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We’re All Doomed

We’re all doomed. There is a real sense of seasonal foreboding in the Scottish media this New Year, what with redundancies, takeovers and job losses almost everywhere. Circulations are falling and there are intimations of mortality on the web. Many newspapers are living in fear of their classified advertising migrating to the internet. So, should … Continue reading

Party on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

23/12/05 When he became Laboru leader in 1994, Tony Blair said that he hadn’t been born in the Labour Party but would he would die in it. What he didn’t say is what he would do if Labour died first. Can Tony Blair last another year as leader of the Labour Party? The short answer … Continue reading

Temperance, Temperance

22/12/05 My grandfather worked nearly all his life in Weirs on the Clyde, as a foreman. He was a lifelong socialist, atheist and teetotaller. who lived into his nineties In his day, avoiding alcohol was part of a moral commitment to social improvement. The working classes could never be wholly free, you see, until they … Continue reading

Dawn Raids

16/12/05 When immigration police in body armour broke down the door of the Vucaj family in Drumchapel on 13th September 2005, they didn’t realise they were trampling all over the delicate constitutional conventions that are supposed to ease relations between Holyrood and Westminster. But they were. The expulsion of the Kosovan asylum seekers provoked one … Continue reading

Pylons are Beautiful

Herald 13/12/05 It wasn’t exactly a stand up row – environmentalists don’t do that kind of thing. But there was certainly a free and frank exchange of view at the Friends of the Earth Christmas reception between an officer of the Ramblers Association and a senior figure in Friends of the Earth. The bone of … Continue reading

Dave Was The Future Once

9/12/05 Sunday Herald “He was the future once!.” Dave’s first outing at Prime Minister’s Questions was a huge success, and Blair’s face was a picture when the newly-elected Tory leader delivered his well-rehearsed sound bite. We all loved it. But is David Cameron trying too hard? Cycling around town to open-necked photo ops; demanding positive … Continue reading

Pensions Are Not Boring

Something remarkable happened last week. A government committee came up with a report which made sensible and workable proposals for dealing with one of the most intractable social problems of the age. Naturally, the government rubbished the Turner Report on the future pensions. Or at least Gordon Brown did – even though he commissioned it. … Continue reading

torture by proxy

“Extraordinary rendition” may sound like an exceptional performance of a concert classic. In fact it is the sinister euphemism for torture-by-proxy, the practice of flying terrorist suspects for interrogation in countries where torture is practised in order to escape human rights legislation. America stands accused of breaking international law by such rendition, and Scotland is … Continue reading

It’s Worse Than Vietnam

Sir Malcolm Rifkind may not have a cat in hell’s chance of becoming Tory leader, but he is a hell of a sharp politician. The former Foreign Secretary’s claim last week that Iraq was worse than Suez, worse than Vietnam and that Tony Blair should have resigned long ago, was well timed and well informed. … Continue reading

New Orleans: Welcome To Tomorrow’s World

3/09/05 As the full scale of the Louisiana inundation, and its chaotic aftermath, sank in last week, commentators contrasted the power of the forces of nature with the weakness of human nature. The ‘thin veneer of civilisation’, we were told, had been scuffed off, showing the basic survival instinct beneath – anarchic, lawless. But it … Continue reading

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