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Forget pensions – the way things are going you might not live to collect.

PENSIONS? Just don’t go there. If you want to buy a pension delivering a modest £20,000 a year, index-linked, you would need to save well over £600,000 at present annuity rates. That’s more than someone on average earnings of £26,000 earns in 20 years – all of it. No-one tells the truth about personal pensions … Continue reading

Shock: Tony Blair is right about immigration. (Well, sort of).

DENIAL isn’t just a river in Egypt, or so the saying goes, and it’s still running through Tory, and  thinking about Europe. Now that “hard Brexit” is a busted flush there are all manner of alternatives being talked about: like the Tory leader, Ruth Davidson’s “open Brexit”, John McDonnell’s “jobs Brexit” and the old favourite … Continue reading

Ten years from Northern Rock, the real financial crisis is just beginning.

TEN years ago, a relatively obscure French bank, BNP Paribas, blocked withdrawals from two hedge funds. It was the beginning of the biggest financial crisis in 80 years. Within days, queues of worried savers were forming outside Northern Rock, a British bank that had specialised in lending 125% mortgages. Its rocky business model depended on … Continue reading

Twenty years on, was devolution a “motorway to independence”?

BLISS it was to be alive in those early days of devolution – except that it wasn’t. The rebirth of Scotland’s democracy after 300 years in spring, 1999 proved to be a painful affair, and plunged Scotland into a period of post-natal depression, which ended the careers, and the lives, of some of the architects of … Continue reading

10 years under the cosh of Scottish Nationalism. (Well, cautious social democracy).

TEN years ago the Scottish National Party entered government for the first time after the most chaotic election in Scottish electoral history. It was a wild night: ballot boxes went missing and thousands of voters inadvertently spoiled their ballot papers. Next day, the result was far from clear, even as Alex Salmond helicoptered into Edinburgh and declared himself … Continue reading

Advertising is the original sin of the web. If they make money from content they publish, Facebook et al can’t avoid being responsible.

The internet is a huge achievement and an immense force for good. It allows free access to information at the click of a mouse. It is transforming African countries through innovations such as mobile banking. However, there has been a confusion between the internet itself, or strictly speaking the world wide web, created by scientists … Continue reading

Local Elections: the SNP won, but the Tories were the story.

The Scottish Tories succeeded in their project of turning the Scottish council elections into a kind of referendum on a second independence referendum, and reaped the electoral reward. The result was a triumph for the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, with the Tories gaining more than 164 seats across Scotland, pushing Labour into third place. Mind you, … Continue reading

The SNP’s message? Every vote for Ruth is a vote for Theresa May.

Labour’s celebration of the Tory resurgence in Scotland is not helping them in their darkest hour. Kezia Dugdale and Ian Murray bigging up Ruth Davidson’s success in the local elections as a ‘blow for Sturgeon’ only encourages more of their voters into the Conservative camp. Why bother voting Labour if the Tories do it better? … Continue reading

If this election is a referendum on independence, the SNP are going to win it.

From Herald, 20/4/17 The General Election of 2015 in Scotland was one of the most remarkable in British electoral history. In General Elections, a swing of 10 per cent is exceptional; in the “tsunami”, as it was called, the average swing to the SNP was 30 per cent and famously broke the BBC’s swingometer. Labour lost 40 out … Continue reading

Macron is bad news for Brexit.

Herald 24/4/17 YOU could almost hear the sighs of relief in Brussels as Emmanuel Macron, the Tony Blair of French politics, came top of the first round of the French presidential elections. The one thing we know about the mercurial Mr Macron, a former socialist who set up his own party, En Marche!, to promote … Continue reading

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