When Tories show you what they are: Believe Them

Sunday National, 25th October 2020. I may not know a lot about football, but I’ll tell you this for nothing: the Tories could have hoped for a more unsympathetic opponent than young Marcus Rashford. In a week in which Boris Johnson’s administration has picked a fight with (a) itself, (b) most of the cities in … Continue reading When Tories show you what they are: Believe Them

Douglas Ross has ditched ‘no to indyref2’, but his new mantra is just as ineffective

Sunday National, 11th October 2020. It must be difficult to give a party conference speech via Zoom with all the gusto you’d give it on stage. Perhaps it’s the fact you are badly lit from below at a weird angle, the lobes of your skull standing out above you like a Mars Attacks alien. Perhaps … Continue reading Douglas Ross has ditched ‘no to indyref2’, but his new mantra is just as ineffective

What will we learn as the academic year gets off to a very new start?

Sunday National, 4th October 2020. The Chinese celebrate their new year in the early spring. In Scotland, we toast the changing of the years during the bleak December. In the Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah falls in the early autumn. The ancient Babylonians were probably onto something when they picked out the vernal equinox to mark … Continue reading What will we learn as the academic year gets off to a very new start?

These are the politicians we need

Sunday National, 27th September 2020. There’s something grimly compelling about watching a political quipster burst. We’re living with a Prime Minister whose stated aspiration, as a kid, was to become “World King.” The Conservative Party, the British state and its Tory media have taken decades to puff this empty narcissist into First Lord of the … Continue reading These are the politicians we need

This political sleight of hand will make the Tories look ridiculous

Sunday National, 20th September 2020. I DON’T know if you’re familiar with the idea of “triangulation,” but the drift of the last 40 years in British politics will make considerably more sense once you’ve got your head around it. Triangulation has a heavy 1990s energy to it. A political strategy strongly associated with the Third … Continue reading This political sleight of hand will make the Tories look ridiculous

Everything you need to know about the UK Internal Market Bill

Sunday National, 13th September 2020. Consider, if you will, the fate of a rubber chicken. During the brief and steroidal first weeks of its life, this unfortunate bird is raised to plumpness in a dank shed in the United States. Having hit its desired weight, the chook is throttled and processed with a view to … Continue reading Everything you need to know about the UK Internal Market Bill

Endless sequels in Scottish Labour’s Jurassic Park

Sunday National, 6th September 2020. “Grandee.” (Noun). Definition: political has-been, grousing once-was, allegedly influential former politician. Tory, Labour or SNP: it is an iron rule of political reporting that just as all QCs are “top”, the media style guide provides that political grandees should be designated as “senior” or “respected formers.” Quite who decides these … Continue reading Endless sequels in Scottish Labour’s Jurassic Park

Vilifying asylum seekers? Attacking lawyers? Just standard Home Office operating procedure

Sunday National, 30th August 2020. From the deepest well of grief, it is impossible to imagine a scene with more pathos. It has been stuck in my mind all week. A young mother lies dead. Beside her, a child of just one year of age, crying and hungry, calls out for a parent whose spirit … Continue reading Vilifying asylum seekers? Attacking lawyers? Just standard Home Office operating procedure

Crowdfunded #indyref court bid may end up resolving nothing

Sunday National, 23rd August 2020. WHEN Helen Steel and David Morris were sued for defamation by McDonald’s in 1990, their McLibel Support Campaign raised £40,000. At the time, this was a ground-breaking sum, collected from a combination of high-profile donors – Linda McCartney famously gave the campaign £1000 – and a mass of smaller contributors … Continue reading Crowdfunded #indyref court bid may end up resolving nothing