I just watched Tariq Jahan describe to the BBC how he arrived on the scene of three likely murders in Birmingham, a car had piled into a crowd during riots, and immediately began administering CPR to one of the victims.   He then realised that another of the victims was his own son, Haroon.  I.. read more →

18 Mar 2011
March 18, 2011


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The British National Party is advertising an event in the Falkirk area scheduled for tomorrow   It seems to be both a big social occasion and the launch of their Scottish campaign. Nick Griffin is, apparently, the keynote speaker. They’re a tiny bit secretive about the venue (!) but it’s widely rumoured to be The.. read more →

Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie writes here about the scope for George Osborne to follow David Cameron as Tory party leader.  It’s the first article I’ve seen which flags how it’s possible for senior politicians to aspire to be in the top job without wishing to topple their predecessor. Up to a point. This new environment.. read more →

Sir Howard Davies, who’s just resigned as Director of the London School of Economics (LSE),  is a classical blue-chip bloke.  Largely a public servant, who’s along the way made more than a few bucks to pay off the mortgage, is widely viewed by people I rate as super-smart, fairly streetwise and profoundly decent. His departure.. read more →

I’m in Falkirk.  So instead of Jools Holland on BBC2 I’ve got carpet bowls and trendy-looking presenters of un certain age (excuse my French) pretending to get excited about ‘that amaaaazing play’.  Do they have no shame? (Annoyingly, the commentator, Dougie Vipond, is actually a guy with musical cred, but it’s his call). Anyway, here’s.. read more →

31 Aug 2010
August 31, 2010

Why Politicians Lie about Drugs


Politicians lie about drugs because pretty much everyone else does. Along with a few trades union colleagues, I recently had a chat with President Santos of Colombia and the subject of you-know-what came up, as it does there.  It turns out that Scotland is the highest per capita consumer of cocaine in the world.  Scotland.. read more →

30 Jun 2010
June 30, 2010

Getting Stabbed


If you’ve licked my left thigh (a mercifully tiny sample of people – so just a rubbish device), you’ll know there’s a white stab wound in it.  I was very, very  young; high spirits and kind of mucking about (we both had flick-knives).  I had a shoulder wound too; it was very nippy and I.. read more →

16 Jun 2010
June 16, 2010

Saville Report


I spent a year as an army officer in Derry in the early 90s.  I spent most of my time in civvies liaising with local groups. I got to know a lot of people, unionist and nationalist-minded alike.  A few of those I worked with lived in a little village called Greysteel, between Ballykelly and.. read more →

This seems like a timely moment to make a few things clear about myself in public.  Ever since I was aware of my own sexuality, still at primary school, I knew I was attracted to a certain type of person.  And over the years, in truth nothing’s changed.  In these relatively enlightened days, while sexuality.. read more →

Here’s what I think.  Cameron can’t do a deal on electoral reform.  He’s too weak right now and his new Hannan-style MPs won’t let him.  Boris is salivating. Nick Clegg can’t do a proper deal with the Tories because his MPs, and most members, won’t let him do that either.  And I doubt he want.. read more →