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

Congratulations and commiserations

  • 21 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Scottish cabinet

Congratulations to the new ministerial team: the new deputy first minister, those promoted to cabinet, those given a new portfolio, those staying where they are, those joining the government for the very first time.

Perhaps a special word might be reserved for Maureen Watt who returns to public office after tholing a deliberative spell on the back benches.

Commiserations to the departed. Kenny MacAskill and Mike Russell, we are told, offered to stand down. Perhaps, however, it might also be said they took the hint - or sensed the general direction of travel.

Do the maths. The cabinet is gender balanced - five women, five men. Nicola Sturgeon said she was proud of that fact, while stressing that the appointments were on merit.

Continuing spotlight

Among the non-cabinet ministers, men outnumber women by eight to five. In total, there are now 23 ministers when previously, under Alex Salmond's final structure, there were 21.

Read full article Congratulations and commiserations

Are Holyrood's ding dong days over?

  • 20 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Leslie Phillips
Will Holyrood in future see much "ding dong", as actor Leslie Phillips would put it?

And then the questions start. Part of the joys of government. The first one confronting Nicola Sturgeon?

Do you, "solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that you will well and truly serve Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, in the office of first minister of the Scottish government?".

Read full article Are Holyrood's ding dong days over?

A family affair

  • 19 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
People
Nicola Sturgeon's family was at Holyrood to see Ms Sturgeon become first minister

In office as first minister, Nicola Sturgeon will not be short of advice.

From the civil service, from her colleagues, from the public, from her friends and family. She noted that she would be happy to draw on the well of expertise that is her predecessor, Alex Salmond.

Read full article A family affair

Mr Salmond, just one more thing......

  • 18 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Peter Falk, playing TV detective Columbo
Peter Falk played the TV detective Columbo who used the phrase: "And just one more thing...."

One of the enduring joys of this rough trade of journalism is the opportunity to chat and gossip with politicians, from the aspiring to the senior. Only surpassed by the chance to be cheeky, on air or in print.

In that regard, I may be said to resemble Columbo, the TV detective. There is always one last question to ask - and I am always touchingly grateful for the opportunity. (Who said my dress sense is similar too? Take that person's name.)

Read full article Mr Salmond, just one more thing......

SNP conference: Party eyes up the goal

  • 15 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Scotland celebrates the goal at Celtic Park
Scotland players celebrate their winning goal at Celtic Park

Apologies for the radio silence yesterday. (And TV, and Online). I was obliged to leave the Concert Hall in Perth, feeling decidedly unwell. Thanks for the solicitous inquiries.

Thanks too to Shaun Maloney for an excellent match-winning goal. Nothing lifts the spirits as much as a Scotland victory - apart, that is, from triumph by the mighty United.

Read full article SNP conference: Party eyes up the goal

Alex Salmond's final First Minister's Questions

  • 13 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
alex salmond leaving Holyrood chamber

Every melody has its own rhythm, every symphony its leitmotif. Perhaps one might exempt John Cage's 4'33" - which features resolute silence. Even there, though, there is a structure. Three movements of proudly untouched instruments with shuffling feet, provided by the stoical audience.

Similarly, it has been a consistent theme of Labour at Holyrood that Alex Salmond tends not to provide a direct answer to questions posed by his opponents.

Read full article Alex Salmond's final First Minister's Questions

Smith Commission: It's about more than tax

  • 12 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon believes Holyrood to should have the right to call for a referendum

In pondering the Smith Commission, most of the attention has, entirely reasonably, focused upon the tax powers which might be devolved to Holyrood.

On that, it still seems likely that income tax will be devolved entirely - perhaps tied in with other powers which might assist economic development to answer the point that a broader basket than tax alone would be beneficial.

Read full article Smith Commission: It's about more than tax

Burning effigies: Alex Salmond is one of the wise guise

  • 6 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
alex salmond effigy

Effigy update. It appears that one of the grotesque models of Alex Salmond, fashioned by the burghers of Lewes in East Sussex, has been destroyed by fireworks. At time of writing, the fate of the other is unknown.

Mr Salmond can scarcely believe his luck. He relishes being the focus of attention, believing (with Robert Burns) that "the mair they talk, I'm kent the better."

Read full article Burning effigies: Alex Salmond is one of the wise guise

Scottish Labour treads warily ahead of leadership contest

  • 4 November 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale
Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale have secured majority backing from parliamentarians

Speak to Labour folk - as I have been doing - and you get the strong impression that they are all treading warily.

Understandably, after a period of quite remarkable turmoil, they seem anxious and apprehensive.

Read full article Scottish Labour treads warily ahead of leadership contest

Scottish Labour leadership: And then there were three

  • 30 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy will take on Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay in a leadership contest

Jim Murphy has, as expected, entered the contest to replace Johann Lamont as leader of Scottish Labour.

In doing so, he does - and does not - accept the parameters she laid down for the future of the party in Scotland.

Read full article Scottish Labour leadership: And then there were three

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  • 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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