Selected Articles Alex Salmond’s trial will coincide with a reassessment of the SNP’s recordT HE SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY ( SNP) looks in fine fettle. In the general election it secured 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the British Parliament, an increase of 13. Surveys regularly show about 40% of voters back it, far more than can be said for its rivals. Euan McColm: Frustration grows as Nicola Sturgeon urges one more heave for independenceEven among those loyal to Nicola Sturgeon there is frustration at her reliance on ‘one more heave, lads’ as difficult times draw nearer, writes Euan McColm Are you furiously angry about being denied your democratic rights? Do you seethe with rage over being trapped in the United Kingdom by a government hell-bent on keeping you down? Nicola Sturgeon won’t be taking any lectures from youIf you missed First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon still isn’t taking any lectures from anyone, SNP MSPs retain an impressive capacity for toadying and everything’s much worse in Wales. Specifically, she would not be taking a lecture from Jackson Carlaw on police funding. The interim Tory leader said police stations had ‘water pouring in through… Brian Monteith: To get back into power, the Scottish Conservatives must be ready to compromiseIt is encouraging to see the two contenders for leadership of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party actually talking about developing policies. It remains to be seen if where they admit being willing to take their party will actually amount to a difference between them. Alistair Grant: Scotland’s endless Indyref2 Groundhog Day is going nowhere fastHAS a big political moment ever felt so tedious? That’s not a rhetorical question; I’m genuinely curious. And all right, forget Brexit for a moment. To no one’s surprise, Boris Johnson this week rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a second independence vote. Opinion: The SNP wants us to know we’re facing a constitutional crisis. Unfortunately for them, no one caresIt was, according to the House of Commons clock, just after 2.30 in the afternoon when the nation was plunged into a constitutional crisis. It was a crisis so severe that up to three of the roughly 15 people present when the plunging happened even looked up from their phones to mark the occasion. What might a land border between the United Kingdom and a separate Scotland look like?England – Scotland border (from Map of UK) The December 2019 general election result, and the SNP’s response to it, has brought the question of a future border between the UK and a separate Scotland back into focus. Three comments chosen almost at random make the point: from Philip Sim, political reporter on the BBC… I voted for Scottish independence in 2014 but I’d vote ‘no’ in Indyref2Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. At the time of the last Scottish independence referendum in 2014, I was in my final year of university and very much on the fence. Failing to take No for an answer is an abuse of powerThe Conservative manifesto promised that there would not be a second Scottish independence referendum. The Conservatives won a large majority. That should be the end of the matter. But this being Scotland it isn’t. Independence is the bone Nicola Sturgeon is the dog. Nowhere to run too, nowhere to hide; Prime Minister Boris Johnson totally rejects SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for second independence vote, Sturgeon’s “personal promise” that the referendum in 2014 was a “once in generation” event comes back from the political grave to haunt her, will she reign or will she pushed from her zombie SNP government?Today is an important day; it is the day that Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively slammed the door shut on indyref 2. And as if by magic, I have found the perfect song on youtube to get into the groove. With indyref 2 now totally dead, the political focus of Scots will be looking at the SNP record’s in government. How to deal with the SNP – just say no! – ReactionIf I were ever asked to suggest a “who would win in a fight between …” question I’d go for Nicola Sturgeon vs. Nancy Reagan (verbals only, of course). And I’m convinced the late, but while she was around – which was a long time – seemingly indefatigable former first lady of the USA would be more than a match for the current First Minister of Scotland. Careful What You Whinge For : Reflections on 20 Years of Manufactured GrievanceA sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind-if either forgets that we think of such things only… Why does the SNP keep winning? Just look at the opposition.Back when there were still rules to politics, one of them was this: a government in power for a long time with nothing to show for it is a goner come the next election. By that logic, Nicola Sturgeon should be savouring her remaining time in Bute House before the removal men come to pack… Firms linked to tax havens profit from NHS recruitment crisisFirms profiting from NHS Scotland’s recruitment crisis have links to tax havens and pay their directors up to £184,000, a Ferret analysis has revealed. When NHS boards struggle to find doctors, nurses and other medical staff they use private recruitment agencies. A referendum in 2020? – FAIThe First Minister continues to push for a second independence referendum ‘before the end of 2020’. There are of course a number of political hurdles to cross before this could happen. And these will no doubt dominate debates in the press and social media. Here’s Saint Nic, with a lump of coal for your stockingMSPs gathered on Tuesday for Holyrood’s annual Indyref2 Statement Day. I swear, it comes around earlier every year. Mind you, it’s gotten so commercialised these days that people have forgotten the true meaning: the birth of the SNP’s saviour, Brexit, and its distraction from the Scottish Government’s record. Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t forgotten. Scotfact: Scotland’s North Sea Oil and Gas IndustryThere are a few different ways we can look at Scotland’s share of public revenue raised from Oil and Gas taxation. The Scottish Government publishes Oil and Gas Revenue figures under the Scotland National Accounts Programme (SNAP) . Euan McColm: Nicola Sturgeon divides and rules with myth of the mandateNicola Sturgeon’s indyref rhetoric rises several pitches but the election hasn’t changed the arithmetic, writes Euan McColm An enduring myth about the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence is that it was regarded by all as a great celebration of democracy. The Union in the age of BorisBoris Johnson’s Friday morning victory speech signalled that a new kind of Conservative Party was on the way. The Tories had swept Labour aside in swathes of working-class seats in what had been Britain’s socialist heartlands. He told bleary-eyed Tory activists: ‘In winning this election we have won votes and the trust of people who… The Scottish constitutional crisis is fictitious – ReactionIt is an axiom of journalism that good news does not sell newspapers. It follows, therefore, that a post-election landscape in which Britain appears to have achieved an unusual degree of consensus and there are no obvious obstacles to the government pursuing its objectives means lean pickings for journalists. Anniversary Article – The Smoke over ScotlandEach year on December the 19 th I remember coming out of hospital after a serious illness on that day in 2011. I will never forget it. It was a cold December day – and I vividly remember the glorious feeling of the cool air – and the joy of being home. SNP legal challenge to any refusal of indyref2 would ‘likely fail’A legal challenge by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the blocking of a second independence referendum would likely fail, according to a legal academic, The Times reports. Ms Sturgeon said this week that she was considering “all options” in response to a question about a potential legal challenge if Prime Minister Boris Johnson returns to power with a majority and rejects her … Attainment gap persists in Scottish schools, new figures showNew figures reveal that children living in the most affluent areas of Scotland are continuing to perform at a higher level than those living in the most deprived communities. Scotland’s Chief Statistician has today published a range of statistics, including those on school pupils’ achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) levels in reading and numeracy. The SNP are unaware of the scale of their defeatPolitics is the continuation of war by other means is to rather mangle Clausewitz but expresses a truth that the SNP and most other Scots missed yesterday. The SNP may have won a tactical victory, but they suffered a strategic defeat. The SNP goal of creating an independent Scotland, depends on their being granted an independence referendum. SNP Embroiled In Its Own Anti-Semitism Scandal – ReactionA week ago, Neale Hanvey was the Scottish National Party’s disgraced, disowned candidate in the extremely marginal seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – repudiated by the SNP leadership for repugnant antisemitic material on social media, though just too late to remove his name from the ballot-paper. IEA: Evidence so far suggests minimum pricing in Scotland has been “an expensive flop”Commenting on new evidence from the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of alcohol-related deaths fell in England by 145, fell in Wales by 13 and rose in Scotland by 16, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs Christopher Snowdon said: “It’s welcome news that there were 158 fewer deaths… Why this election mattersThere is something about the printing of ballot papers that sends politicians reaching for the superlatives. Barely has a single billboard gone up or a solitary postal vote settled on a weary doormat than the parties begin breaking out the apocalyptic rhetoric. ‘This is the most important election of your lifetime.’ Fact check: Sturgeon’s claim that violent crime is at 40-year low is FalseNicola Sturgeon has appeared regularly across the British media as her party outlines its vision for Scotland before the general election. She answered questions from listeners to Radio 5 Live on Monday 2 December, who covered topics including Brexit, Scottish independence and the SNP’s domestic record in Scotland. The battle for the soul of ScotlandThe general election will be defined by constitutional questions like none other in recent times. England and Wales, it seems, are facing a Brexit election, with one opinion poll suggesting that 40 per cent of UK voters are most likely to base their vote on the issue, compared to 18 per cent at the start of the 2017 election. Scotland’s progress in reducing education inequality slowsScotland’s progress in narrowing the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils has slowed since Nicola Sturgeon, first minister, made reducing education inequality her top priority, an international survey suggests. Results of the three-yearly Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study published on Tuesday raise serious questions for Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National party government, which faces widespread criticism of its record on education. The SNP: Living in the PastThe SNP’s Ian Blackford recently made the following statement (presumably to Adam Boulton) on Sky News: “But the simple fact of the matter, Adam, is that if you look back over the course of the last 40 years, UK Government figures make it absolutely clear that Scotland has subsidised the rest of the UK in most of the last 40 year period.” SNP MP Chris Law under police investigationDundee West MP Chris Law was detained and questioned at his home yesterday in relation to a pro-Scottish independence campaign he set up, the Daily Record has revealed. The Spirit of Independence saw Mr Law touring Scotland in a Green Goddess fire engine in the run-up to the 2014 referendum. Scotland and the EU: Sturgeon’s myth and the EU realityTHE SNP IS BIG ON OUTRAGE, and nothing has ostensibly outraged it more than “Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will”. Certainly, 62 per cent of Scots (including me) voted Remain in 2016, but that leaves well over a third of Scots who voted Leave. Tactical Voting 2019Tactical Voting 2019 In this General Election, the SNP will use every vote it receives to argue for another divisive referendum on leaving the UK. Our voting suggestions do not constitute an endorsement of any candidate or party’s policies. Scotland Should Back The UK over the EU post-BrexitIn 2014, the United Kingdom faced it is the most significant threat since 1707. The life-long question of Scottish independence was not yet answered, and the separatist appetite had only grown since the creation of the Scottish National Party in 1934. Unlike in Wales, Scotland’s movement has taken a sizeable control of devolved power in… A fate worse than Quebec: the perils of Scotland’s ‘neverendum’ – CapXSome people simply cannot accept defeat. Or indeed the outcome of a democratic vote. And I’m not just talking about Remainers and Brexit. As Nicola Sturgeon’s disastrous interview with Andrew Neil showed, a second referendum on Scottish independence remains both bafflingly illogical and realistic prospect in the near future: the same Westminster that couldn’t carry … How to vote? The use of tactics in 2019THE ELECTION on 12 December looks as if it will be the first election in which tactical voting will play a significant part. In England and Wales, those who are strong EU Leavers will vote for either the Conservatives or the Brexit Party. Facing up to the SNP threat means thinking and voting tactically“IF SCOTLAND votes for Independence I’ll move to England”. I have heard a lot of people saying they’d move to Northumberland and no doubt cause a property boom… I said this in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last Thursday. General election 2019: a different contest in ScotlandAhead of the Westminster election on 12 December, James Mitchell Scottish Independence protest, 2019. Photo by Adam Wilson on explains how party competition in Scotland is shaped by interrelated questions of policy, competence, independence and Brexit, which for short-term tactical reasons places the Tories and SNP in direct competition, and squeezes Labour and the Lib Dems, while most likely leaving longer term issues unchanged until after the Scottish parliamentary elections of 2021. SNP is Failing on a Daily BasisBeset by failure in running Scotland, at the SNP party conference in October leader Nicola Sturgeon was forced to bring forward her plan to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence in 2020. With all the SNP’s legal moves against Brexit fizzling out or falling on stony ground, it has been forced by the success of Brexit arguments to reveal … How to oust your local SNP MPCometh an election, cometh a debate about the merits of tactical voting. Does it work? How risky is it? Is a choice between the lesser of two evils really the best we can do? In short succession: 1) Yes, it can. 2) The greater risk is doing nothing. Nicola Sturgeon’s priorities are not yoursThe solitary joy of election campaigns is when politicians and journalists encounter the voters, those strange creatures they shelter from in parliaments and television studios the rest of the time. The voters are an unreliable sort. They don’t conform to the message grid, ask all the wrong questions and actually expect answers. “Ignorant, distant and cold”: such is Spain’s diplomacy opinion on Ms. SturgeonSCOTLAND’S PAPERS The emails exchanged between several Spanish diplomats describe Ms. Sturgeon as “devoid of empathy”. Mr. Borrell’s team also stressed that the independence of Scotland “would open a Pandora’s box in Europe with unforeseeable consequences” The SNP is against national independenceIt doesn’t want sovereignty for the UK, just as it doesn’t want sovereignty for Scotland. The upcoming General Election has put the question of Scottish independence and, with it, the future of the Union, centre stage. So for the Scottish National Party leader, and Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, an SNP victory would represent an ‘unequivocal and irresistible demand’ for a second independence vote. Election 2019: how marginal is your constituency over Brexit? | The FerretEach main party in Scotland has a slightly different policy for the UK’s exit from the EU. Ferret Fact Service decided to take a look at the state of play on Brexit in each Scottish constituency. We mapped the 2017 result and the nearest challenger in each constituency. Sturgeon cares about power first and independence secondPolitics has always been a ghastly business but at least there used to be ground rules. Families were generally considered off-limits (though, as Jacob Rees-Mogg’s son found out, not any more), as was an opponent’s health (Charles Kennedy learned the hard way that not everyone respects that convention). The Scottish state’s reckless war on parentsParenting diktats and state surveillance will do more harm than good. The American comic Groucho Marx said that politics is the art of ‘looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies’. This cynical observation rings true when you consider recent diktats on parenting pushed by Scotland’s political elites. FMQsFor those who do not have time to watch First Minister’s Questions, I can provide what I hope is a helpful summary of the last many sessions, and for that matter, future ones too. What follows is what I have learned from Nicola Sturgeon’s responses. The SNP are rubbish at everything, except messaging – ReactionWhat is the most useful gadget or gizmo you possess? I suppose most people would choose their personal computer, or their smartphone, or their smart watch, or perhaps even their virtual assistant (Alexa). Scottish Labour to outline ‘transformational plan’ for Scotland’s housingScottish Labour will today put forward a series of proposals to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis with a Commission set up by the party set to report its findings. Labour said the plans will put people before developers’ profits, and put housing and in particular public sector led-development at the forefront of the country’s politics. Robin McAlpine: The independence movement can’t ignore the Scottish Government’s track recordCommon Weal director Robin McAlpine takes a hard look at the state of Nicola Sturgeon’s government, and what its achievements and failures mean for the cause of independence I BELIEVE the independence movement needs a government that is inspiring people by being bold and showing the kind of change that could be possible with independence. ‘Indefensible’: Scottish Government admits compulsory sale orders will not be introduced in this parliamentThe SNP previously made a manifesto commitment to introduce the new power, which would allow local authorities to sell abandoned buildings or plots of land to the highest bidder Nicola Sturgeon blames “constraints on the legislative programme” and the potential implications of Brexit for delay in the introduction of CSOs Leave Beat the SNP in Half of Their Westminster Seats –The SNP love going on about how more Remain votes than Leave votes came from Scotland in the United Kingdom’s EU referendum. They don’t like mentioning that more than a million Scots voted to leave, or the fact that if you disregard the Leave votes from Scotland and Northern Ireland, Remain would have won. The Glasgow riots reflect Scotland’s ugly political tribalism | Coffee HouseIn 2014, a young SNP activist called Aidan Kerr caused some consternation when he that Scotland was undergoing ‘Ulsterisation’. The nation’s politics, which for the past generation had pitched nationalism against social democracy, was becoming a battle between nationalism and unionism. The casus belli would be identity, not class or income. Why we need to change our referendums – and howTHERE HAVE BEEN two referendums in Scotland in the last five years; the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014 and the referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016. Both referendums were intended to address constitutional issues that parliamentary politics appeared incapable of dealing with. Remain in the UK has to campaign for a confirmatory voteRobert Hoskins looks at how a vote should be structured, learning the lessons of 2014 and 2016, in the event of a second independence referendum. Since the morning after the result of the EU referendum which marked a discrepancy in voting behaviour between Scotland and England, the demands for another independence referendum have been ever increasing. Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: the betrayal of a whole generation?Is the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland working? If not, can it be changed? Lindsay Paterson explains the reasons behind the recent disquiet and writes that although it may be a plausible culprit for the decline in students’ performance, the curriculum is so deeply embedded that removing it would cause enormous upheaval.