This category contains 9 posts

Scots aren’t better than the English … or worse. We’re the same … but our political cultures are worlds apart

THERE was a sting in the tail of the Cowdenbeath by-election. It came as little surprise that Labour won with an increased majority but when we learned the LibDems had come fifth behind Ukip, the twittersphere ignited. Was this confirmation that the Scots aren’t so different after all? Is the myth of communitarian Scotland just … Continue reading

Yes or No: disenchantment is the issue for both camps

That £500 question just won’t go away. It’s in danger of defining the referendum campaign. The latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey confirms that a majority of Scots would vote Yes if they were guaranteed to be £500 better off, while only 15% would support independence if they were £500 worse off. The survey of 1500 … Continue reading

Ed is right: socialism for banks must end

WHEN George Osborne starts offering more money to poor people, it’s a sure sign the Tories are getting worried. The Chancellor tried to upstage Ed Miliband’s speech on banking reform on Friday by announcing, in advance, that he planned to restore the real-terms value of the national minimum wage by raising it to £7 an … Continue reading

Scrapping corroboration is a populist bridge too far

What is it about sex crime that turns liberal politicians into legal vigilantes? The Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, is as liberal as they come. He wants to abolish custodial sentences for many crimes; he released on compassionate grounds the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, defying even President Obama; he supports the European Convention on … Continue reading

Where stands Scotland as politics of race rises in UK?

I was driving back to Scotland up the M1 when I heard the traffic reports of chaos ahead. No point sitting in a jam for hours, so I pulled off the motorway and headed for Coventry. Might as well take a look at the cathedral and have something to eat. Walking around the city centre … Continue reading

A rare breed: Scottish pacifists in the First World War.

Article in The Herald I was signing books at the Wigtown Book Festival when a distant relative appeared from nowhere and handed me an old black and white picture of my father and mother’s wedding day that I’d never seen before. Unfortunately, they left before I could thank them properly. Or speak to them, because … Continue reading

Who are the real separatists in this independence debate?

‘Bairns not bombs” was how the SNP MSP Mark McDonald summed up the independence White Paper in yesterday’s Holyrood debate. Why not bairns now? asked Labour’s Iain Gray, insisting that the Nationalists could introduce their free child-care policy tomorrow – well, if they could squeeze an extra £700 million out of the Barnett Formula. Article … Continue reading

Dangerous Games at Govan and Grangemouth

I’m not sure that last week’s First Ministers Question Time did a lot to reassure Scots the nation is in sound hands. Labour’s Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon, standing in for Alex Salmond who was in China, turned the indignation meter up to 11 in a finger-jabbing confrontation my granny would have called a stair-heid … Continue reading

Rip-off Britain and the scandal of pension fund charges

At last – a reason to praise the Coalition. The UK Government has finally moved to curb the worst mis-selling scandal in the history of British finance, greater than endowment mortgages, PPI, energy profiteering or even sub-prime mortgages. I refer to the legalised theft of billions of pounds from citizens’ pension funds through excessive charges, … Continue reading

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