Ruth Davidson’s return tells us the Tories are fresh out of new ideas

Sunday National, 16th August 2020. The pub door swings open. The regulars shift uncomfortably on their stools, as a grizzled, half-familiar figure pushes her way through the crowd. The camera pans to the landlady, whose face freezes. She shares a look of shocked recognition with the newcomer. Dramatic pause. “Hello mum. I’m back.” Duff duff, … Continue reading Ruth Davidson’s return tells us the Tories are fresh out of new ideas

Do the Hate Bill critics really care about reality of hate?

Sunday National, 9th August 2020. It remains one of the saddest and most infuriating things a student has ever said to me. In the spring of 2018, anonymous letters began to circulate across the UK. Copies were sent to prominent public figures, to places of workshop and to communities, and were quickly picked up in … Continue reading Do the Hate Bill critics really care about reality of hate?

Is Douglas Ross any more than Ruth Davidson’s sock puppet?

Sunday National, 2nd August 2020. If you’re a connoisseur of political assassinations, you’ve got to admit it was neatly done. Bye bye, Old Yeller. The golden Labrador was led solemnly out into the backyard one last time. Jackson Carlaw said it was a “painful conclusion” to demit the Scottish Tory leadership. If it felt painful … Continue reading Is Douglas Ross any more than Ruth Davidson’s sock puppet?

Check your head … the Tories think it’s buttoned up the back

Sunday National, 26th July 2020. You may need the assistance of a bathroom mirror or a sympathetic relative, but every six months or so, I strongly recommend that you check the back of your skull for signs of a zip, clasp or fastener holding your cranium together - because significant numbers of our politicians seem … Continue reading Check your head … the Tories think it’s buttoned up the back

The UK cloaks failure with a job retention scheme in the House of Lords

Sunday National, 19th of July 2020. Lloyd George once described the House of Lords as “a body of five hundred men chosen at random from amongst the unemployed.” Now, of course, there are far more than five-hundred barons and baronesses, and the choice of which wobblebottom to settle on the red benches is hardly random. … Continue reading The UK cloaks failure with a job retention scheme in the House of Lords

No appetite for a profit-before-people Tory meal deal

Sunday National, 12th July 2020. I was a little surprised to find myself confronted by a Facebook ad from an organisation calling itself “UK Government Scotland” this week. Over a photo of a deserted Ashton Lane in Glasgow, the ad instructed me to go forth into the street and “enjoy summer.” It didn’t mention that … Continue reading No appetite for a profit-before-people Tory meal deal

How tricks of the trade turn toxic in the hands of Tory charlatans

Sunday National, 5th July 2020. Pity the land ruled by newspaper columnists. This might strike you as a declaration against interest – but pity the land, ‘cos we live in one. There’s a trick you pick up at columnist school. When the page is blank, the inspiration isn’t coming and the insight isn’t there – … Continue reading How tricks of the trade turn toxic in the hands of Tory charlatans

A picture which shows awful wounds horror can inflict on young minds

Sunday National, 28th June 2020. I don’t know who was behind the camera. I don’t want to know. But walking along West George Street on Friday, someone saw a seriously injured man, the pavement red with his blood, and decided to whip out their mobile, and share his picture with the world. The shot bounced … Continue reading A picture which shows awful wounds horror can inflict on young minds

Glimmers of hope a life more ordinary is possible

Sunday National, 21st June 2020. The punishment the Greek gods devised for Sisyphus was devilishly simple. Every day, he would roll a boulder up to the top of a high hill in Hades. Every day, the pitiless rock would roll back to where it started. Every day, he’d repeat this task, never making any real … Continue reading Glimmers of hope a life more ordinary is possible

Brexit is back, with all its old issues

Sunday National, 14th of June 2020. Yes, it’s the B word. Covid or no Covid, I’m sorry, but the B word is back. Brexit may have seemed singularly inconsequential over the last three months, as the old polarities it engendered were superseded by the global pandemic – but there’s no avoiding it now. The uncertain … Continue reading Brexit is back, with all its old issues