Building a think-tank for Scotland — with a little help from Yo-Yo Ma


On Saturday 20th September 2014, my husband and I sauntered along Edinburgh’s George Street. Just two days after the independence referendum we, like many other Scots, were sweating the small stuff while occasionally pondering on the existential elephant that lumbered along beside us. We’d left the polling station having placed our crosses in different boxes. […]
How Westminster politics failed us when it mattered most


Brexit’s place in the genre of storytelling is hard to pin down. Part tragedy, part thriller, part farce — even whodunnit. The Thick of It refrain has become ubiquitous. But beneath its well-worn exterior, a more careworn temperament lurks. For all the gallows humour that gets us through the moment, these are deeply troubling times. In fact, […]
Scottish devolution needs cool heads – and social security reminds us why


Politics can be a fickle business. It’s invariably more volatile moments which make the news at the top of the hour. A life in politics requires an apprenticeship in the school of hard knocks. It means having a thick skin. Credit is short-lived; blame can stick. Less than a year ago, the Scottish Parliament voted […]
The art of politics is having a story – who knew?


I learnt a valuable lesson about political blogging over the weekend. If you want your story heard in a crowded space, have one — just one. The power of story is a single coherent narrative. And as heads are scratched this morning, that’s the lesson for political parties too. As I laboured over my post late into […]
Refusing to name Trump’s racism normalises it — and the next stop is fascism


From ‘Lock her up’ to ‘Send her back’ in three short years. The misogyny of ‘Lock her up’ was deplorable enough. But if the chants from Trump’s rally in North Carolina aren’t chilling your bones yet, I’d recommend watching it on a loop until they do. And if they do, but you think it couldn’t […]
Marching the streets won’t get Yes over the line: cool heads might


‘Increasingly, SNP supporters are wrong-headed would Alex Salmond do?’ was the question posed by Iain Macwhirter in his Herald column this morning. It grabbed my attention but made me flinch. The question seemed entirely wrong headed. Granted, I’m sure some SNP supporters are asking it. Salmond has his fan base; it’s clearly sizable and super […]
Scotland has decided it wants a different future — and we need to get there together


In the dead of election night, I polled my Twitter followers about whether my next move should be tea, coffee or gin. The result was overwhelmingly gin. A bottle, not a glass, one suggested. Intravenously, said another. But I chose tea. A strong mug of Scottish Blend. I was reminded of election night, 1987. In […]
Cummings must go – but whatever happens trust is the real casualty


The Prime Minister has bottled it. Astonishingly to even the most disinterested observer, he has argued that Dominic Cummings acted responsibly, legally and with integrity. But his defence won’t stem the tide of calls for Cummings to go. Quite the reverse. The case for Cummings’ departure was made with characteristic brilliance by the commentator, Alex […]