The Jim Gallagher affair is an unhappy one for him, of course. You can see how he would have enjoyed being a visiting professor while a civil servant, helping academics with his perspectives on the civil service. Then, when the visiting professorship came up for renewal after his retirement, switching the justification to his ‘academic’.. read more →

University academics have a special place in the public dialogue around Scottish independence. They sometimes venture personal opinions and reach out to the wider population, but this is invariably placed by readers and listeners into the context of their assumed scholarship. As we’ve written before, it’s critical that academics make it clear when they’re veering.. read more →

As the SNP meets in Glasgow, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon begins to lay the legislative ground for a new referendum, it’s striking just how much Scottish unionists are being forced to resort to dogma and fallacy; how they’re being forced on to the ground of rubbishing, rather than engaging intelligently with, the challenges.. read more →

Right-wing populists have always beseeched ordinary people to ignore experts. We know why. Decent democrats, on the other hand, give experts their place while accepting that said experts usually disagree with each other and someone has to then try to make public policy decisions based in part on their advice. That’s a bit messy, but of.. read more →

30 Sep 2016
September 30, 2016

The UK’s Far Right

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Anna Soubry MP is a fairly right-wing Tory with quite a high public profile on account of having been very outspoken about her Tory rightwing-ness during her short parliamentary career. Some of us (!) have shared a platform with her in public debate for the chatterati and thought she was about as right wing as.. read more →

26 Sep 2016
September 26, 2016

The Agency

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There is a theme which binds together the phenomena of Trump, Farage, the UK Tories, this week’s Labour conference and much more. It is the dominant political and even existential notion in these amazing and bewildering days. It operates at many levels: the national, community, family and the individual. It is the idea of agency… read more →

Here’s a heartfelt article about Labour by Observer and Guardian columnist Barbara Ellen. She’s staunchly anti-Corbyn and writes that people like her will desert the Labour Party when Corbyn inevitably wins re-election this week. Her difficulty, and that of her like-minded readers, is that they have nowhere to go to. Not the Tories, obviously, but.. read more →

17 Sep 2016
September 17, 2016

Bordering on farce


The Scottish Unionist’s Fear campaign is being wheeled out in Glasgow by the Scottish Tories. Today’s offering includes the old saw that there’d be a hard border between Scotland and England in the event of independence. Here’s Theresa May ruling out border checks in Ireland. And here’s David Davis, UK Brexit Secretary of State, highlighting the.. read more →

This week, David Cameron announced his departure from the House of Commons. He’s a marketable commodity. Perhaps he’ll be in the game for some kind of big international appointment in future. For now he’ll write his book for a few million quid then quietly amass a portfolio which will put him properly in the rich.. read more →

A lot of folk who support independence don’t much care for JK Rowling. She’s important to the independence movement, though. More because of her normal-ness than her uniqueness. Her true life story is a fairy tale. It inspires people. She’s tried to make difference to the lives of others by giving a large chunk of her.. read more →