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Gordon Brown’s conference speech was all about undoing previous Labour policies.

And I promise no compulsory identity cards under Labour, even thought it was this government that initially proposed them. We will intorduce free personal care for the elderly even though we have opposed it for the last decade despite a Royal Commission recommendation. And comrades, we will challenge the bankrupt ideology of the free market, … Continue reading

Gordon Brown pulls it off

Perhaps a small new war might save Gordon’s bacon. The refusal by the foreign secretary, David Miliband, to rule out military action against Iran for developing a second uranium enrichment plant, suggests that Britain is not going to complain too loudly if Israel bombs it, as they did the Osirak plant in Iraq in 1981. … Continue reading

Labour conference is a funeral of social democracy.

  This Labour conference looks less like a pre-election rally than a funeral. There will be very little politics as MPs and ministers prepare themselves for opposition and activists pick over the carcass of what was once the greatest social democratic party in the world. Sorry to sound morbid, but there is  really is precious little … Continue reading

How housing madness destroyed democracy

   It’s often said that a man’s price is just a few pounds short of his mortgage –  though in Westminster that should now be his second mortgage.  And women MPs, like Hazel Blears,  have been just as bad as the men.   It’s widely accepted now that the cleansing of the Augean stables in Westminster … Continue reading

Waymarking in the Scottish hills. The time has come.

When you write opinionated commentary for a living you have to expect to make enemies. It goes with the job. You can�t be nice about people all the time, especially politicians. Even when you�re nice about them they take offence. When you write opinionated commentary for a living you have to expect to make enemies. … Continue reading

green shoot index turns red

The green shoot index went through the roof last week as economists forecast a v-shaped, trampoline recovery. They based their findings on figures from the OECD that suggested the economies of developed nations – excluding America and Britain – were showing signs of life. Or rather that they were showing signs of dying a little … Continue reading

What about cutting the financial sector as well as the public sector

  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d be saying that it had all been planned.  The banks knew the crisis was coming last year and that they couldn’t trade dodgy mortgage securities and lend forty times their core capital without coming a cropper.  So, they held a gun to the government’s head:  take  our toxic … Continue reading

Why has Edinburgh not suffered from the banking crisis?

Edinburgh may be one of the epicentres of the greatest financial crisis in modern history, but you’d be hard pressed to tell. You might have expected a city flat on its back, with dazed ex-bankers wandering around the aisles at Lidl and TK Maxx. You might think that the council would be pushing through emergency … Continue reading

Review: "The Constant Economy – how to create a stable society" by Zac Goldsmith.

“Vote blue to go green”, or so David Cameron advised after his photo-opportunity in the Arctic two years ago. Bur can we really believe that the party of big business, of private enterprise and of deregulation has suddenly become the party of the environment? Could you really see a Tory administration introducing carbon taxes, restricting … Continue reading

Free higher education is worth fighting for.

September, and summer finally comes to Scotland just in time to fool students coming here for the new academic year. One of my jobs as Rector of Edinburgh University is to warn them and welcome them – all seven thousand of them from 130 countries. At times like this you realise that Scotland’s real business … Continue reading

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