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About Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 18 May 2007

Having reported Scottish politics since Braveheart was a boy, I find it particularly splendid to be able to share my meanderings via the relatively new realm of blogging.

Hope you’ll join me – and hope you’ll keep up the flood of invective, praise and comment.

As to me, I’m married with two sons. I’m a proud Dundonian – and a fanatical supporter of Dundee United Football Club. I give you fair warning that I will plug United at every opportunity.

At St Andrews University, I studied literature and wrote intense poetry. The woman who is now my wife suggested mildly that the market for intense poetry was slim, indeed negligible. So I turned to writing for the student paper instead. The first grown-up newspaper rash enough to employ me upon graduation was the Press and Journal in Aberdeen. While there, I covered the first Scottish devolution referendum in 1979. (Told you I’d been at this game a while.)

There followed six years as a lobby correspondent at Westminster – then aeons at the BBC.

I’ve lectured on politics and identity across Europe and the USA. I’ve written two books – and co-written a handful of others. (My first tome was snappily titled The Scottish Parliament. Took me weeks to dream up that title.) And, you know, maybe I’ll have another stab at the intense poetry one of these days.

PS: You can read my blog from the 2007 Election campaign by clicking here.


Enjoyed your coverage and savage condemnation of the election process immensely, and the election blog, so looking forward to more political wisdom in the months to come.

Is intense poetry as bad as Vogan poetry though...?!!!

  • 2.
  • At 03:45 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • miriam wrote:

I was hoping you'd get your own blog - I enjoyed your election snippets.

  • 3.
  • At 04:37 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • William Bruce wrote:

I look forward to your new blog. Your election one has been excellent as has your coverage on TV.

Job well done Brian !!

I'm glad you're continuing with the blog Brian. Best wishes with your blogging career - I hope like me you'll find that it's great fun, slightly addictive, and a great way to keep connected with your readers :)


  • 5.
  • At 06:59 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Caitriona wrote:

Looking forward to reading your blog regularly, your election coverage was excellent (I'll even excuse the braces!)

Hurrah! I was hoping this would happen.

  • 7.
  • At 07:49 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Derick fae Yell wrote:

have enjoyed your comments. keep it up. Don't necessarily agree with every word you write/blog, but every word is interesting.
Because politics in Scotland is slowly, surely, coming alive again!

  • 8.
  • At 07:52 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Boudica wrote:

Like all the comments so far I am looking forward to your blog as you say it like it is and that is so refreshing nowadays .

Jeees Brian! Whit a panic!

Thought I'd lost you there for a bit. Im feeling a lot better though having discovered that you have got your own permanent little corner of the blogosphere.

Your coverage of the the election was really good (apart from the occassional episode of traducing that I am sure you are now on medication for.)

So its onward and upward as we blog about the BIG FISH, the WEE FISH, the Minnows and oor wee pond.

A wee tip - its a lucky blogger who gets a steady stream of comments. Its good form to occasionally get stuck in to the debate in the comments yourself. We can take it!

Best wishes for the blog.

  • 10.
  • At 08:40 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • bill wrote:

Never mind the politics Brian. The world is agog waiting for your Bloomsday performance.

  • 11.
  • At 08:44 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Clamjamfrie wrote:

So we have something in common Brian. I contributed to a book on the 1979 referendum, and am into poetry, intensely. But I am much less famous, if also less fat. However, the thing that I admire most about you are your galluses. Quite magnificent.

In a kind of way, you personna and galluses combined makes your supporting of Dundee United, well, understandable.

It should be a fascinating year ahead. You'll need lots of galluses with all the running about that's likely to come your way. But hey, you've got the build of a Dundee United midfielder, so hardly a daunting prospect for one so....intense.

  • 12.
  • At 09:21 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Stewart McDonald wrote:


Great coverage over the election period, I always enjoyed watching your in-depth analysis and ofcourse keeping up with the blogs! I myself have recently started writing for a student newspaper on more international political issues. I however, want to break in to politics, not journalism, or poetry for that matter.

Anyway, your political wisdom is much needed to keep us young ones interested in the good old game of Scottish politics! Keep it up!

Brian, any chance of a bonfire of the Quangos anytime soon?

How do you think the relationship between the SNP and local councils is going to pan out?

  • 14.
  • At 09:54 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • jackie wrote:

As a fellow Dundonian who still delights in being the same height as all the other women every time I go home to visit my family, I wish to say, welcome, I read some, not all, of your election blogs and am quite looking forward to doing a bit of blogging with you in the future.

  • 15.
  • At 11:35 PM on 18 May 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

I am glad your blog is going to last longer than just the election. Anyone who can get the word "bourach" into a national news broadcast probably deserves medal but I'm sure the blog will do nicely.

If you are lucky enough to live in Dundee West you will now have a constituency MSP who will be a credit to the city.

I worked with Joe Fitzpatrick in student politics more years ago than either of us would care to remember and although our outlooks differed I could never accuse him of being anything other than totally commited to improving the lot of others.

One last thing, I can't resist:
We are the lads of the Dens Par choir...


Great to see you continuing your blog you made the election for me your coverage is always impartial. You and I met once at a Labour party Selection meeting Years ago when Eric Clarke was selected in Midlothian to replace Alex Eddie (Helens Father in Law)

Anyway, doubt you remember that.

  • 17.
  • At 01:23 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Oisin Plumb wrote:

I have really enjoyed reading your election commentary and think that it is great that you are going to continue with your blog. In the days when most news coverage is still dominated by media based in England (the day Alex Salmond was elected FM, it didn't even feature as a main headline at the start of the 10 o'clock news!) it is great to read commentry that did not centre around "what does this mean for Brown and Cameron?". You have the blog, now all we need is our own 6 and 10 o clock news programes and our own 24 hour news channel with yourself as the political editor! If I have to listen to any more reports of health and education reforms down south instead of news that affects me I may cry... Anyways thanks again for the best election coverage on the TV or online and I look forward to the reading the blog in the future.

  • 18.
  • At 03:02 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Twintub wrote:

I enjoyed the coverage on election night. You did a good job highlighting the farce of the 'spoilt' ballot papers.

Is your 'intense poetry' available commercially, perchance? It's just that with increasing energy costs, my granny needs something to fuel her coal fire!


Very glad to see you recomissioned as a blogger, Brian. Your pithy style is a lesson to the more verbose among us - and you manage the ring of Scottish politics very well. We're out here waiting, get posting!

  • 20.
  • At 08:33 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Bruce Ogilvie wrote:

I enjoyed your reporting of the election it was fair (your reporting not the election).It was like a breath of fresh air after weeks of one sidedness from the media and nationalist bashing from the press.

  • 21.
  • At 08:39 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

#13 Richard asked about the quango bonfire.

I thought that happened at the same time as George Robertson announced that Labour and devolution had "killed the SNP stone dead"

Brian, really enjoy your style of reporting which is factual and fair.

  • 22.
  • At 10:46 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Francis Murphy wrote:

Brian, you're a star!

  • 23.
  • At 10:53 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

Brian, I look forward to your blog now being a regular thing as I thoroughly enjoyed it during the election campaign. Oh, and as a fellow Arab, you are more than welcome to plug the Tangerine Dream at every opportunity.

  • 24.
  • At 11:50 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Wise Owl wrote:

So Brian,

The big question is.... do you think that the boys and girls in the Holyrood playground will continue to behave in a civilised manner and to develop policies that help this great nation of ours? ... or how quickly do you think it will degenerate into petty squables that serve no-one (least of all themselves)?

Long live intelligent debate.
Long live BT's blog

  • 25.
  • At 11:57 AM on 19 May 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

I have been a big fan of your work for years and it is great that you have a regular Blog. Not so sure about United or the braces but please keep up the fantastic work.

  • 26.
  • At 12:13 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Sandra wrote:

So glad this blog is to continue! Do not always agree but you do tend to put the many sides of the picture which is excellent.
More power to the blogging!
Thanks for the election coverage!

  • 27.
  • At 12:23 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • joe wrote:

i was interested to see you were interested in "identity". you could write more than a few volumes on that in scotland in 2007. WHO are we? From my background, Irish catholic, which is now more an ethnic identity than a religion to many people; I have never,ever seen myself as British. Scottish, well maybe I am coming round to it as I mellow a bit. Glaswegian and proud of it. EU citizen, yes thats fine.All that just to give me a label. Politically, like many of my peers I lean leftwards, but Labour has left us, not the other way round, and the rest of the Left is a shambles. Where now? Vote SNP, maybe, but not from an old insular independance stance. If it unshackles us from London dominance to make our own decisions and find a clear identity for all of our people then I think that may be the only way to go.

  • 28.
  • At 12:31 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Martin McD wrote:

Hi Brian, nice to see you with your own blog on here. I enjoyed your coverage of the election immensley. Please keep up the good work. Outstanding political pundits are few and far between.

Exciting and fascinating times ahead. Sparks are likely to fly between Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown and we're likely to see a real battle of wits and wills. Who's your money on?

Mine is on Alex Salmond. I think he's got more in his upstairs locker so to speak and I think he'll be treading very carefully. We've already seen some hotheadedness from Mr Brown so we'll see what happens.

  • 29.
  • At 12:33 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Paul Marshall wrote:

Yes! I had a gut-feeling this would happen. Welcome to the world of blogging. I shall pop in to read your vivacious yet restrained reporting of the new political era we have found ourselves in.

Don't mock! Braces (?galluses) are back in fashion!

  • 30.
  • At 12:43 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • louise williams wrote:

Glad to hear you are still going to be around Brian. Thouroughly enjoyed your reporting of the elections they were completely fair and unbiased reporting of what was going on and that was what i liked the most. As for the poetry intense or otherwise can i just suggest that maybe you should just stick to what you do best because we like it.

  • 31.
  • At 01:03 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Iain Craig wrote:

Hi Brian

Am so glad you are going to continue blogging, I really appreciated your insight during the election stuff.

Alsio glad you, like me are a Dundonian and a United Supporter, whod have thunk it!!

Look forward to reading and responding, please jujst steer clear of poetry

  • 32.
  • At 01:37 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Dave P wrote:

Excellent news,

I enjoyed your election night blog, particularly your use of the term "guddle". More pithy vernacular in political analysis!

  • 33.
  • At 03:21 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Iain Stirling wrote:


Excellent election blog..well done. Glad to see that it will be continuing, as I'm sure there'll be loads to report on very soon.

Keeping on plugging United..bring on the Barca!

  • 34.
  • At 03:35 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Iain Mac wrote:

I have just watched a re-run of the Parliament debate to vote in the new Cabinet/Junior ministers etc.
Watching Jack McConnell, his expression and demeanour seemed to switch from incandescent rage to the petted lip of a schoolboy who has seen another boy (smiling Salmond) take his place as teachers pet at the front of the class and steal his lunch (at Bute House) at the same time.

Looking forward to your blog over the next few months on what is a fascinating time for our country and, following a lively and dramatic election, one in which I hope more people are involved and enthused about what goes on in Holyrood and its effect on the man in the street.

  • 35.
  • At 04:35 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Iain Anderson wrote:

Inspired of the Beeb to start this blog.

As a Scot - and another St Andrews gradiate - who is now devolved to London, the Beeb's decision to put the BBC Scotland coverage on BBC Parliament on election night in May was great to watch.

Now Holyrood has come to life I am looking forward to continuing to keep in touch with the Scottish political scene through your blog.

  • 36.
  • At 05:14 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Nicholas wrote:

As a fellow colleague I greatly admired your coverage of the Scottish Election and hope to one day debate some serious political thought with you, all the best.

  • 37.
  • At 05:19 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Nicholas wrote:

As a fellow colleague I greatly admired your coverage of the Scottish Election and hope to one day debate some serious political thought with you, all the best.

Great news.

Will you still have to adhere to BBC guidelines or will the thoughts become more personal?

  • 39.
  • At 06:28 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • John Sharpley wrote:

What is your view on West Lothian question?

  • 40.
  • At 08:32 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Cameron B wrote:

Brian - As an expat, I must say how much I enjoyed your blog and contributions during the recent elections. Getting BBC Scotland via Sky is the doggy's doodahs, so I was able to follow your daily doings like a good 'un. But I have a question - given that the boy Broon will follow the well trodden path to Buck House for an interview with Her Maj when his moment of triumph comes at the point of Tony Blair's departure, why is there no similar requirement for the First Minister of Scotland? Does it indicate a lessening of Scotland's links with the monarchy or the Premiership status of UK PM a la your beloved Dundee United and the Division Two-ness of Scotland's First Minister, a la my beloved Airdrie United?

  • 41.
  • At 11:55 PM on 19 May 2007,
  • Kevin Gilmartin wrote:

I was at a talk you gave to some journalism students at Holyrood in October and I asked you if you had a blog. At the time you didn't but you never ruled it out.

Nice to see the BBC have given you a spot of virtual real estate at last!

Consider it bookmarked!

  • 42.
  • At 01:53 AM on 20 May 2007,
  • Jonathan wrote:

Great stuff Brian. I look forward to future blog posts.

I think it is appropriate to say at this juncture that Dundee United are in more of a guddle than the voting system!


Good to see you blogging Brian.

Liked your election night braces,

  • 44.
  • At 02:26 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • Jim MacDonald wrote:

We in the Scottish diaspora also enjoy
your blogs.Somehow Scots/Canadians seem
closer to the old country by blogs such as yours.

  • 45.
  • At 02:26 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • Sydney Smith wrote:

Wendy...oh..Wendy, welcome back!

  • 46.
  • At 05:16 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • Elaine ... wrote:

Hey Brian,

I would like to leave this honest comment ... We just loved your coverage of the Scottish Elections ... Your a Real, Raw Political Reporter!!!

((The Working Class People's Voice))

Ohh!! and as far as that result was concerned we're still dealing with the After-Shock!! Aarrgh -
*Remember the Old Tune I'd like to Get You On a Slow Boat to China?
*rolling eyes*
Well ....I’d like Alex,to dip into the purse, and buy several,
One - Way -Tickets ...
Or we could always ask the Labour Party to Sponsor them ...hmmm, let's see...
Click here for more information ... YES/YES

  • 47.
  • At 08:45 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Careful Mr Taylor, you are rapidly becoming more popular than Nick Robinson !!

But first a difficult question which has been perplexing me for weeks.. Why are so many of the weather presenters on the BBC Scottish ?? Do you just have more of it up there ??

  • 48.
  • At 11:07 PM on 20 May 2007,
  • Margaret wrote:

Just wanted to add my praise for your blog and glad to see it is continuing.

  • 49.
  • At 10:24 AM on 21 May 2007,
  • neil wrote:

Good man Brian,

building up a bit of a fan club here by the looks of it...I, like most of the previous posters, followed your blogs throughout the election, and really enjoyed them.

Keep it up, and I'll try not to remind you how crap United are ;-)

  • 50.
  • At 11:09 AM on 21 May 2007,
  • Christine wrote:

Glad you are back, Brian. I am enjoying a temporary exile to the heart of England where folk are very pleasant but a wee bit baffled at what is happening in Scotland so it is a real pleasure to get a daily look behind the headlines back home.

  • 51.
  • At 11:26 AM on 21 May 2007,
  • Eleanor wrote:

Fantastic news - as an ex-pat Scot and ex-pat Arab it'll make all the difference to get a decent update on the goings on in Holyrood and Tannadice all in one. Can't wait for more!

  • 52.
  • At 11:44 AM on 21 May 2007,
  • Peter Thomson wrote:

Brian - do you think the policy makers BBC in Scotland will start to move away from the current position SNP bad everyone else good?

Why not turn the Nuclear headline round(for example) - Westminster heading for a clash with MSP's over siting of Nuclear Power Stations in Scotland or Lib Dems say they will support the SNP in the opposition to new Nuclear plants in Scotland

Maybe your subs could try '80% of Scots interviewed wanted their own Olympic Team' rather than 'Salmond wants an Olympic team for Scotland'.

The only reason can be because the policy is to make Salmond out to be a bogeyman.

I see a scary situation for Labour when both the Lib Dems and Conservatives join together with the SNP to vote through LIT amongst other common policies.

How will the BBC spin that as 'pro union'?

  • 53.
  • At 11:48 AM on 21 May 2007,
  • ricky wrote:

Well done for the Blog - any plans to follow up with a fitness video ?

  • 54.
  • At 12:32 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • Derek,England wrote:


Gordon Brown represents a Scottish Constituency but will be defacto English First Minister while Alex Salmond is of course Scottish First Minister. Don't you think it's time England had a proper First Minister and that he/she represented a constituency in England?
What do you think?

  • 55.
  • At 12:35 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • thelongdistanceman wrote:

Brian I enjoy your blogs. You have an insight into the new Scottish political system but where do you think Scotland is going. Did you read Bruce Anderson's Editorial in the Independent on the 7 May. He claims the Scots are being let down by the quality of the politicians who are being selected by their parties to represent us. Where are the Gordon Browns, the Donald Dewers, the John Smiths, the Ming Campbells and the Malcolm Rifkinds in the Scottish Parliament. Are we for ever to be ruled by Numpties and bampots.

  • 56.
  • At 12:53 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • Mark Melville wrote:

Hi Brian

I always enjoy your comments and broadcasts on the Scottish Political scene. Will Wendy Alaexander have any chance of becoming next labour leader in Scotland?

  • 57.
  • At 01:41 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • George Ferguson wrote:

I'm delighted that you have your own blog. Your straight talking during the election was refreshing and I look forward to more of the same on this blog. I believe we'll face trying but extremely intersting times over the next four years. Maybe this form of government is what Scotland needs - concensus not coalition.

As regards 'intense poetry' I have a go at that from time to time. But was given a great put down by my daughter when she was 11 when she commented "That isnae poetry dad... it disnae rhyme!"

  • 58.
  • At 03:57 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

We all love you Brian but enough of this sycophancy. Why will the Nats/Libs not go into a 'No-Referendum' coalition? AS must know he will not be able to get a referendum approved...for now...and the parties have similar social democratic policies. Give us the hidden agenda BT...why will they not work together?

  • 59.
  • At 04:32 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Brian, good luck to you with the blogging! Moreover, you'll have to give that nice Mr Nick Robinson a link or two from yours to his now that his blog is taking such a keen interest in Scottish politics!

  • 60.
  • At 08:15 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • David MacDonald wrote:

Any chance of reading some of your political commentary soon big man?

  • 61.
  • At 09:40 PM on 21 May 2007,
  • scothighland wrote:

glad you've decided to do this blog Brian

  • 62.
  • At 12:09 AM on 22 May 2007,
  • Bill Hunter wrote:

I have bookmarked the new blog as I thoroughly enjoyed your election blog.

Priceless entertainment and a great source of political info

Keep up the good work Brian

  • 63.
  • At 12:10 PM on 22 May 2007,
  • Leuchars wrote:

Like everyone else very pleased to see Brian blogging. Don't agree that he's impartial though..too many digs about Alex Salmond's "smirk". Still COMPARED to the rest of the Scottish Media he is very fair.
In the Herald a couple of months ago a BBC bigwig wrote an article where he praised Brian and said that he doubted if even Mrs. Taylor knew where his political allegiance lay. I smiled at that and thought well it sure aint with the Nationalists!

But I'd be delighted to be proved wrong Brian. Over to you......

  • 64.
  • At 12:46 PM on 22 May 2007,
  • kev g wrote:


I would like to think we both share an optimism that following recent revolutions we can look forward to more entertainment and a better future for both Scotland's politics and United's football.

Richard Havers(13),

The relationship between Edinburgh Central and our 'local' government is much in need of a serious re-think, but the past two Executives have completely ignored the recommendations of the McIntosh Commission on the matter.

Perhaps if the local income tax becomes a runner, it may form part of a re-alignment of funding. Our 'local' authority gets more than 85% of its funding from the centre, and the rest under Council Tax according to rules from the old centre (Westminster), translated through another lot of central civil servants in Edinburgh. How many layers of accountants might we do without in a sensible system?

Scotland has the most centralised system of 'local' government in the civilised world. Scottish Government research

Read it and wonder.

  • 66.
  • At 08:41 AM on 23 May 2007,
  • Alan Hunter wrote:

Hi Brian,
I have just read your blogs for the first time and it was reassuring to see that Dundonians do have a sense of humour,maybe I should explain before your face goes as red as your braces or is it the other way around,anyway let me explain I was at The Independant Custody Visitors Association (ICVA)Scottish Conferance in the Caird Hall Dundee A couple of Years ago when John Vine Chief Contstable of Tayside police once quoted "Dundonians are like Glaswegians but without a sense of houmor" I did not believe him at the time,and still don't believe that quote as You have just proved to me that Dundonians like the rest of us have a sense of humour.

Alan (66),

Dundonian broadcasters have a pretty high average, so far as wry humour goes. Just consider Eddie Mair.

  • 68.
  • At 11:12 AM on 23 May 2007,
  • Anne wrote:

I listened to Alistair Darling this morning on Radio Scotland talking about nuclear power and found it very hard to believe his case because of the emotive language he used. First of all, he talks of the Scottish Executive as 'the Nationalists' and secondly he says that if Scotland doesn't go down the road of taking on new nuclear stations 'the lights will go out'. All he seems to achieve for me is that I will not listen to his argument and his language reminds me of the Scottish tabloids at the time of the Scottish elections.

  • 69.
  • At 03:47 PM on 23 May 2007,
  • sven wrote:

With respect to your footballing preferences, I recall a piece of graphiti that I saw in the toilets of the James Clerk Maxwell Building, Kings Buildings, University of Edinburgh back in 1988 (the physics department). It said

'What is the difference between Dundee United and the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is in Europe.'

  • 70.
  • At 04:34 PM on 23 May 2007,
  • Charlie Allison wrote:

Saw you at Tannadice a couple of weeks ago and surprised how small and svelte you were, belnding in with the punters muching their pehs and bovrils. The suits, braces and the tele camera obviously combine to create (what one might call) an illusion of chub. Keep up the excellent work and hopefully we'll all have a happier season next year

  • 71.
  • At 01:13 PM on 24 May 2007,
  • David Blair wrote:

Re comment #68 (above). How do you find Alistair Darling comes across? I'm not a fan. What was he in the real world, before he became an MP?

If he wasn't an Electrical Engineer, then what does he know about the energy 'problem'?

Incidently, as engineers have a reputation as being pragmatic, why are there none in Holyrood or Westminster? Or are there some, that i'm not aware of?

What are your feelings on the number of ex-councillors that become MSPs? Why is it mainly Lawyers and councillors who get in as MSPs?

  • 72.
  • At 01:28 PM on 24 May 2007,
  • Scary Bear wrote:

What are your views on the new Forth Road crossing. I noticed that the Scottish Cabinet backed the crossing. Do you think a crossing will be built anytime soon, and will it be a tunnel or a bridge?

I believe the SNP favour a tunnel but it would not surprise me to hear that Labour fancy another bridge! Do these two parties agree on anything?

What is the stance of the various parties on whether to build a new crossing and which crossing type to build?

  • 73.
  • At 09:07 PM on 24 May 2007,
  • Lintrathen wrote:

Bobo, what do you think about almafi fish suppers? I think they are in decline since The Ashvales attempts at globalisation

  • 74.
  • At 05:10 PM on 25 May 2007,
  • Sandy Matheson wrote:

Great blog, Brian - I v much enjoyed your election coverage. Is there any chance that the News editors at the BBC in London will feature you more frequently in the future? I was astonished that they didn't consider Alex S's appointment as First Minister to be headline-worthy (we got 10 minutes of 'news' (ie no news) from Portugal instead that day).
All the best
Sandy (a fellow Arab)

  • 75.
  • At 12:30 AM on 05 Jun 2007,
  • Cat wrote:

As a fan of your charming,informative, non combattive style of presentation on T.V. which is a relief from all the other interviewers constant interruptions, I have to say how disappointed I am in your blog.....totally pro Alex and SNP and publishing sycophantic comments about yourself. Disappointed in you.. and expected...and looked forward to so much more! Notice(55)where you are content to let others be insulted. You more than most, must know how hard most politicians work, but you let that sort of comment through as acceptable!
It's still not too late to make it real!Look at Nick Robinson's!

  • 76.
  • At 08:19 AM on 05 Jun 2007,
  • Jim from Arbroath wrote:


I've just been looking through the biographies of the principal characters in the Scotish Labour Party, on the BBC website. And I'm horrified! Just how typical are these of MSPs in general? Has no-one at Holyrood ever had a proper job before? All I see is a bunch of ex-social workers, teachers or lecturers and local council officials, with no real experience of the "real" world of industry and commerce. I can't help but feel that there is a lot of talent in Scotland that isn't being tapped, and consequently we are governed by the second eleven.

Now I understand why, when listening to some of the debates at Holyrood, I get the feeling that I'm back at school.

  • 77.
  • At 02:35 PM on 05 Jun 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Hello Brian Taylor.
A few years ago, tou were quoted in the Scotsman Diary [Simon Pia] as saying that listening to a speech by Roseanna Cunningham [snp] you likened it to "pure sex"
I still have the cutting from the newspaper.
Do you fancy her then ?
I think we "ordinary" members of the public should be told.
Though you sort of people were supposed to be unbiased ?

C Campbell

Might be worth writing to the papers to find out if other "ordinary" people remember this quote.

  • 78.
  • At 09:49 PM on 05 Jun 2007,
  • Cat wrote:

Thanks for proving me wrong! Interested by what Jim says in (76)... I'd like to turn what he says around and suggest that he should have a shot of being a teacher for a realistic period!!!(Do that Jim, then we'll listen to you) Having worked in many different jobs before going into teaching, it has been a revelation to me just how knackering it is!! To be frank, it is the perfect preparation for politics as you get very used to constant interruption by kids who are used to being the centre of the universe and don't know how to be silent!!They can't help themselves. They can't sit still and move and wriggle and jerk about constantly....Silent reading? Aye right!!! This of course is also great preparation for the set piece parliamentary debates and the television political interview (present company excepted) where it is a hanging offence to let a politician finish a sentence......Nuff said!

  • 79.
  • At 07:57 AM on 07 Jun 2007,
  • Jim from Arbroath wrote:


I'd like to respond to Cat's comments in item 78. The point of my original post was not to denigrate the work done by teachers, lecturers and social workers. My family is well represented in those ranks, and they are a constant reminder to me of the quality of people in those professions. And doubtless they are well suited to the rough and tumble of everyday politics.

My real concern is the absence of other professions in the Scottish Parliament, with the consequent imbalance in knowledge and appreciation of business and industry. I suppose it grieves me most to see our country turn into a nation of service workers and local authority staff, with little evidence that our Parliament is doing much to change things.

  • 80.
  • At 03:05 AM on 25 Aug 2007,
  • Brave & Not braveheart wrote:

Surely there is a difference between Parliament sitting for most of the first 100 days and not? Same is true for our First minister and Prime Minister. It is great, at least for our civil servants and journalists, that Scottish politics has risen above council and parish council level. I hope Scotland will be able to self determine its own political economy fully but at least in more areas soon. Why, oh why,do we have to spend so much on British military ambitions?

  • 81.
  • At 04:25 PM on 04 Sep 2007,
  • John Boota wrote:


I have never before written about politics, Scottish or otherwise, but I any very passionat about Scotland and try very hard to understand all the things people write about the status of this country and the people running it. I would however have to point out that even after reading what you have to say, it is still like double Dutch. What is wrong with the English language that we cannot use it so the ordinary man in the street can understand what is being said.
What I would like to know is this, why does it always seem, when reading reports that everyone is suggesting that Scotland cannot stand on her own two feet. I get the impression that we need to be supported by England. Well correct me if I'm wrong, but England does not srike me as a charitable nation to other parts of this UK union. Everything you read always seems to indicate that any other part of the union,Wales,Northern Ireland or Scotland are the poor relations. So why then does this Union exsist, would England not be better off on her own. I really would like to see all the figures to what each of the Nations within this Union contribute and what exactly they get back. I'm sick tired be told Scotland cannot stand on her own.

  • 82.
  • At 04:42 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • D. Jones wrote:

Hi Brian,
I'm an ex Labour Party member. Can you please ask Wendy Alexander and her allies to stop using the word "unintentional" as if that is a get out clause. New labour sophistry is just so old hat.

If she insists on using that "defence" can you ask her what the words below mean? - offer her the definitions available in any dictionary to aid her if necessary - and perhaps she can add to the electorate's understanding of what she and her campaign team were up to.

Intentional - conscious design or purpose.

Deceive - To mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude or to be unfaithful; to mislead or falsely persuade others; practice deceit.

Conceal - to hide; withdraw or remove from observation; cover or keep from sight; to keep secret; to prevent or avoid disclosing or divulging; to conceal one's identity by using a false name; prevent from being seen or discovered.

Politician (as opposed to a Statesman)- a person who schemes and who engages in (esp. small) politics for party ends or for one's own advantage

Scheme - an underhand plot; not open and aboveboard; secret and crafty or dishonourable

Dishonourable - shameless; false; unscrupulous; disgraceful; scandalous; ignominious; lacking honoor or integrity; deserving dishonour.

That should cover it.

  • 83.
  • At 12:13 AM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Kelvin MORETON wrote:

Hello Brian, I have just heard that in the Trump Golf course plans the locally elected Coucillor Martin FORD is to be the subject of a vote of no confidence and that the Scottish Government is calling in the plans as a matter of urgency. I am sure you may well agree this all stinks! Somewhere there is the whiff of underhandedness and maybe something more sinister. I have reservations personally about the Plans as the courses are being purely financed by the sale of over 1500+ houses at a minimum sale price of £570,000 each and it does not take a genius to work out where the Twice Bankrupt Trump is getting his £1 billion from. Is this the death of Democracy to the lure of filthy lucre or what. I hope you dig deeper into this as why is Trump giving them 30 days to get it passed or he is orfff! as to say, maybe the money he has already borrowed to finance this foray is due in or the subject of time restrictions as to concrete results. This is going to be big and it could get right to the heart of Government. All the best Kelvin.

  • 84.
  • At 06:22 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Donald Wood wrote:

Admire your humourous style, which is surprising given you are a United fan! I thought us Dons fans were blessed with all the humour:-)

  • 85.
  • At 12:05 PM on 15 Dec 2007,
  • David Evershed wrote:


I am English but have found your blog most interesting. Please keep up the good work.

What happened about the story that the money for Wendy Alexander's leadership campaign was collected via an association called the W A Campaign - and that as a result all donations to this fund needed to be declared in the list of MSP members "interests", but were not?

  • 86.
  • At 01:36 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Alex in the less stylish part of Glasgow wrote:

Brian, your blogs are a great read - and I have to confess yours are the only ones I now read. You have a great mix of grounded realism, with a smattering of cynicsim, and laced with lots of accuracy. Many thanks

ps as a Weegie, I recently discovered that Dundee is NOT Possil by the Sea, as I had been led to beleive!!

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