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She isn’t Labour’s Scottish leader – that’s the problem.

The Scottish Labour Party elected a new leader this week – except that it didn’t. The new nominal leader, Wendy Alexander, is only the leader of the Labour group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, and she was elected to that position unopposed. Never has Labour’s North Korean predilection for single candidate elections been more … Continue reading

How Wendy could change things

Sales of Wendies collapsed yesterday, as confidence slumped in Labour’s leader-in-waiting. A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times suggesting that only 7% of voters would like to see her as first minister has led political forecasters to mark her down. Only bankrupt Nicol Stephens are selling worse in the turbulent post-Salmond market. Her failure to … Continue reading

The National Conversation.

When is an event not an event? When it’s a process. The Scottish Secretary, Des Browne, insisted on BBC’s World at One on Wednesday that Donald Dewar had never uttered his most famous remark: “devolution is a process not an event”. On the contrary, he said, the late First Minister had agreed with Mr Browne’s … Continue reading

The Great Caledonian Paradox

It’s the great Caledonian paradox: why is this SNP government so popular when the vast majority of Scots appear to reject its defining policy of Scottish independence? Opinion polls last week confirmed that opposition to formal independence is as strong as ever, even as Alex Salmond’s personal ratings have soared. The SNP registered its highest … Continue reading

The BBC should show us the Scottish Six

A Scottish six o’clock news? Tartan nightmare. Wall to wall murders, stories about the SNP, couthy human interest tales replacing Nick Robinson and John Simpson – it would be like Newsnight Scotland, only much much worse. Well actually it wouldn’t. I’m one of the few people in this debate who has actually seen a Scottish … Continue reading

I will regret this

Like most political hacks I tend to be a bit of a professional pessimist – if not a borderline depressive. The world of public affairs is not a sunny one, and the reward for optimism about politicians is generally ridicule. So this is one column I will probably regret writing. For, at the close of … Continue reading

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