. ‘If the issue comes before the House of Commons, SNP MPs will support a People’s Vote which includes the option to remain in the EU.’ The SNP leader was addressing the People’s Vote march in London and she had to speak loudly and clearly because [...]

Brexit fills me with dread but People’s Vote scares me more

This is not a conversion column. It is not ‘My journey to Brexit’ or ‘A Remainer repenteth’. What follows is a resignation to reality. I voted to stay in the European Union for economic reasons and, yes, because I wanted to give a righteous two fingers to Nigel Farage and his odious hate-mongering. I still [...]

Mother Scotland, the Oprah Winfrey of Glasgow Southside

The spotlight, perched on high in the gods, bathed the stage. A murmur ran through the audience as the main feature began to roll. The star swept into view in bubblegum pink, ready for her close-up, and her fans erupted as they always do. All party conference speeches are performances but Nicola Sturgeon must put [...]

Ian Blackford belched out words like a stubby little chimney

From every beam of every ceiling in Glasgow's SECC droops the same giant banner: 'HOPE', styled in Nationalist yellow and black. From a distance, it looks like a motivational talk has got out of hand and staged a military coup. Underneath, SNP members trudge in dismay from conference halls to party tat stalls. Their only [...]