Neil Mackay is one of Scotland’s most respected columnists – and one of the most reliably pro-Sturgeon. His scathing assessment of the SNP’s campaign therefore merits attention

Source Direct: An Independence Election?


Five years on from the Brexit vote, everything has been leading to this moment of truth for independence. But that mood of certainty is giving way to frustration and self-doubt. Whisper it, but the Yes bloc is experiencing an identity crisis.

Source Direct: A Yes Slump?


It’s interesting to compare Starmer’s lethargic opposition with events across the Atlantic. Joe Biden (nicknamed “Sleepy Joe”) is Starmer’s spiritual counterpart in more ways than one. But while Britain’s centre-left has snoozed through its alarms, Sleepy Joe has jolted awake.

Source Direct: Slothful Starmer and Sleepy Joe


With new focus on the EU dimension, less has been made of another bedrock of SNP policy, namely dismantling Trident. Or more specifically, how this can be reconciled with the leadership’s enthusiasm for NATO. However, even if Scotland isn’t much interested in NATO, that doesn’t stop NATO types taking an interest in Scotland.

Source Direct: NATO, Nukes and Sturgeon


Boris Johnson won back precious credibility with Britain’s vaccination programme. But it couldn’t last, and the Tories are mired in scandals to an extent we haven’t seen since John Major’s years of sleaze.

Source Direct: Sleaze Sleaze Me



I am not of the view that independence is economically impossible. But I’m also not a denier of facts. The deficit, Brexit and the pandemic are facts. And Sturgeon’s existing economic prospectus poses huge logistical problems.

Source Direct: The Economics of Feasible Independence


They’ve elected an affable new leader. They’ve focused on covid recovery rather than the constitution – theoretically, that’s what the aggregate voter demands. And rivals are in turmoil: the Conservatives embroiled in corruption scandals; pro-independence parties suffering an acute identity crisis. Everything should add up to Scottish Labour success

Source Direct Election Profile: Scottish Labour


Real governments with real central banks and real borrowing powers are beginning to make real shifts, albeit for self-interest reasons. With COP approaching, Scotland risks being left behind. Two years on, it’s no longer sufficient to declare an emergency. Rhetoric must be matched with action.

Source Direct: Happy Earth Day?


It’s no great insight to say that liberal politics today is built on elaborate gestures and performative displays of virtue. The Obama era exemplified its pathology: oodles of empathy, zero underlying change.

Source Direct: Land of the Free