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It’s not often I have to apologise to bankers…

It’s not often that I find I have to apologise to bankers. But in an article last week on the 50p tax row I said that the additional rate on those earning above £150,000 was essentially a “bankers tax” because, with their bonuses and inflated salaries, they are the only group in Scotland who earn … Continue reading

The SNP is now so confident of its political hegemony that it can park its conscience.

IT’S the oldest tale in politics. A radical party wins power on the strength of a widespread popular movement. Then it becomes the target of powerful private lobby groups and gradually its radicalism is jettisoned for economic “realism” – which invariably seems to be the realism of the rich and powerful. It happened to Labour … Continue reading

Narcissism of small differences likely to dominate Holyrood elections.

POLITICS is often called a dialogue of the deaf, but on Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions it really was. Labour’s Kezia Dugdale seemed unable to hear Nicola Sturgeon ruling out lifting the threshold for higher rate taxation as outlined in George Osborne’s budget. Four times Ms Dugdale asked and four times she got the same message: … Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith shafts Osborne, plunges Tory cabinet into chaos on eve of EU referendum.

So we aren’t all in this together after all. That mantra, used by the Chancellor George Osborne, and the Prime Minister David Cameron to justify the attack on the incomes of the working poor, now sounds pretty sick following the resignation of the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. When even the politician responsible … Continue reading

20MPH madness: How slowing down can actually make you go faster.

Driving through central London is, like root canal dental treatment, something that should be avoided if humanly possible. Nevertheless, there I was recently rolling off the motorway and through the sociological layers of North London: Hatfield, Barnett, Golders Green … As the streets start to become terraced and increasingly multicultural, you eventually hit Islington which … Continue reading

“Broken Vows” by Tom Bower. A hatchet job so lethal you start feel sympathy for Tony Blair.

TONY Blair used to complain about the “feral beasts” in the tabloid press. Now, he’d be forgiven for complaining about feral historians, if this first full-scale political biography is to be taken as a benchmark. Tom Bower paints a picture of an intellectually and morally deficient politician with little grasp of statecraft who was obsessed … Continue reading

Unionist parties couldn’t resist lining up behind David Cameron to reprise the fiscal favourites from the independence referendum

THESE Nationalists have some nerve. Going ahead with a triumphalist party conference despite last week’s revelations about the £15bn financial black hole that an independent Scotland might have faced because of the collapse of oil revenues. Really, Nicola Sturgeon should be hanging her head in shame, not celebrating another – er – landslide election victory. … Continue reading

We shouldn’t dismiss questions about the Named Person scheme just because Christian groups are raising them.

Readers of this column may be aware that I am not an evangelical Christian or a family values Conservative. Nevertheless, I share many of their concerns about the named persons who will be assigned to every child in Scotland from August and will be responsible for detecting signs of abuse. I’m sure the intentions are … Continue reading

To Scots, Brexit debate seems like two bald Tories arguing over a comb.

WHEN Boris Johnson announced on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the EU referendum is about “project hope versus project fear” I just about choked on my porridge. I have remarked before on the similarities between the Europe referendum campaign and the Scottish independence campaign. But the Brexit show is beginning to sound like … Continue reading

Only a tea party with Trump could stop Nicola Sturgeon’s landslide in May

WE are about to enter the first Holyrood election in nearly a decade that will not be fought over independence or the early prospect of it. Nicola Sturgeon seems in no hurry to call that second referendum, even though the forthcoming Europe referendum could pull Scotland out of the EU. And the opposition parties in … Continue reading

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