Writer, Journalist and Broadcaster

Monthly Archives: November 2007

Wendy Alexander

Although Wendy Alexander has other things on her mind at the moment, she found time to make an unexciting but thoughtful speech today at Edinburgh University to mark St Andrew’s Day. The main ‘news line’ was her intention to establish a Scottish constitutional commission via a bill at Holyrood, but there was also lots of stuff about the historical development of the UK/Scottish constitution, including mentions of the (Labour) Scottish secretaries Tom Johnston, Bruce Millan and Donald Dewar. Alexander, of course, worked for Dewar as a special adviser.

40th anniversary of Aden departure

This week marks forty years since British troops withdrew from the former UK colony of Aden. The Scottish regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was a prominent presence in the region, led with panache by Colin ‘Mad Mitch’ Mitchell. He became famous in July 1967 when he led the Argylls in the British reoccupation ofContinue Reading

Des Browne’s dual role

Interesting story in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday in which the First Minister Alex Salmond called for the Scotland Office to be scrapped and have Westminster deal directly with the Scottish Parliament (and, presumably, the Scottish Government). It seems to me rather like kicking a man while he’s down, following as it did unprecedented criticism fromContinue Reading

More West Lothian Question

More on the West Lothian Question in today’s Scotsman, which has so far run a double-page spread every day this week. Today’s compares public opinion in two towns called Broxburn, one in England and the other in Scotland. There’s also an opinion piece by the former Scottish Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, reiterating his so-called EastContinue Reading

John Reid new Celtic chairman

The former Scottish, Northern Ireland and Home Secretary John Reid has been confirmed as Celtic’s new chairman. The Scotsman carries details of the AGM, at which a vocal minority condemned his appointment. BBC Sport Online has more about the objectors.

West Lothian Question # 2

Following the 30th anniversary of the West Lothian Question (or at least the term, not the question itself) last week, today’s Scotsman has gone big on the issue once more, this time quoting several not-very-senior Scottish Labour MPs who are telling the PM that something must be done, and that reviving English regional devolution mightContinue Reading

West Lothian Question is 30

Today (Wednesday) is the 30th birthday of Tam Dalyell’s long-standing constitutional query, the so-called West Lothian Question, called as such by the late Enoch Powell on 14 November 1977 during a debate on the Scotland Bill. In that debate, Dalyell asked: “For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate… at least 119Continue Reading

The East Lothian Answer # 2

This week’s Spectator has an interesting editorial on Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s so-called East Lothian Answer to Tam Dalyell’s (or Enoch Powell’s) West Lothian Question. The Conservative-leaning ‘newspaper’ (as the Spectator likes to call itself) backs Rifkind’s proposal as the only way post-devolution to save the Union. I was interested to see David Cameron flagging upContinue Reading

Silicon Glen

Interesting feature in today’s Scotsman about the demise of the so-called Silicon Glen, which reached its height in the 1980s under – believe it or not – Margaret Thatcher’s governments, otherwise known for shutting everything down (or selling it off). It isn’t online, but a picture caption in the newspaper is incorrect. Ian Lang, ofContinue Reading

Scottish Questions move

BBC Online also carries the news that Scottish Questions will now take place every five weeks instead of once every month, and at 11.30am on a Wednesday (before PMQs) as opposed to a Tuesday afternoon. The change comes as part of a wider Commons’ timetable shake-up and is, I think, the first change since theContinue Reading