This category contains 138 posts

Corbyn’s right. Send the Trident nuclear warheads on a one way trip to Aldermaston.

DEUTSCHLAND ’83 on Channel 4 is a thoughtful Cold-War drama with a strain of black humour and a great period sound track. It follows a reluctant East German spy as he burrows through the Nato high command in the 1980s reporting on plans for a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the Warsaw Pact. American generals discuss … Continue reading

Corbyn’s permashuffle was really all about Trident. And leadership.

“HE has all the candlepower of a glow-worm. He might once have fitted the role of a deputy manager of a northern friendly society, but is intellectually unsuited to be a minister of any kind.” This was the verdict of 87-year-old Joe Haines, Harold Wilson’s press spokesman back in the day, describing the Labour leader, … Continue reading

Imagine if the Scottish independence referendum had happened with some SNP ministers arguing No?

Imagine if the Scottish independence referendum campaign in 2014 had been conducted without collective cabinet responsibility? If figures like John Swinney or Alex Neil (say) had been allowed to campaign for Scotland to remain in the UK while Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon argued to leave? It would never have happened of course because all … Continue reading

Two parliamentary elections in two years and two independence referendums: prepare for voter fatigue in 2016

SCOTLAND’S voters could be forgiven for complaining about election fatigue. They had the nerve-racking excitement of the 2014 independence referendum, which divided Scotland down the middle. Then there was the Tsunami General Election of 2015 when the Unionist parties were swept into political oblivion. Now Scots are being invited to deliver another landslide to the … Continue reading

Banning Donald Trump is exactly what he wants us to do.

No publicity is bad publicity. Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, is an oaf and a bully but he is also a brilliant self-publicist. He knows exactly how far to go to gain maximum exposure in the media while not falling foul of laws on racial hatred. His call for a temporary ban on Muslims … Continue reading

2015: the year Scotland turned SNP yellow while England remained Tory blue.

N the early hours of May 8, 2015, a 20-year-old politics student, Mhairi Black, defeated the Labour campaign chief, Douglas Alexander MP, one of the most experienced and highly regarded figures in the UK Labour Party. It was the most dramatic and poignant moment in the most extraordinary general election in Scottish history, which drew … Continue reading

Twitter: use responsibly or not at all.

One New Year resolution I wish politicians would make is to cut down on their Twitter use in 2016. Use responsibly or not at all. Just say no. Maybe even take a month off. Above all, avoid the temptation to become Twitter martyrs, like the Labour MP Mike Gapes, wearing your abuse as a badge … Continue reading

Another year, another budget tax freeze. We’re all fiscal conservatives now.

Another year, another tax freeze. There were no surprises that Finance Secretary John Swinney declined to drink from the poisoned chalice of the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) that comes into effect in April. No governing party wants to increase taxes on the eve of an election. Nor in his budget speech yesterday did … Continue reading

Rise of the nationalist far right in Europe and the lessons for Scotland

It was the best of nationalism; it was the worst of nationalism. Nicola Sturgeon, in Paris yesterday for climate change talks, offered no congratulations to the leader of the French nationalist Front Nationale (FN), Marine le Pen. The FN won a sensational victory in the regional elections and Ms le Pen is now a serious … Continue reading

Barbed wire and borders won’t make Europe safer.

  NEXT time you are in Catalonia, and want to understand what the Schengen Area is all about, you could do worse than visit the Walter Benjamin memorial at the border village of Portbou in the Pyrenees. Benjamin was a Jewish philosopher and art critic who committed suicide while trying to escape from Nazi-occupied France … Continue reading

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