Selected Articles

The SNP’s blinkered approach to Scotland’s education crisis is unsustainable

For Nicola Sturgeon, education is the crisis that is not going to go away. In part this is because she pledged that improving the performance of Scotland’s schools would be her top priority as First Minister.

The bitter disappointment that is the SNP Leadership

Well here we are on the cusp of a General Election which will take place on the 12 December. An election that on the 24th October Ian Blackford ( the leader of the SNP in Westminster ) described as “holding an election in December, as ” ccxsheer madness.”

Sturgeon cares about power first and independence second

Politics 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 parents

Parenting 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.


For 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 – Reaction

What 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).

Rambo of Ross-shire throws red meat to rank-and-file

Seeing Ian Blackford speak is like watching as a steam engine chugs towards you. It’s a nerve-wracking experience but you assume, always with vindication, that this thundering behemoth will career off the tracks and into a ravine soon enough. Blackford is the pretendy SNP leader at Westminster, or, rather, that was the role of his…

Scottish nationalists are not anti-establishment. They are the establishment

One of the most amusing tics of Scottish nationalists is their unshakeable conviction that they are in the vanguard of a daring anti-establishment movement. If you count bravely standing up to the powers that be and telling them they’re doing an absolutely smashing job, I suppose they are.

Scottish Labour to outline ‘transformational plan’ for Scotland’s housing

Scottish 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 record

Common 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.

Scottish Government rejects legal ban on fracking

Scottish ministers have rejected calls for a watertight legal ban on fracking, promising instead that they would use planning policy to block the technology indefinitely. In a long-awaited announcement energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, has told the Scottish Parliament that fracking was “incompatible” with the Scottish Government’s bid to cut climate pollution and take carbon out of the economy.

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Did We Dodge a Bullet? The Scottish Referendum 5 Years On.

Five years ago yesterday I voted for Scotland to become an independent country – when the result was announced I remember it being a grey and dreary day in Edinburgh – weather that reflected my mood at the time.

Should Scotland remain in the UK or leave the UK?

What is the secret weapon that will win Scotland’s ongoing constitutional debate? Is it the economy? Brexit? Pensions? The answer is: none of these. The struggle over whether Scotland remains in or leaves the United Kingdom will be decided by whichever side better understands cognitive linguistics, the science of language and how it shapes the…

How to tame Scottish nationalism | Coffee House

Happy Union Day, the fifth anniversary of Scotland’s vote to remain in the United Kingdom. It’s gotten so commercial, though at least voting No to independence means the Scots still have a currency to buy their celebratory Union Jack bunting in. Only there’s not much in the way of celebrations today.

‘Indefensible’: Scottish Government admits compulsory sale orders will not be introduced in this parliament

The 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.

Nicola Sturgeon receives M100 Media Award

United Europe is delighted to partnering this year’s international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, which honours Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for her opposition to Brexit and commitment to the European Union cohesion with the M100 Media Award. Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, delivers keynote address praising the British-Scottish politician and her clear pro-European stance.

The Glasgow riots reflect Scotland’s ugly political tribalism | Coffee House

In 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 how

THERE 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.

Robin Mcalpine: ‘Yes’ means a lot to me – but it’s time to move on

Following the Electoral Commission stating it will review the question of any future independence referendum, Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine argues that the independence movement should shake off its emotional attachment to ‘Yes’ I HAVE a house full of memorabilia of the 2014 independence referendum.

GERS day 2: after the hullaballoo – FAI

Every year when GERS is published, there is a new angle that seems to gain traction and ignite a debate about the accuracy of the figures. This year’s is a rather misguided interpretation of the notional net fiscal balance produced in GERS.

Remain in the UK has to campaign for a confirmatory vote

Robert 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.

What does the Ferguson shipyard story tell us about the SNP’s economic strategy?

Literally minutes after I posted this article I noticed that the Scottish government has now reached an agreement with administrators to take control of the yard. That decision does not negate the issues raised here. The hybrid-powered Glen Sannox shortly after launch in 2017 – still unfinished © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under a Creative…

All the First Minister’s men

Imagine if sometime in mid-2014 we had discovered that Alex Salmond had been accused of committing a serious crime in 2013. What sort of effect would this have had on the independence referendum?

Standing up to the SNP is the only way to save the Union

The demise of the United Kingdom has been foretold many times – in wars civil and foreign, amid religious strife, and across upheavals political, economic and industrial. In every age, the doomsayers scry the same vision: Britain has had a good innings but, thanks to a combination of hubris, ignorance and immutable progress, our fading…

How Brexit will save the United Kingdom – MoneyWeek

Leaving the EU should strengthen the United Kingdom – a multinational union Europe can only aspire to. Alex Carew, a London-based fund manager and economic historian, explains how. It’s on the rocks. Again. Like all marriages, the union between Scotland and England has had its ups and downs.

 You may not be in favour of Brexit, but here’s an interesting article comparing Brexit and Scexit which highlights many of the advantages of being a United Kingdom.

Trident would likely stay at Faslane ‘for 20 years after Yes vote’

Stuart Crawford. a defence expert has claimed that an independent Scotland would likely host Trident for 20 years if Scotland left the UK because of a lack of alternative sites. Stuart Crawford wasa regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999.

No One Feels Your Pain Nicola, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon reveals ‘pain and anguish’ of Alex Salmond split, when your pal is charged with two attempted rapes, nine sexual assaults, two indecent assaults and a breach of the peace hard to be seen with him, Sturgeon uses interview at Edinburgh Fringe to attempt to drive up the sympathy vote for herself, her ‘Princess Di’ act really needed the Taj Mahal for dramatic effect

It seems that something rotten is about to come out into the public domain because SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is looking for sympathy by the bucket load. In what must be one of the most bizarre interviews of late, Sturgeon has spoken of her “personal pain and anguish” at being separated from Alex Salmond.

Scottish Government departments failing on freedom of information

The efforts of departments in the Scottish Government to improve their freedom of information performance have been “disappointing”, according to Scotland’s information watchdog. The Scottish Information Commissioner, Daren Fitzhenry, has named six government departments for “declining” or “uneven” progress in meeting deadlines for responding to requests under freedom of information (FoI) law.

Centre on Constitutional Change Researching the issues. Informing the debate.

Lindsay Paterson discusses how there are more similarities of culture, of opportunity, and of cultural ideas between Scotland and England than the rhetoric of politics sometimes indicates. This post originally appeared on What Scotland Thinks There is an assumption in public debate that – regardless of the outcome of the referendum – devolution has already caused Scotland and England to drift apart, and especially in education policy.

David Mundell: Unionists must win 2021 poll to head off indyref2

The 2021 Scottish Parliament election will be a “pivotal moment” in determining whether Scotland faces another independence referendum, the former Scottish Secretary sacked from his role this week has warned. David Mundell said Boris Johnson had to “listen to Ruth Davidson” and take her lead on how the Conservative Party and UK government approach Scotland in order to reduce the risk to the Union.

Unionists must finally stop capitulating to Scottish Nationalists – CapX

Leaving by the back door is not a new phenomenon in Scottish politics. A few weeks into the job of press officer for Labour in Scotland, I was advised by local police that in order to guarantee the safety of our two successful candidates in the dual Paisley by-elections in November 1990, we should take …

SNP’s distorted world view; Everything revolves round the SNP, everything revolves around the leader, in a political party that doesn’t work well with others, it isn’t a surprise that the Citizens Assembly was doomed to failure, the SNP aren’t open, balanced, transparent, and inclusive, and they don’t want ideas unless they are seen as the instigator which is why Scotland is held back, they don’t have vision

If you think back to what I and others have said about the SNP, it is a cult, a party within a party made up primarily of 4 sub groups, Sein Fein lite, LGBT, Muslims and the rich. All headed and fronted by someone who uses the cult of personality as their instrument to exercise total control.

11th of July 2019

Robin Mcalpine: Scotland – a big country cursed with a small politics

Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine says a holiday to Sweden has brought home to him the extent to which Scotland’s political leadership is insipid and much too comfortable with the status quo I RETURNED from a family holiday in Sweden this week to the farcical sight of the SNP’s annual conference agenda.

The Citizens’ Assembly and its questionable function

DENIED IN 2014 their sole and obsessive aim of separating Scotland from the rest of the UK, the SNP leadership has since come up with a variety of wheezes, ostensibly to gauge popular opinion on the constitutional issue but, as much as anything, to act as data-gathering channels and conduits for purveying nationalist propaganda and drumming up support for separatism.

11th of July 2019

The emerging outlook for Scottish income tax revenues – FAI

How have Scotland’s revenues from income tax been performing since income tax powers were transferred to the Scottish Parliament in April 2017? This is clearly an important question to ask.

26th of February 2019