Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


#IndyRef: “Nationalism breaks things and they are things not easy to fix.”

Wed 23 April 2014, 2:03pm

Tweet On the subject of Scotland and the clear failings of the No campaign (such as it is) Hugo Riftkind’s column in yesterday’s London Times is worth looking at (if you have a subscription). He deals with the impossibility clause currently being pushed by Labour, up front… …as we all know really, an independent Scotland, […] more »

Scotland Essays: Proud declaration of lack of vision is the hallmark of a failing No campaign

Tue 22 April 2014, 12:13pm

Tweet Just a week after John McTernan tried mightily to sound upbeat about about the No campaign’s relentless negativity and it’s almost universal condemnation by campaign analysts and the Scotsman writes: Alex Salmond is on the brink of securing a historic victory in the referendum, according to an exclusive poll suggesting Yes Scotland needs a swing […] more »

“Poll: Scotland on the brink of independence” Time to panic?

Tue 22 April 2014, 11:55am

Tweet For Scotland on Sunday to strike such a headline shows it’s time to panic says the Speccie. “Mr Darling and his allies in Better Together have to wake up to the fact that they have managed to blow a 20-point lead in a few months and the gap between the two sides looks like […] more »

More evidence that the Westminster village is waking up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 17 April 2014, 1:07pm

Tweet John McTernan is among the shrewdest of political strategists. As quoted by David McCann, he offers  “don’t panic” advice to fellow strategists. What’s missing here are reasons for Scots to vote No. The McTernan view isn’t cutting  it with leading commentators on the centre left and right. Martin Kettle in the Guardian The psychological impact in England, […] more »

Scotland Essay: Why the No side should be looking up in Scotland…

Wed 16 April 2014, 5:07pm

Tweet By John McTernan The most important three words in any campaign are not ‘Vote For Me’, but ‘Hold Your Nerve’. The independence campaign has reached what Sir Alex Ferguson used to call ‘squeaky-bum time’. The polls are closing – we are told. The No campaign needs to be positive – opine commentators. Scotland is […] more »

Scotland, “England” and the post colonial struggle for warmth and freedom between porcupines…

Thu 10 April 2014, 8:32am

Tweet Melanie McDonagh writing in London based Evening Standard thinks Michael D “…isn’t so much a foreign dignitary; more like a friendlier version of Alex Salmond”. Aha, now it would be tempting to go with the ‘well if Scotland was independent…’ line, but it’s probably better to point out that as President Michael D is […] more »

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain showing what ‘socially present journalism’ looks like…

Wed 9 April 2014, 5:33pm

Tweet “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations       So a little vicarious glory via sometimes Slugger blogger Phil Mac Giolla Bhain who has made it to number 10 in the Press Gazette’s top social journalists (not bad […] more »

John Barry: “We need legislators, not negotiators…”

Wed 9 April 2014, 7:24am

Tweet I had an interesting chat today with John Barry. A fellow Dubliner but a far more interesting and indeed public character than that may suggest. John is a Green Party candidate in the forthcoming Council elections standing in the Abbey ward of the new North Down and Ards Council. He was co-opted onto the existing […] more »

It takes the threat to Cameron’s survival to wake Westminster up to the threat of Scottish independence

Thu 3 April 2014, 9:51am

Tweet Signs are emerging that the Westminster village, which usually treats north of Hampstead Heath as terra incognita, is at last waking up to the  real threat of Scottish independence.  The contrast couldn’t be starker between the obsession of the English right wing with a phantom referendum over Europe and the real one in Scotland that […] more »

The Scottish referendum. The British identity that dare not speak its name

Sun 30 March 2014, 7:42pm

Tweet   The best article I’ve seen about the dearth of a cultural identity debate in Scotland by Alex Linklater, son of the great Magnus. Could Scots learn a thing or two from the Irish? Or maybe not?  You’d have thought the Scottish cultural air would be thrumming with an accrued history of intellectual fighting […] more »

Talking of shifts of opinion, what’s happening in Scotland?

Wed 19 March 2014, 11:14am

Tweet Even after several visits to Scotland to talk to political elites I confess I never quite twigged what the core appeal of Scottish independence actually was.  Now from reports like this  by Severin Carrell, I’m beginning  to get it. The Yes campaign would say all that wouldn’t they,  but all the same.. Margie Maxwell is […] more »

Gordon Brown’s tough to trump “have-your-cake-and-eat-it formula” for Scotland

Wed 12 March 2014, 12:07pm

Tweet For my money I think Gavin Falconer underestimates the sheer pragmatic force of John Bew’s latest argument in favour of the union. One of my late uncles by marriage was one of the few people I’ve ever known who had been an enthusiastic member of the AOH (by contrast I know lots of Orangemen). […] more »

David Cameron’s bid to go it alone could open up the debate on the UK’s future on the EU

Tue 25 February 2014, 7:45am

Tweet NOW this is interesting. James Kirkup at the Telegraph broke the news last night that as well as having its manifesto writen by five old Etonians (and one former pupil of St Pauls, and I don’t mean the one in Beechmount!), the Tories will be going into the next election determined not go into […] more »

“Scary or liberating, that is the meaning of independence…”

Fri 21 February 2014, 12:06pm

Tweet Talking to an English mate the other day he was waxing lyrical about how he’d be glad to get rid Scotland, until I pointed out that that’s a song you could keep singing until there was only London, Kent and the home counties left, at which point you’d be left with a valueless lump […] more »

After the Currency Union debate the #IndyRef is dead, so long live the SNP…

Thu 20 February 2014, 12:33pm

Tweet Lots of remarkable happenings in the last week or so in Scotland’s #IndyRef debate. Some of it needs taking with salt. For instance, whilst Barroso is correct to say that an independent Scotland will have to apply for membership of the EU, it’s hard to see what grounds anyone in the EU would have […] more »

Why exactly have we got devolved administration? And what are we doing with it?

Wed 19 February 2014, 1:37pm

Tweet Robin Wilson in the BelTel today: It is not practicable for Northern Ireland, Scotland and/or Wales to elaborate distinctive welfare systems, though the Executive should at least have taken a passing interest in the profound debates which have taken place in Scotland and Wales about enhanced fiscal autonomy. And it is utterly pointless to […] more »

Hope, delusion, memory and trauma in the Scottish referendum of 2014: Prof Murray Pittock (QUB, Wed 12th)

Mon 10 February 2014, 8:54pm
Murray Pittock The Road to Independence Scotland in the Balance

Tweet Cultural historian Prof Murray Pittock (University of Glasgow) is delivering a lecture entitled The British people? Hope, delusion, memory and trauma in the Scottish referendum of 2014 in QUB’s Canada Room (Lanyon Building) on Wednesday afternoon (12 Feb) at 4pm. His presentation will be followed by the launch of his updated book The Road […] more »

David Cameron and love bombing the Scots

Fri 7 February 2014, 10:11am

Tweet The tempo is picking up at last with maybe just a hint of panic?  The BBC, the Times£, the FT, even the Sun are splashing David Cameron’s defence of the Union in the patriotic venue of the Olympic Park.  The future of the United Kingdom is up in the air, David Cameron will warn […] more »

The Scottish referendum campaign: personal relations are affected as the arguments become keener

Thu 30 January 2014, 12:24pm

Tweet Both sides of the independence referendum campaign are busy spinning Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s warning to Alex Salmond  that “some ceding of national  sovereignty” would be necessary as the price of independent Scotland’s desire  to keep the pound. The Nats are treating it with all  the appearance of calm acceptance;  the No campaign, championed […] more »

Scottish unionism is finding an idealistic voice. There are lessons for their “Ulster” cousins

Thu 16 January 2014, 10:40am

Tweet This comment piece in the Guardian by  Chris Deerin, a former Daily Telegraph journalist who has moved back home to Scotland is just about the first I’ve come across that the celebrates  historic Britishness as an argument against separation. Amazing when you think about it that we’ve had to wait all this time.  I […] more »

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