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Getting ourselves together 341

Posted on June 25, 2016 by

So it’s all over for the United Kingdom.

Scotland (overwhelmingly) and Northern Ireland (less so) have voted to stay in Europe while England (decisively) and Wales (narrowly) have voted to leave. Northern Ireland has its own choices to make, but Scotland must now hold a second referendum.


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Why beggars will be losers 325

Posted on February 06, 2016 by

Scottish Labour’s announcement that it wants to increase tax for everyone earning over £20k (and therefore anyone on under that who fancies making a little bit more, or might do a wee bit of extra overtime), reflects its acceptance both that the far left is in charge now and that this year’s Holyrood race is virtually over already.


SNP party folk will “take nothing for granted”, of course, and some aficionados might find it fun to see which candidates slink into list seats after they’ve lost the votes which count, but I’m really much more interested in what will come after that.

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Talking ’bout a revolution 201

Posted on August 02, 2015 by

There’s much noisy chat at the moment about Jeremy Corbyn being 20 points ahead of his Labour leadership rivals on first-preference votes. His rivals seem to agree; they’ve turned their main efforts to competing amongst themselves for second and third preference “stop Corbyn” votes.


But could any of them really close such a huge gap? And what if they don’t?

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The naked liar 145

Posted on May 23, 2015 by

I was driving along under a lovely London sky yesterday and heard Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s interview on BBC Radio 4’s PM (package starts at 33.26).


As it progressed, it became clear that Sturgeon was turning in one of the best political performances on a radio programme ever. I say that as a Labour supporter, albeit one who’s belatedly grasping just how good she and her party folk are.

(PM, BBC Radio 4, 22 May 2015)

It’s for you, and then the pundits, to reflect on her words and style. But what I heard moved me across a line of argument in a way I can’t remember being moved by anyone on the radio or telly before.

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A lie won’t fly 860

Posted on September 21, 2014 by

Scots voted No, in the end, on a ‘vow’ of greater devolution. Every Scot I have spoken to understands that the promised transfer of power can only take place if the books are balanced and Scots no longer legislate on England-only matters; this is manifestly part of the deal. If the UK government, Tory or Labour, reneges on it then the referendum result will have been fraudulent and founded upon a lie that won’t fly.


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The knife in the water 186

Posted on April 01, 2014 by

A Yes vote in the independence referendum would elevate Scotland to the top of the world political agenda for one reason and one reason only: the fact that the UK’s entire nuclear arsenal would unavoidably be located in a foreign country for years. Everything else about the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK – currency sharing, borders, taxation – is subordinate to that simple and critical fact.


The UK’s serious-minded and capable Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told Andrew Marr on Sunday that he “didn’t think” it was he who had told the Guardian, a couple of days beforehand, that Scotland would be able to currency-share with the UK.

You can take that any way you like, but he also pointed out that he’d just spent the week in Washington DC.

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The nasty parties 162

Posted on March 15, 2014 by

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, yesterday told the Scottish Conservative conference that a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum would see the UK government putting up passport and immigration controls at the border.


Really? Rather than accept a common travel area, as exists with Ireland, the UK government would instigate full international border arrangements – arrangements which exist nowhere else in Europe – on the UK mainland?

Let’s just consider what that would require.

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Kicking the hinges off 122

Posted on February 18, 2014 by

Some recent comments of mine about how the UK government and European Union wouldn’t – because they couldn’t – strip citizenship from anyone in the event of a Yes vote in the independence referendum brought dissenting responses on Twitter from a few folk who certainly know a thing or two about government.


Their primary arguments were so weak, though, that coming from such able individuals they exemplified how much the establishment is being forced to state obvious untruths in defence of an otherwise perfectly legitimate line of argument. But does politics really have to be this dishonest?

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‘Cybernat’ is a loser’s word 189

Posted on May 31, 2013 by

This week’s papers had a story about ‘cybernats’ posting rude messages on social media about Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy’s opposition to Scottish independence.


For the uninitiated, ‘cybernat’ is the term used in Scottish politics to refer, ostensibly, to slightly mad old-school nationalists who post vile, personalised attacks on their political opponents. Some politicos in Scotland don’t seem to understand, though, that this attack doesn’t really work as a political device as it seeks to apply a pejorative to the SNP when everyone knows it can be applied to some supporters of all political parties. Take a look at the comment pages of any UK newspaper.

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Scots would remain EU citizens 55

Posted on December 10, 2012 by

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, has said that in the event that Scotland votes for independence in 2014 then the new state of Scotland would have to apply for EU membership all over again. Well, I hope Scottish residents vote to stay in the UK and I think the possibility that they may not is mainly media and political hype. But I’d hate to see the kind of tosh we’re being treated to today become central to what should, after all, be a serious debate.

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