Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

This is where you can find my take on what's happening in the world of Scottish politics

Three momentous events

Jean-Claude Juncker
The European Parliament has approved Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president

Three events: each significant, each with a longer term impact.

Of the three, the greatest significance may ultimately lie not with the new and unexpected but with the development which was forecast and scheduled.

That element of the trio is the confirmation of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission president, with his endorsement by the European Parliament.

Mr Juncker will have major influence over whether the reforms to the EU sought by the Conservatives succeed or stall.

That could determine the future of the UK in Europe - and, incidentally, of the Conservative Party.

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Things are 'hotting up'

Money
The Better Together and the Yes Campaigns have been logging their donations with the Electoral Commission

The ground is familiar. The accusations, in outline, have been heard before. But the latest dispute over donations in the referendum is perhaps running at a slightly higher temperature.

The basics first. In terms of big donations (£7,500+), Better Together outran Yes Scotland in the period from December to June. The sums? £2.4m for the pro Union campaign as against £1.1m for the pro independence side.

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After truth and reason

David Hume
David Hume - and his statue in Edinburgh suggesting a link with the Classical world

Of the sundry statues on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, my personal favourite is that depicting Robert Fergusson stepping forward eagerly on the pavement outside the Canongate Kirk.

Fergusson died hideously young - just 24 - but still contrived to leave a considerable body of poetic works, praised by Burns. Indeed, Scotland's national Bard ensured that the last resting place of his brother poet was more than an unmarked grave.

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Political posturing behind the big City Deal

Money

So does politics lie behind the City Deal for Glasgow and the surrounding area? Absolutely. One billion pounds worth.

The announcement, indeed, is hedged around by referendum references. Firstly, David Cameron talks of the clout of the UK. Labour's Gordon Matheson, who leads Glasgow City Council, emphasises that by arguing that nothing in Scottish policy could match the UK endeavour.

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First Minister's Questions: Ask an expert

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond makes his point at First Minister's Questions in the Holyrood chamber

Politicians are generally pretty keen on experts. Our elected tribunes are seldom happier than when they are able to cite in evidence the view of an expert in a contentious field. World experts are best but home-grown will do.

There is, of course, a caveat. Said experts must agree - or, at least, appear to agree - with the position which the politicians are keen to evangelise in the first place.

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'Vigilant but calm'

What will be the response of the authorities in Scotland to the disclosure that Abdul Rakib Amin, who appeared in a recruitment video for the Islamic militant group Isis, was educated in Aberdeen?

Vigilant but calm, according to Humza Yousaf, the Minister for External Affairs in the Scottish government.

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Comedy and comrades

comedy masks
The comedy on offer in the Holyrood chamber does not always match that at the Fringe

Gavin Brown rose slowly and with a solemn demeanour. Fixing the first minister with the extra serious gaze reserved for extra important matters, Mr Brown intoned: "Will the first minister promise to keep the Local Income Tax rate secret until after the referendum?"

OK, maybe you had to be there - or maybe the bar for comedy is set a little lower at Holyrood than at the Fringe. But the non-Nationalist sections of the chamber guffawed supportively.

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Brian added analysis to:

Scottish independence: Post-referendum agreement reached

This agreed position was expected by the Electoral Commission at the end of last year.

Indeed, the Commission set a deadline of 23 December.

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Agreeing the rules for after the big day

18 September sign
The people of Scotland will go to the polls in September to vote on their country's future

It has taken, in all conscience, a wee while - but we now have a joint statement from the Scottish and UK governments as to what will happen after the referendum.

This agreed position was expected by the Electoral Commission at the end of last year. Indeed, the Commission set a deadline of 23 December. That passed - but the document has finally been issued today.

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Rights and rituals..... in writing

Nicola Sturgeon walking alongside Stephen Tierney
Nicola Sturgeon, walking with constitutional expert Stephen Tierney, made her speech at Edinburgh's Playfair Library

As she opened her remarks in the magnificent Playfair Library of Edinburgh University, Nicola Sturgeon disclosed that she had briefly paused in advance to gather her thoughts and gain inspiration.

Said inspiration had come from viewing in an ante-room the writing desk used by Sir Walter Scott, one of the finest authors and poets in the known universe. (Actually, that last bit is mine but I am sure she meant to say it. She certainly said she had viewed the desk with pride.)

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More Correspondents

  • Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Money and business matters from a Scottish perspective


  • Nick Robinson, Political editor Nick Robinson Political editor

    The latest on what’s going on in and around politics


  • David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

    Welsh view of Westminster, the personalities and Parliament


About Brian

Brian has been a journalist for ever, well, since 1977.

He covers politics in all of its guises - UK, European but mostly Scottish.

Before joining the BBC he spent six years as a lobby correspondent at Westminster.

He has lectured on politics and identity across Europe and the USA and has written two books - and co-written a handful of others.

At St Andrews University, he studied literature.

He is a proud, patriotic Dundonian and fanatical supporter of Dundee United Football Club, losing no opportunity to trumpet their many glories.

He is married with two sons.

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