Today’s Times leader (paywall) says that Scots want a Labour-SNP coalition and that Labour’s leadership wants the same. It concludes that the SNP would use its influence in or on government to de-stabilise the UK, and that the net effect of a Labour-SNP arrangement would be harmful for everyone. Certainly, the SNP is currently polling at.. read more →

Here’s my piece today for The Spectator on Charity lobbying. Like everywhere else, the overwhelming majority of workers in my constituency of Falkirk work in the private sector. Most of them feel that as well as looking after their families, they’re doing their bit for society at large – building buses, refining oil, serving the.. read more →

18 Feb 2015
February 18, 2015

Dr Goldacre will abuse you now

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Dr Ben Goldacre is a medical doctor, writer and public personality. He writes books and a super, genuinely valuable, weekly column for The Guardian which criticise the misleading use of statistics and ‘science’ in public life. Yesterday, he tweeted this link to a short BBC Newsnight package he’d made about how politicians should be ‘punished.. read more →

16 Feb 2015
February 16, 2015

Fracking and jobs

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In the last few months I’ve talked to a lot of people in the Falkirk area about fracking. I’ve also spoken to industry experts across the UK and indeed the world, and the message from all, whether local workers or geologists in Africa, is consistently positive about the new technology. So it may seem odd,.. read more →

14 Feb 2015
February 14, 2015

Scapegoat – a game for all the family

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The UK government has decided to scapegoat the obese this week. If fatties don’t seek help to get back into the workplace, they’ll have their benefits cut. Fair enough; they could do with a bit less to eat, anyway. But, hang-on, what about their kids? Won’t fatties keep stuffing their faces with lardy food but.. read more →

13 Feb 2015
February 13, 2015

IPSA’s latest FOI reply, and me

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IPSA is putting out a reply to an FOI request today which will say, amongst other things, that I owe the public thousands of pounds. This is my only comment upon that for the moment. Life is simply too short. In early December 2014, I was notified by IPSA of reply to an FOI request.. read more →

Those Ashcroft figures!  And there’s more to come. Yet while amazing to see in print, they didn’t truly surprise anyone at all. Although it’s certainly striking how, contrary to the usual daft and pointless polls by the Daily Record, the well-funded and serious polling efforts by the now very credible Tory peer Lord Ashcroft have.. read more →

03 Feb 2015
February 3, 2015

Gallantry medals and killing

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A Royal Marine is reported today as having killed at least 173 people. One of my oldest friends was a Royal Marines Commando sniper and a few years ago I got the chance to chat to a few in Afghanistan. Snipers are unusual in that it’s quite specifically their task to kill – which they sometimes.. read more →

03 Feb 2015
February 3, 2015

Chilcot Report bollocks

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Some Labour opponents would like to see the Chilcot Report published before the election because they think it’ll harm Labour. Labour also says it wants the report published but knows it won’t be. Chilcot says he’s not ready to publish. It’s quite obvious that the delay is not due to Tony Blair or any other politician.. read more →

02 Feb 2015
February 2, 2015

University Vice

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University Vice-Chancellors (VCs) are calling for the £9k tuition fee to remain intact. They have plenty of sensible things to say about fee structures and living costs, and so forth.  They’re the experts in how to run our excellent universities well. And yet, because they fought hard against the introduction of tuition fees in the.. read more →