Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scotland Office has 'next to no' policy responsibilities

BBC News Online is carrying a story about Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's appearance before yesterday's meeting of the House of Commons Justice Committee, which was continuing its inquiry into devolution during an evidence session in Edinburgh.

Sturgeon said the Scotland Office belonged to a past era, and had 'next to no' policy responsibilties, while the department's minister of state, David Cairns, attacked her 'continuing obsession' with fostering bad relations between the UK and Scottish Governments. But Sir John Elvidge, the Scottish Government permanent under-secretary, remained neutral when he said the office's role had moved into 'different territory'.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Scottish Tory Chairman

I can exclusively reveal, for anyone who checks this blog regularly, that Prof Andrew Fulton has this evening been confirmed as the new chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. A former MI6 diplomat, he's certainly an interesting choice. The Daily Telegraph did a speculative news story on him a few weeks ago.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Clarke rejects the 'East Lothian Answer'

A belated post on the thoughts of the former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, as heard by Members of the House of Commons Justice Committee last week. The Committee is currently looking at devolution ten years on.

As the Herald reported, Clarke dismissed Sir Malcolm Rifkind's so-called 'East Lothian Answer' to the 'West Lothian Question', saying it was 'a minefield' and that it would be difficult to designate legislation as 'totally English'. Clarke, of course, is chairing the Conservatives' Democracy Taskforce which is supposed to be sorting out such things for a future Tory government.

And as the Scotsman reported, Clarke also insisted that the Scottish Tories were to blame for the implementation of the Poll Tax north of the border. To be fair, this is certainly truer than the usual 'guinea pig' argument.
Des Browne, the Secretary of State for Scotland, also gave evidence to the Justice Committee on 29 January. You can read an uncorrected transcript by clicking here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Harold Wilson interview

Another amusing old interview has been streamed on the Politics Then section of the stv website, this time a Grampian TV fireside chat with the then Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson, in the run up to the 1964 general election.

Wilson speaks about his perception of Scotland and how Scottish (and UK) industry can be revived.

Forsyth attacks Tory MSPs

A belated post on a Scotland on Sunday story from last week regarding Lord Forsyth's comments on Scottish Conservative Leader Annabel Goldie's support for the SNP's budget. He also got stuck into Tory MSPs in general, one of whom retorted that Forsyth - the Conservatives' last Scottish Secretary - was "a dinosaur".

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Politics Then # 2

Another fascinating old interview has just gone up on the 'Politics Then' section of the stv website. It features Colin Mackay's February 1975 interview with the then new Leader of the Opposition, Margaret Thatcher. She talks about an enthusiastic reception on her first visit to Scotland as Conservative leader, and reiterates her party's support for a Scottish Assembly, a block grant for the Scottish Office and an oil development fund.