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Labour the first casualty of Grangemouth debacle

THE spontaneous cheers of the Grangemouth workers on Friday at the news of their capitulation said it all. This has been one of the worst industrial relations disasters of modern times and has disturbing implications for trade unionism, the Labour Party and Scotland. The workforce only narrowly escaped with their jobs, but had to accept … Continue reading

Grangemouth – A lot of people would jump at jobs paying £40k a year

Article in The Herald. Grangemouth no more. It’s hard not to hear echoes of the 1980s in the abrupt closure of Scotland’s only petrochemical plant with the loss of 800 jobs. Ravenscraig revisited. Industrial vandalism. Shell-shocked workers leaving factory meetings; self-important union leaders making threats they can’t deliver; attention-seeking politicians making portentous pronouncements that only … Continue reading

For the First Minister’s next trick … can he make independence as popular as he is?

The SNP’s final annual conference before Scotland’s Day of Destiny, as Alex Salmond calls the independence referendum, went rather better than expected. Aware that they risked squandering their main media showcase of the year, ministers unlocked the box marked “November White Paper” and sprung a few policy surprises on energy and the minimum wage. These … Continue reading

SNP should be bold and call pre-referendum convention

IT looks like a hopeless cause. The opinion polls refuse to move. Professor John Curtice’s authoritative polling blog,What Scotland Thinks has been struggling to find anything new to say as survey after survey tells the same story: that Scotland thinks it should vote No. At best, only one-third of Scottish voters support independence – a … Continue reading

1984 in 2014. Have we learned nothing from George Orwell?

Article in The Herald. In the wake of the former CIA analyst Edward Snowden’s revelations about state surveillance, I thought I’d reread George Orwell’s 1984, written nearly 70 years ago on the Island of Jura. I was taken aback by how prophetic it is. When I first read this novel at school, before personal computers … Continue reading

I warn you not to be young.

Neil Kinnock made a speech before the 1983 general election in which he said: “I warn you not to be old. I warn you not to get sick. I warn you not to lose your job…” Today, he might have added a warning not to be young. This week an unprecedented assault was launched by … Continue reading

Land of hope is Tory. Duh.

He may not move the voters, but Ed Miliband has certainly rattled David Cameron’s cage. The PM name checked Labour no fewer than 25 times in his address to the Tory conference yesterday in Manchester. He mentioned Ukip not once and only referred to the Liberal Democrats as an albatross around the Tory neck. So, … Continue reading

In defence of the 1970s

Is politics back in fashion? People like me have been moaning for years about how all the parties are the same at Westminster, crowding the centre ground and pursuing  synthetic focus group policies.  But after this week, just maybe, things have changed.  Between Ed Miliband and David Cameron, a gulf in policy and ideology has … Continue reading

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