Defamation law in Scotland: shifting the balance

The Times, 8th August 2022. Today, the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021 comes into force. These reforms represent the most radical changes to defamation law in three decades. There have been a greater number of high-profile defamation cases in Scotland in recent years but the real mischief of our unreformed defamation law often … Continue reading Defamation law in Scotland: shifting the balance

Against “savvy” politics

Sunday National, 17th July 2022. About ten years ago, I came across a lecture by the American writer Jay Rosen. Rosen has been writing for some time about what he characterises as the “savvy style” of American political journalism. You’ll probably recognise it from your own experience of reading about British politics – and the … Continue reading Against “savvy” politics

Serving constitutional curveballs

The National, 29th June 2022. The script on how any legal challenge to the legal competence of the referendum Bill seemed well-settled. At least until yesterday afternoon. When the First Minister announced she’d give an update to Parliament before the summer recess on progress towards a second referendum, nobody expected a Bill would be published … Continue reading Serving constitutional curveballs

Indyref2: some known unknowns

Sunday National, 19th June 2022. I still like Donald Rumsfeld’s nifty formulation of “known knowns,” “known unknowns,” and “unknown unknowns.” They can be helpful framework for strategic thinking. This week, the Scottish Government published the first in a series of policy papers on independence. Entitled “independence in the modern world,” the paper’s key argument is … Continue reading Indyref2: some known unknowns

Politics by gaslight

Sunday National, 29th May 2022. It is difficult not to psychologise this UK government. These are people who will insult other people’s patriotism and talk about “citizens of nowhere,” while touring the world collecting cash, monstering people on low earnings while coining it in themselves, and all the while imagining the bag of loot they’ve … Continue reading Politics by gaslight