Edinburgh: A City in Decline?

Platinum Point from Asda Newhaven. Pic Rob Bruce.

Update: Fri November 20. The Evening News on the tram situation.

Below posted Sunday November 15

IF EDINBURGH is entering a period of decline which may last the rest of the 21st century, the SNP will have to shoulder a great deal of blame.

At a time when the city has never been more in need of strong leadership, vision and imagination for its future it is being sabotaged by a party which is prepared to sacrifice the economic prosperity of the capital to a populist agenda it believes will further its nationalist project.

Read more: Edinburgh: A City in Decline?

Scunnered by Scot-free passport design

THE ONLY WORD to describe how I feel about the new UK passport design is scunnered. Not one Scot is among the seven faces that are to be plastered across it. It is to have an embossed face of Shakespeare on every page as a security feature. But what about the other globally recognised poet these Isles have produced, our beloved Rabbie Burns?

I struggle to understand the motives behind the redesign. At the time of the referendum on Scottish independence last year, I wrote that a big part of my decision to vote ‘No’ was that I was not ready to give up my right to a British passport for what I thought was the potential mess of pottage offered by the Nats.  Commentator Allan Massie quoted me in his Scotsman column on the eve of the poll.

Read more: Scunnered by Scot-free passport design

Are Scotland's Psephologists Riding for a Fall?


Aside from a computer on the desk, my local betting shop has a traditional look, complete with newspaper racing pages sellotaped to the wooden walls, stubby pencils and drawn blinds. As I entered, a man with a lived-in face and an unlit roll-up cigarette protruding from the corner of his mouth was exchanging a slip of paper for some ten pound notes.

Most betting here is on the horses, but I was looking to place a bet on politics. More specifically, I wanted to place a bet against the psephologists who are predicting that the SNP could take every seat in Scotlandhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/29/snp-could-win-all-59-scottish-seats-at-election_n_7168570.html?utm_hp_ref=uk.


Read more: Are Scotland's Psephologists Riding for a Fall?

Why the House of Lords should scrutinise the Scotland Bill

The SNP, according to Scotland on Sunday, is ‘furious’ about plans for the ‘unelected’ House of Lords to scrutinise the Scotland Bill. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-furious-over-lords-power-over-scotland-bill-1-3821894)

The Lords are appointed not elected, granted. But there is more to democracy than being elected. After all, Hitler was elected.

A strong democracy relies at bottom on the protection of the rights of the individual citizen. That requires more than an elected bunch of career politicians being left in sole charge of all of the levers of power.

Read more: Why the House of Lords should scrutinise the Scotland Bill

After Almost Losing the Union, Does David Cameron Deserve Another Term?


A major part of the Conservative’s election campaign has been to question whether Ed Miliband is up to the job. But what about David Cameron?

He is already the Prime Minister who almost lost the Union, and he is not being all that careful with it now as he sows the wind of Scottish Nationalism in an attempt to frighten English voters.

Looking back, the careless flourish with which he signed off on a referendum with Alex Salmond in 2012 looks at best naive, at worst complacent. With hindsight, Cameron’s decision to fly to Scotland to sign it handed a great publicity opportunity to the Nationalists.

Read more: After Almost Losing the Union, Does David Cameron Deserve Another Term?