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@iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?
@iainmacwhirter has written 1080 posts for Iain Macwhirter

GERS was an index of failure, post-Covid it’s a bogus bogeyman

GERS day came and went last week with the usual headlines cut and pasted from previous years. Scots in hock to UK…Union Dividend…Black hole.   Just fill in the blanks: £15bn deficit; £2000 per head; 8% of GDP.  It’s become something of an annual ritual. Perhaps they should make it a national holiday.  TWITS Day: … Continue reading

The jury found him innocent, but Alex Salmond is still on trial.

There are few politicians in modern history who have been subjected to such relentless scrutiny as Alex Salmond.  He has been under almost continual investigation, one way or another,  for 30 years, since he became leader of the Scottish National Party. A politician who has rocked the establishment, both in the UK and Scotland, the … Continue reading

Tories are saying they voted for Boris and got Corbyn. Yes, really.

When Boris Johnson was won a near landslide majority in December, he was hailed as nothing less than a blue messiah.  How long ago that seems. Tory commentators and many MPs are now deeply disenchanted with Boris, and not just because his government made an even worse cock-up of the exams than the Scots.  Tory … Continue reading

When will they learn? The illiberal and unworkable Hate Crime Bill is another assault of freedom of speech from a Scottish Government that has a tin ear for civil liberty.

When the Scottish Police, the Catholic Church, the Law Society of Scotland get together to condemn the Scottish government’s Hate Crime Bill for endangering freedom of speech, you’d think that ministers might be tempted to listen. I can’t off-hand think of any issue that has united policemen, lawyers and churchmen in quite this way before … Continue reading

Wealth taxes are the future – but just don’t touch pensions.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has single-handedly turned the UK Conservatives into the party of big government, big spending and – ultimately – big taxation. Ironic really, since the former investment banker used to be a bit of a free-market Thatcherite. Coronavirus is no respecter of ideology. At the height of the furlough programme, nearly half … Continue reading

I wish Remainers would stop saying nothing changes tonight. We lose European citizenship for a start.

Much of the Brexit commentary, especially from Remainers, is that nothing changes tonight.   Trade talks have yet to begin.  Nothing resolved.  It’s all just symbolic. No it isn’t. Tonight we lose citizenship of the European Union, and the protections and privileges that went with it.  That is  much more than a symbolic act;  more … Continue reading

Next week the SNP’s slogan “Independence in Europe” becomes redundant. How do they remake the case?

 The SNP may appear to be at the very zenith of its political power.  Nicola Sturgeon’s dominance of Scottish politics was cemented in the December general election when it reduced Labour to one solitary seat in Scotland.  It was almost a repeat of the 2015 Tsunami. Yet the SNP face the biggest crisis in their … Continue reading

The Left made fools of themselves endorsing the Sussexes as paragons of progressive virtue. They’re a brand, not a cause.

Since the French Revolution, the default position of the left has been rejection of hereditary monarchy and contempt for the flummery and waste of royal families. Spend the money on food banks, was the line.  Tony Benn, the patron saint of Corbynism, regarded royals, rightly, as a “feudal anachronism, the apex of privilege”.  He thought the … Continue reading

I must kick the Twitter habit before it turns me Tory. It’s becoming aversion therapy for the left.

Before Christmas, the Times columnist Alex Massie tweeted that refusing to have friends who have different opinions to your own is “small-minded not principled”.   This provoked an tiny-minded torrent of hostile posts from twitterites insisting that they couldn’t possibly be friends with “Tory racists”. Said one: “I’m not hanging around with people who would … Continue reading

How the left saves capitalism from itself (review).

Aaron Bastani: “Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto”, Verso Donald Sassoon: “The Anxious Triumph: A global history of capitalism”, Allen Lane Following the Great Recession, trade wars and the longest period of wage stagnation since the Napoleonic Wars, people are wondering, not for the first time, if capitalism has a future. Is the system collapsing under its … Continue reading

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