Sunday National, 10th January 2021. What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned from this pandemic? During the last ten months, this column has talked a lot about political lessons of this crisis, but today I’m thinking in more personal terms. A New Year is meant to be a new turn of … Continue reading What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from Covid-19?
Looking back over this strange year, when much else feels like it is in permanent stasis, one major shift the last twelve months has been the mainstreaming of pro-independence majorities in Scottish polling. When YouGov first reported a 2% lead for the independence campaign on the 6th of September 2014, Downing Street went into meltdown … Continue reading In 2021, I hope Scots remember the lesson
Sunday National, 20th December 2020. That number. 1,264. The latest drugs death statistics had a dreadful inevitability to them, even before official confirmation of the number of fatalities in Scotland were published this week. That data showed a further 6% increase on last year’s deadly tally, confirming that Scotland now has the highest recorded drug … Continue reading Farewell, Lord Advocate?
Sunday National, 13th December 2020. So this is what we’ve come to. Boris Johnson - with a Dover sole in either hand - snarling “from my cold dead hands, Pierre,” as he orders Royal Navy gunboats out onto the Thames to keep Britain’s codfish British. As the clock ticks mercilessly down to the end of … Continue reading Scotland can do so much better than unstable Brexit Britain
Sunday National, 6th December 2020. Up yours, Louis Pasteur. It is testament to the small-mindedness of this UK government that it has been able to turn the discovery of a raft of effective vaccines against Covid into an excuse for jingoistic one-upmanship – but here we are, on the cusp of a no-deal Brexit, on … Continue reading Up yours, Louis Pasteur
Sunday National, 29th November 2020. On any other day, in any other month, on any other year – this hearing would be a huge international news story. The statue of King Charles II in Parliament Square in Edinburgh would be surrounded by journalists. The Court of Session’s colonnades would be sprouting cameras and camera-men, and … Continue reading Last chance saloon for Lockerbie case
Sunday National, 22nd November 2020. “But how exactly is it illegal?” Sometimes, students ask you very smart questions. This week one of my undergrads at GCU was reading about the exertions of Peter Krykant to establish a safe injecting facility in Glasgow city centre. They’d read about what he was doing in the city – … Continue reading Lord Advocate has a role to play over safe consumption rooms
Sunday National , 8th November 2020. There is a time in the affairs of all Scottish Tory leaders when they decide they’d better “distance themselves from London". For new boy Douglas Ross, this is a tad more challenging – what with him being a loyal member of Boris Johnson’s majority in the Commons – but sooner or … Continue reading Douglas Ross playing both sides is just an old and tired charade
Sunday National, 1st November 2020. Wherever she is, the Iron Lady must be birling. This week, John Scott QC – one of Her Majesty’s Counsel, learned in law – recommended that hundreds of men caught up in the miners’ strikes of the 1980s should be officially pardoned. The Scottish Government has accepted those recommendations, and … Continue reading Historical wrongs of miners’ strike addressed by Scott report
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