20 Sep 2014
September 20, 2014

A lie won’t fly


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.. read more →

It’s a few hours after the devolution result was announced – so naturally, the devo-plus legislation ‘vow’ has already been delayed until after the 2015 general election. So, three quick points on that. First, as the price of a No victory today, Scots believe they have been ‘promised’ full control over Health and a permanent.. read more →

18 Sep 2014
September 18, 2014

Why the Scottish papers said No

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With the referendum polls apparently neck-and-neck why is it that the Scottish titles have, all but one, stayed away from endorsing ‘Yes’? It’s simply because there isn’t an economically viable indigenous Scottish media at all. With the exception of the quirky DC Thomson output, the Scottish titles are outposts of huge UK and international groups… read more →

I think there will be a No vote on Thursday – possibly swung on the votes of people who say they are not Scots. If there is, the No campaign’s very late, panic-stricken promise of much greater devolution will have been pivotal. The main consequence of the devolution package, though – if enacted as promised.. read more →

16 Sep 2014
September 16, 2014

When paying a ransom is right

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I just did a BBC Radio Ulster interview on the subject of ransoms alongside John McTernan, Tony Blair’s former political secretary. I’d been asked to take part on the basis of this recent blogpost. John put the government line, which is that we shouldn’t pay ransoms because it fuels terrorism and encourages terrorists to take British.. read more →

David Cameron says governments shouldn’t pay ransoms. He’s right. He also says that companies and individuals should be banned from paying ransoms. That’s dead wrong. Governments know they have millions of citizens all over the world at risk. They also make decisions in order to acquire political capital in the interests of their people –.. read more →

07 Sep 2014
September 7, 2014

If Yes wins then what next?


Jim Murphy and Alistair Darling – with energy and passion on the one hand, decency and commonsense on the other – have, I think, done their best for the No camp. The No campaign has in general been terrible, obviously, but if No wins, however narrowly, both politicians will have played important roles – and.. read more →

Polling this week suggested that ‘No’ has a 6 point lead  – 53% to 47% (‘don’t knows’ discounted). This very closely correlates to difference made by the roughly 15% of people with a vote who don’t identify as ‘Scottish’ and who intend to vote ‘No’ by a margin exceeding 2-1. If this is correct, then.. read more →