Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Alex Salmond

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 »

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 »

Alex Salmond’s case for a surviving Social Union undermined

Tue 10 September 2013, 1:27pm

Tweet Polling on Scottish independence shows opinion staying  stuck  broadly against it in familiar proportions, despite the rising volume of campaigning.  But as this will be is an unprecedented once for all exercise with plenty of “don’t  knows”, or “not yet decided” in the frame, there are no grounds for complacency. The SNP’s White Paper on independence is […] more »

Salmond prepares to let Westminster take the hit over post-Leveson press regulation

Wed 20 March 2013, 11:59am

Tweet It may surprise you to learn that a separate Scottish response to the Leveson report on press regulation is looking unlikely. Stage One  was a separate report by an “expert group” headed by  the former Scottish judge Lord McCluskey who recommended “draconian “ powers and a regulator appointed by the Scottish government. If the […] more »

Unionists be warned. Negative campaigning against Scottish independence is not enough

Thu 14 February 2013, 12:56pm

Tweet A warning shot against unionist complacency in Scotland… Backing for independence among voters aged 18 to 24 stood at 58 per cent, according to the latest Ipsos MORI survey on voting intentions for the 2014 referendum…There were 34 per cent who supported Scotland leaving the UK, the poll of more than 1,000 people interviewed […] more »

Bold alternative urgently needed to Scottish independence

Mon 21 January 2013, 2:29pm

Tweet In Scotland the Better Together campaign has deservedly come in for some stick. The pro-Union cause has so far failed to agree on devo-more, the alternative to independence many politically aware Scots seem to want. (Incidentally if it ever comes to an NI referendum, their website is not the model to follow: remarkably for a […] more »

“For the first time, Alex Salmond has been made to look ridiculous”

Thu 25 October 2012, 9:29am

Tweet Alex Salmond has had his worst week in years. The SNP annual conference revealed a split over continuing membership of Nato. Then he was exposed  for, shall we say, stretching a point to its limits by claiming he had legal approval for insisting that an independent Scotland would smoothly inherit EU membership from the […] more »

Opening skirmish in Independence campaign

Fri 25 May 2012, 9:55am

Tweet On the day, the YouGov poll commissioned by Alistair Darling was quite an effective spoiler to the launch of Alex Salmond’s Independence campaign, at least for the largely pro-Union press. The YouGov poll of 1,004 people found that only 33% of Scots would opt for independence, while 57% would reject it, findings which are […] more »

DevoMax may be more disruptive to English regions than Independence…

Thu 23 February 2012, 9:06am

Tweet Great piece by Mark Hennessy who digs into a part of England where they probably have a more nuanced understanding of the Scots instinct for greater autonomy than any other. …the northeast of England worries about the powers that the Scots already have, let alone the possibility that they might get powers over corporation […] more »

Will the referendum debate go two way at last today?

Thu 16 February 2012, 10:18am

Tweet Adds at 2pm. David Cameron’s speech ( in full here, courtesy of the Scotsman) was a constipated affair. Like Eric Morecambe and the Grieg piano concerto, he played all the right notes but not necessariily in the right order – and without enough colour and tone . He talked nervously into the middle distance, not to the […] more »

Scottish referendum no further forward

Tue 14 February 2012, 11:55am

Tweet “Spin” the Telgraph acidly calls it, while the home- based Herald labels it “confusion“  There are different views, of course, on the timescale that the Scottish Government has set out. I don’t think that is a serious argument any more.” However, Mr Moore later insisted that he timing question was far from settled and […] more »

Maybe the referendum question is not so simple

Thu 26 January 2012, 10:24am

Tweet I may have spoken too soon about the clarity of Alex Salmond’s preferred  referendum question : do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?  The Today programme took the trouble to ask a professor in Arizona who had never heard of Big Eck if the wording was fair.  Sure, it was completely […] more »

‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’

Wed 25 January 2012, 4:47pm

Tweet Well, the essential question proposed by Alex Salmond in his consultation paper is surely good enough to satisfy the UK government’s requirement for a clear question on independence. That’s one stumbling block out of the way, I reckon.  But Westminster ‘s rival paper is clearly opposed  to a second question on anything like devo max. […] more »

Paxman: the gowk goes over the top.

Wed 25 January 2012, 7:14am

Tweet Playing the man I know but needs saying: Not Newsnight’s finest hour. After a twee introduction from a whisky sampling reporter then came Paxman’s interview with the Times’s Briton of the year. You can see some of it here. Zimbabwe, Mugabe, One party State?? Opting out of the BBC? the cheek of it all. […] more »

Salmond invades Dublin in pursuit of Glasgow’s Labour vote?

Fri 13 January 2012, 5:20pm

Tweet A couple of years ago we took a taxi from the centre of Glasgow to a friend’s wedding in Pollockshields. I asked the driver who was a Celtic fan (Rangers fans had taken beating the night before and apparently hadn’t shown that morning) what he made of Alex Salmond. “Ah, he’s a fly *……..” […] more »

Unionist forces begin to muster

Thu 12 January 2012, 10:12am

Tweet So it’s game on for the early rounds of the referendum campaign. The Westminster government says Alex Salmond can have a binding referendum provided he sticks to a Yes, No question on independence.   No fudging over devo max. The UK parties are uniting to save the Union, although the others would like Cameron and the […] more »

A constitutional crisis over a Scottish referendum?

Wed 11 January 2012, 10:08am

Tweet Just how serious is the new stand-off between Westminster and Holyrood over a referendum on Scottish independence? I take the view that it’s largely shadow boxing. The two governments will do a deal in the end, even though there’s quite a way to go before it’s clinched. Many believe Cameron boobed badly yesterday by […] more »

Cameron to Salmond: “Right, now I’ve got you right where you want me…”

Tue 10 January 2012, 2:22pm

Tweet As noted here a few months back, the Conservatives are struggling to maintain relevance outside England (and to a lesser degree, Wales). It’s tough job when you barely have any elected representatives to bring some political capital to the literal party. It’s not even an English thing. For reasons not entirely within their control […] more »

Why the Tories are constitutionally all at sea in Scotland

Fri 6 January 2012, 10:49am

Tweet Alex Massie is Scotland’s man in the seried ranks of Tory thinkers in London. He’s not exactly unique, but there are few Unionist commentators who, like him, get a respectful hearing amongst the increasingly confident Scots nationalist blogosphere. In response to a well meaning, but inevitably London bound leader veiw from his own paper […] more »

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