There are lessons from Northern Ireland for the SNP’s row over Nick Robinson and the BBC

The row between the BBC’s outgoing political editor Nick Robinson and the former Scotland first minister Alex Salmond  reminds me of experience in  Northern Ireland during the Troubles  where there was a similar lack of fundamental agreement about the political destiny of the country. Nick’s row arose out of questions he put to Alex at a news conference towards the end of the referendum campaign. The SNP were playing  down the theme  which turned out to be the clincher in … Read more

A spirit of genuine power sharing is needed to make more powers work for the Scottish Parliament

Power sharing of the genuine sort  is clearly needed to make work the complexity contained in the 44 draft clauses of legislation to grant sweeping new powers to the Scottish Parliament. But not for a while yet, if ever. David Cameron’s visit to Edinburgh to present the Command Paper was marked by political jostling much more complicated that the heady simplicity of Yes or No in the referendum. It was preceded by the Chancellor yesterday pledging to try to bar Scottish MPs … Read more

New powers for Scotland threaten constitutional crisis for the UK

David Cameron’s claim that the Smith report will create “a stronger Union “ rings hollow when  set against  his insistence that the case for  English votes on English laws is “ unanswerable,”  If it means that English MPs should have a veto on any measure they don’t like that a future  Labour government proposes, it will create a constitutional crisis . Equally hollow sounding  is Scottish Labour’s praise for a good deal from Smith on the   transfer of income tax powers … Read more

For Scotland today, idealism like Ireland 1916, or be careful of what you wish for?

Guardian columnist Martin Kettle makes a bold comparison between the generational change in Ireland 1916 and the “energising “ impact of the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. He’s inspired by Roy Foster’s marvellous new book which I’m only just into: “Vivid Faces.” In his review Maurice Hayes quotes Holywood’s Bulmer Hobson who faced house  arrest by his own compatriots who feared his dissent from the countermanding order. Those who began the great adventure with high hopes for social and political … Read more

The pro-Union wheels are starting to turn in Scotland. But they could still come off the bus

Not before time, the wheels may be turning at last in the creaking pro-union machine  to craft an effective reply to the SNP’s delivery vehicle for Scottish independence.  The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson has done a U-turn  (£) to explore the idea of more and greater taxation powers for Holyrood.  I wonder if  The Herald’s editorial  is right, that this is as much a problem as an opportunity for Ms Davidson? The problem for the Tory leader is … Read more

No chance of a Sinn Fein Scotland

Jim Gallagher in his days as a civil servant one of the architects of developing Scottish devolution and still a leading authority on the Scottish Question discusses rival scenarios for Scotland’s future in the Scotsman, concentrating on the bottom line issue of control over tax and spend. Either way, whether the outcome is “devo more” as he calls it, or independence, he makes it clear that the English can’t be left out of the Scottish story. The detached reader might … Read more