• AFRICA

    AFRICA

  • FALKIRK

    FALKIRK

  • LONDON

    LONDON

The Falkirk business (ahem!) saw Ed Miliband faced with a choice to either stand up to a new militant entryism led by the Unite leadership, or to cave in and somehow hope it would all go away. He caved in. The militants waited for the inevitable Miliband election failure then pushed many of their number.. read more →

When I was a by-election candidate – the last MP elected in the 20th Century, it occurs to me as I write this – I was driven around events and tucked in at night (an important job at a by-election) by a big, friendly union guy. This was Tom Watson. He’d been selected as a.. read more →

So it’s all over for the United Kingdom. Scotland, overwhelmingly, and Northern Ireland by a smaller margin have voted to stay in Europe while England and Wales have voted decisively to leave. Whatever happens in Northern Ireland, Scotland must now hold a second referendum. The Scottish Government said before the referendum that it would only hold.. read more →

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson seems a super individual in so many ways. Scottish Tories, like Alex Massie, provide Scottish unionism – of both right and left – with its only serious intellectual ballast. And the Tories have done so terribly well of late, with Davidson having very serious de facto powers of government. Some.. read more →

Here’s today’s Guardian piece about alleged money laundering in Scotland. A few years ago, a well-known building in Larbert near Falkirk was renovated at a cost of several million pounds. It was widely advertised as a fabulous new hotel: a big asset to Falkirk. But some local hoteliers and business folk thought there was something.. read more →

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP clearly run ‘devolved’ Scotland. But who now runs the equally significant ‘reserved’ Scotland?  Prime Minister David Cameron? Hardly. Post-referendum Scotland takes up a vanishingly small amount of his time. His Secretary of State for Scotland, Scotland’s only Tory MP, perhaps? No again. The main political role of the secretary of.. read more →

08 May 2016
May 8, 2016

BBC politics

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The Lord Hall of Birkenhead, a member of the Upper House of the UK Parliament and – oddly enough – director general of the BBC, is in the papers this week with an article entitled; “Britain’s people, not politicians, own the BBC”. The piece tells us what ‘the people’ have been saying about the BBC and warns.. read more →

The Tory resurgence in Scotland has come at the expense of Labour, not the SNP (see the second graphic here). Labour’s reduction to minor party is cataclysmic for it and the Tories new role as leaders of the unionist movement in Scotland will help the SNP towards winning the next independence referendum. The SNP performance.. read more →

On Thursday over 70% of voters in Scotland will vote for the lower income-tax option offered by the SNP and Tories, and against the higher tax proposals of the other parties. Commanding the right and centre ground are the Tories and SNP.  The latter, expecting over 50% of the vote, including almost or actually all of.. read more →

There’s been a fair bit written about tactical voting at the Scottish parliamentary elections. The SNP is going to take almost all the 73 constituency seats, it seems, and this makes is quite hard for them to gain additional seats via the corrective proportional mechanism of the ‘second’ or ‘regional list’ vote which voters have… read more →

30 Mar 2016
March 30, 2016

The Congo

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I went to the Republic of Congo  – Congo Brazzaville – during a trip to the region last week which originally had a different purpose. I wrote a few pieces for various English and French language newspapers and websites – here’s The Guardian and here’s the The New Statesman – so I won’t repeat myself… read more →

Scotland has 32 local authorities for a population of just over 5 million. That means, amongst other things, 32 local education authorities. One, the charming Clackmannanshire which admittedly has sensible working arrangements with neighbouring Stirling, has 3 secondary schools. Local education authorities have, in parts of England, been denuded of powers and often meaning as.. read more →

Scottish Labour’s  announcement that it wants to increase tax for everyone earning over £20k (and therefore anyone  on less than that who fancies earning a little bit more in the coming year or two, or might do a wee bit of extra overtime), reflects its acceptance both that the far-left is in charge now and.. read more →

03 Feb 2016
February 3, 2016

Scottish Labour eats the not-very-rich

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Listening to R4’s Today Programme yesterday morning,  I wondered If I’d heard properly. Scottish Labour had announced that it would increase tax on everyone earning more than £20k. Nutty? Of course. But as I tuned in to hear the leader of the Scottish Labour Brand interviewed by John Humphries, I heard her defend the idea.. read more →

The International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 2002, prosecutes only black people. There have been 39 indictees – all black Africans. Two democratically-elected, serving presidents have been indicted; defendants are held for many years in cells the Hague while their trials take place, yet there have been only two convictions in over 15 years. Nine.. read more →

17 Jan 2016
January 17, 2016

Bad language at the Church of England

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The Archbishop of Canterbury apologised yesterday for the way the Church of England, of which he is head, has decided to keep hurting gay people. This seems to me dangerously close to domestic abuse – “I’m so sorry for what I’ve just done and plan to keep on doing”. At the very least, it’s like.. read more →

The African and conservative bishops won the day at the big Church of England showdown a day or two after I wrote the piece below. This piece has had an unusual number of hits – a thousand in the first few minutes after it was posted – and they’re still coming in. That the sort.. read more →

In the 90s, I worked as a staff officer to the British Army general responsible for Army recruiting and training. He was continuously and genuinely engaged with the issue of how to get more folk with minority ethnic backgrounds into the Army. Later, for a while, I worked at the Commission for Racial Equality. Stories.. read more →