Election 2015: Sturgeon's evangelical message to people of UK

  • 20 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP's manifesto was "bursting with ideas"

It would have been easy, so easy, for the SNP manifesto launch to slide towards bombast. The elements were all there.

The polls suggest a substantial lead for the Nationalists. The venue was, literally, cavernous and crowded with eager supporters - who were ready to cheer volubly at any mention of independence, Scotland or indeed Nicola Sturgeon.

Sheffield, anyone? Not a chance. After eight years in devolved government, Ms Sturgeon is nothing if not cautious. Her mood was cool, serious and controlled, with elements of self-effacing humour.

When inviting questions from the wicked media, she even cautioned her more zealous supporters against jeering if they felt a little aggrieved by the tone of the inquiries. We were, she said mildly, only doing our job.

key priorities

Policy guide: Where the parties stand

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Election 2015: Labour looks to second phase to win over sceptics

  • 17 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
labour
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy at the manifesto launch in Glasgow

Inevitably, one hears talk that this is a notably prolonged General Election campaign. And so it is, courtesy of the fixed term parliament initiative.

Of course, we referendistas look upon such comments with a gentle, indulgent smile. Lengthy? You think this is lengthy? Where were you in 2011/12/13/14?

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Election 2015: Scottish Tory leader and her warm up act

  • 16 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
David Cameron
Ruth Davidson and David Cameron were on stage together to launch their party's Scottish manifesto

Ruth Davidson was in confident mood. I know, I know, that statement is tautologous. But, even by Ms Davidson's ebullient standards, her demeanour at the launch of the Scottish Conservative manifesto was upbeat.

Perhaps it was the presence of the Prime Minister - her "warm-up act" as she, rather cheekily, described him. Perhaps it was the simple sleepless emotion of an election.

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Clegg makes pitch for Wizard of Oz role

  • 15 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg: ''The Liberal Democrats will add a heart to a Conservative government and a brain to a Labour one''

For reasons I find somewhat difficult to explain, I have never been a huge fan of the movie, "The Wizard of Oz".

I mean, it's not as though I entirely revile fantasy narratives. When younger, I roamed happily through Gormenghast and Middle Earth.

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Taxing times for evel proposals

  • 14 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
David Cameron and Union flag

Let's talk EVEL. Note the spelling. We are dealing here with English Votes on English Laws. Specifically, in this instance, elements of financial provision.

A considerable controversy has arisen over this issue as presented in the Conservative manifesto. Labour's Jim Murphy says that the plan set out by the Tories is "a brutal betrayal of the consensus" achieved in the cross-party Smith Commission.

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Election 2015: Ed Miliband delivers his message

  • 13 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband had two key messages - Labour was strong on the economy and he was ready to be PM

Challenges in politics. One can either confront them or sidestep them. Launching the Labour manifesto, Ed Miliband opted for the former.

He has plainly calculated that his party's pitch features two potential weak spots, in terms of public perception. Rigour on the economy - and Mr Miliband's own credentials for leadership.

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Election 2015: Vive la difference

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
composite

A remarkable week. A remarkable week, driven by remarkable leaders' debates, further remarkable polls - and an intriguing survey of your priorities for this election.

If we needed further evidence that politics in Scotland differs from the southern variety - and from the customary Westminster expectations - then this week provided that in full.

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Election 2015: Your big issues

  • 7 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Ballot box

We know what the politicians want. They want your votes. They want to be elected. But what do YOU want in this electoral contest?

We decided to ask. As we have done at past elections, we commissioned an opinion poll in an effort to discover what the big issues are for you as the campaign intensifies.

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MSPs thoughts drift to Another Place

  • 2 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Westminster
Removal vans have already been spotted at Westminster

It was the final session of questions to the First Minister before the Easter recess. Did they feel demob happy? Was the comradely banter sparkling? Were they anticipating holidays and recreation? Friends, the answer is no, thrice.

Because, of course, these proceedings at Holyrood were completely consumed by concerns about Another Place - as the two Houses at Westminster traditionally and charmingly style each other.

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Election 2015: Starting gun fired (finally)

  • 31 March 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Marathon runners
A marathon run to the 7 May polling day has begun

And so it begins, with a visit to a household. The Royal Household, that is - with David Cameron being received by the Queen for the final time as the Westminster Parliament is dissolved.

Households across the UK can now expect umpteen visits from enthusiastic or desperate canvassers, eager to persuade people to back a particular party in this UK General Election.

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