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

Johann Lamont resignation: Two versions of the story

  • 25 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Ed Miliband and Johann Lamont
Ed Miliband, UK Labour leader, and Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour leader appear together during the referendum campaign

There are two leading parties in Scotland. One, the SNP, was on the losing side in the independence referendum. It has quadrupled its membership - and is defiantly buoyant.

The other, Labour, was on the winning side in the referendum. It is in despair and disarray. It takes a certain malign genius to achieve that. A gold standard in foot-shooting.

There are two versions of this story. In one version, Scottish Labour's departing leader, Johann Lamont, accuses her Westminster colleagues - and, by implication, Ed Miliband - of undermining her and failing to grasp how much Scotland has changed. She says some of her MP colleagues are "dinosaurs".

Final straw

By this version, she was thwarted in her ambitions to increase the party's offer of more powers to the Scottish Parliament. And, certainly, it is true that the original draft of the party commission she established was "minded" to support the full devolution of income tax to Holyrood. Minded, that is, until sundry MPs intervened.

By this version, she was never given scope to be, authentically, the leader of the entire party in Scotland. And, certainly, it is true that she was seldom viewed as such by MPs, particularly those of more established vintage.

Read full article Johann Lamont resignation: Two versions of the story

Political machinations

  • 22 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Lord Smith of Kelvin
Lord Smith has been keen to engage with civic Scotland as well as politicians

The Smith Commission - which holds its first meeting with political party representatives today - is an intriguing creation, operating at different levels.

Firstly, what it is not. It is not the cross-party Constitutional Convention which paved the way to Scotland's Parliament in the first place - nor is it the Calman Commission which generated enhanced powers in the Scotland Act 2012.

Read full article Political machinations

Barking the orders

  • 9 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Guide dogs, trainee, in the Holyrood public gallery
Trainee guide dogs were in the Scottish Parliament's public gallery during FMQs

Never, goes the old theatre maxim, work with children or animals. Tricia Marwick, Holyrood's Presiding Officer, deals with childish behaviour on a daily basis. Today she coped admirably with an animal intervention.

In parliament today were Demi, Quaver, Hero, Iona, Warwick and Marco. They are guide dog puppies, there to garner support for that valuable service. As Ms Marwick welcomed them, one barked cheerfully. (My guess is Quaver, given the duration of the contented yelp.)

Read full article Barking the orders

If not independence...

  • 7 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Dejected independence supporters
After the Scottish independence referendum delivered a "No" vote, thoughts now turn to further devolution

If not independence, then what? That is now the immediate focus of the Scottish body politic.

Not, however, the sole focus in that a significant section of the populace does not accept that independence should be entirely abandoned as an objective.

Read full article If not independence...

Taking a turn for the Orwellian?

  • 2 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Actor
Has first minister's questions taken a turn for the Orwellian?

Perhaps it is post referendum ennui, perhaps it is the stimulating sight of the mighty United at the top of the league - but a curious detachment crept up on me during questions to the first minister.

Some vague recollection kept scratching at the pitiful remains of my cerebrum, laid waste by endless months of political argument.

Read full article Taking a turn for the Orwellian?

Let's play a fun game of 'Duopoly'

  • 1 October 2014
  • From the section Scotland
David Cameron
David Cameron is promising that, if re-elected, he would raise the tax-free allowance

Here is a fun game you can all play. Take David Cameron's speech today - and project its key offer forward to a time in which income tax has been devolved to Scotland.

Key offer? Protect NHS spending in England? Close. Constrain immigration? No, not that one either. Income tax cuts? Got it.

Read full article Let's play a fun game of 'Duopoly'

Serving the people of Scotland

  • 25 September 2014
  • From the section Scotland

It was a day for citation. Mostly, of course, our tribunes cited the People of Scotland. But, occasionally, they turned to other, lesser sources.

Alex Salmond, representing the Ancien Régime (albeit voluntarily departing), suggested drily to Labour's Johann Lamont that she might usefully pay heed to voices apparently raised by members of her party at Westminster.

Read full article Serving the people of Scotland

Sturgeon's challenge

  • 24 September 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon will face many challenges ahead - on the realistic presumption that she is elected SNP leader and thus first minister.

Not, incidentally, that she was making any such presumption today: her linguistic tense was uniformly conditional.

Read full article Sturgeon's challenge

Rising to the challenge

The division in the referendum could scarcely have been more fundamental: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Answer given, it was incumbent upon our elected politicians to rise to the challenge of seeking a degree of consensus. The alternative, of course, would be political stasis.

Read full article Rising to the challenge

Analysis: The Union lives on - now England expects

union flag on scotland shop

The day after the night that has gone - and a few random, disjointed meanderings anent the referendum result which sees Scotland stay within the Union.

For, amid all the reaction and the talk of further reform, that is the primary outcome. Scotland stays in the Union. The UK, as founded in 1707, subject to considerable subsequent amendment, remains in force.

Read full article Analysis: The Union lives on - now England expects

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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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