Understanding the legalities behind the Holyrood Committee

Sunday National, 28th February 2021. The law can be tricky to get your head around at the best of times, but for anyone trying to follow the work of Holyrood’s Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints over the last two weeks – understanding the legal context governing what witnesses can and cannot … Continue reading Understanding the legalities behind the Holyrood Committee

Victims of the horrors at St Ninians deserve our attention

Sunday National, 21st February. “The overall view I formed of St Ninian’s was depressing. The institution was established in naivety, on the basis of facile assumptions and burdensome borrowings. Brothers and staff (and visitors) included paedophiles, violent men, and inadequate teachers. It was an undesirable outpost, remote from the Order’s centre of operations in Great … Continue reading Victims of the horrors at St Ninians deserve our attention

The superpower of Scotland’s middle classes? Invisibility

Sunday National, 14th February 2021. “All my life, people have been insisting that social class is no longer relevant” Darren McGarvey says in the opening of Class Wars, a new documentary series whose first episode aired on BBC Scotland this week. Darren’s mission? To “prove to you just how entrenched social class is in Scotland.” … Continue reading The superpower of Scotland’s middle classes? Invisibility

The Douglas Ross Effect

Sunday National, 7th February 2021. A red letter day. We are, by my reckoning, some 187 days into Douglas Ross’s leadership of the Conservative Party in Scotland. In the summer of last year, Jackson Carlaw’s poll ratings was deemed both unacceptable and unsustainable by his party colleagues. His leadership criticised by colleagues as “thin-skinned” and … Continue reading The Douglas Ross Effect

Indyref2: You call this a “wildcat”?

Sunday National, 30th January 2021. On 12th of May 1998, the Tory MP Michael Ancram asked Donald Dewar a simple question. The future First Minister was explaining the logical structure of the Scotland Bill to the House of Commons, and the structure of devolved and reserved matters it would create. “The Secretary of State mentioned … Continue reading Indyref2: You call this a “wildcat”?

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from Covid-19?

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?

In 2021, I hope Scots remember the lesson

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

Farewell, Lord Advocate?

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?

Scotland can do so much better than unstable ­Brexit Britain

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