Theresa May’s de facto Deputy, David Lidington took to the Brexit Roadshow in a long line of UK Cabinet ministers stamping their authority on the process of leaving the EU. Mr Lidington has reportedly sent a warning shot to Nicola Sturgeon telling her Brexit must not be used as an excuse to break up the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Theresa May’s ally said the UK is at a crossroads but severing ties would leave every one of the four nations “weaker and poorer,” even if Brexit has greater impact on Scotland than any of the other ‘home nations’. In fact, referring to the UK as four nations is infuriating enough.Read More →

Monday: what a bizarre day for political media management in 10 Downing Street. A Cabinet reshuffle that actually didn’t do very much but somehow managed to take hours to conclude. Maternal Theresa promised a new ministerial team of bright and bubbly women and BME as dynamic reformers. Instead she was left with no net increase in women in full Cabinet posts. She had to resort to the use of ‘attendees’ to make gender balance appear better. So poor Liz Truss (chief secretary to the Treasury) and Andrea Leadsom (Leader of the House of Commons) ‘attend’ Cabinet whereas their predecessors in these roles would have beenRead More →

#BelikeStAndrew This St Andrew’s Day is going to be something really special. On November 30, Scotland is coming together to share little acts of kindness with each other in tribute to our kind and generous patron saint. The Scottish Government is asking the public to do a good deed on St Andrew’s Day to celebrate Scotland’s history, culture and the nation’s shared values. The #BeLikeStAndrew campaign marks the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – which opens with St Andrew’s Day, followed by Hogmanay, and then Burns Night. Charity partners Princes Trust Scotland, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Crisis Scotland, have joined the Scottish Rugby UnionRead More →

It may be messy. It may be frustrating. It may even be dangerous but the Catalan government continues to progress their case for independence with guile and right on their side. From silly mistakes like allowing the King of Spain to harangue Catalans on prime telly to the very sinister and offensive actions of the Civil Guardia, the Spanish establishment led by Mariano Rajoy have become Europe’s democratic clowns, forcing other EU member states into embarrassing associations with violence against peaceful electors. Boris Johnson’s FCO and personal tweets supporting the ‘rule of law’ as justification for the use of brute force by Spanish national policeRead More →

Angus Robertson famously declared after the NATO motion victory, “he who dares, wins”. That phrase has always stuck with me. Following the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government (PfG) release, even Kenny Farquharson (Sunday Times Scotland columnist) declared it the kind of bold strategy that was expected and needed by Nicola and the SNP. However, within hours of the PfG’s release, Labour in Scotland tweeted that the PfG was based on 10 policy ideas of their own. A bold and deliberate attempt to say, ‘the SNP isn’t radical, we thought of it first’. First of all, politicians of whatever shade of party are rarely the typeRead More →

This week, Paul Kavanagh (aka “The Wee Ginger Dug”) gave a talk to the City of Stirling branch of the SNP in what can only be described as a morale-boosting, motivational address for fellow independence travellers. It’s a talk, which he explained was something he does on a regular basis the length and breadth of Scotland. As with many non-SNP members in the independence movement, he has his views of how to win independence and many of them I agree with. For independence, we must increasingly let it be ‘whatever people want it to be’, i.e. the important detail of whether we are in theRead More →

Commentators North and South of the border are, grudgingly or not, acceding to, even applauding, Nicola Sturgeon as the stand-out Leader (again), of the 2017 General Election.  Launching the SNP’s 2017 general election manifesto in Perth, Nicola Sturgeon outlined the key policies at the heart of the document. The manifesto includes commitments to:  An alternative to austerity that will release almost £120 billion for public spending over the next parliament, achieving a current budget balance by the final year of the parliament  Protect public services, including a plan for additional NHS spending across the UK that would, by 2021/22, increase the NHS Scotland budget byRead More →

A leading light of a pro-European Tory Group described the rush to implement Brexit, whilst casting aside the implications of Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to remain, as ‘the English majoritarian mindset’. Herein lies Theresa May’s greatest problem. To satisfy the anti-EU bloc, she must be seen to drive forward the Brexit agenda and in doing so, trammel the concerns of Remainers in any part of the UK but especially the Celtic fringe, if she, as a former Remainer, is to retain power.   In a move that was lifted from the Thatcher playbook, the Prime Minister declared: ‘Now is not the time’ and withRead More →

You could be forgiven for thinking the Scottish Budget negotiations have gone awry. The first attempt to gain parliamentary approval failed to gain a majority. A second attempt has now been held but when the media invite went out for assembled hacks and snappers, it was to be during a visit by the Finance Cabinet Secretary, Derek Mackay, to Howdenhall Police Station. Was this a last minute public appearance before Derek entered the station to ‘assist police with their enquiries’? The mind boggled. A difficult week in a difficult time. A Scottish Budget that is at the mercy of smaller parties determined to secure concessionsRead More →

Last week’s first and last Autumn Statement by Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a silver lining in the grey clouds of austerity for the City of Stirling and Clackmannanshire (and a host of other places), when the keenly-awaited confirmation that a City Deal had been struck between the Treasury, Scottish Government, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils. The City Deal is predominantly a capital infrastructure plan funded equally by the UK and Scottish Governments, with the two local authorities chipping a bit too. So, you can expect more buildings, better transport links and the opportunity to grow the local economy. The original City Deal inRead More →