Saturday, March 31, 2007

Scotland Office

It seems the creation of a new Ministry of Justice, from May 9, means yet another administrative change for the old Scottish Office. The current Department for Constitutional Affairs, which includes the Scotland Office, will be subsumed into the new ministry.

Pete Wishart, the SNP's constitutional affairs spokesman, said: "It looks like the Scotland Office has become a sub-branch of a sub-branch. What was once a great department of state appears to have been forgotten in a forced shake-up of the Home Office."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Michael Foot

I'm currently reading (Lord) Kenneth O. Morgan's fascinating authorised biography of Michael Foot, the former Labour minister, writer and leader from 1980-83. Foot: A Life reveals that one of Foot's early influences was, oddly enough, the Liberal historian and politician Sir George Otto Trevelyan. Sir George served as Secretary for Scotland for a few months in 1886 and again from 1892-95. Foot, of course, started life as a Liberal supporter; his father Isaac and brother Dingle were both Liberal MPs, the latter representing Dundee. At one point, inspired by Trevelyan's life of Charles James Fox, Foot considered his own attempt at a biography of the great Liberal leader.

Trevelyan supported Scottish home rule, or devolution, during his time at the Scottish Office, and created the Scottish Grand Committee in 1894, so it's fitting that as Lord President in the Labour governments of 1974-79 Foot was in charge of Wilson and Callaghan's devolution proposals.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stirling Observer

Another late review of my book, The Scottish Secretaries, from last Friday's Stirling Observer. You can read the full review by clicking here, but the crucial quote is: 'Generally light and pleasingly straightforward, this is an easily digestible account...The author makes his points simply and quietly, sometimes pithily and always entertainingly.'

Aw, shucks.