Scotland forever – but in or out of the UK?

It may rank as one of the most surprising and/or least effective public health measures adopted during the pandemic.  But Scotland’s devolved government has outlawed background music in hotels and restaurants because it might encourage people to raise their voices.

Indeed, the Scottish administration has sometimes ostentatiously gone out of its way to take a different path to that trodden by Boris Johnson’s national government. Meanwhile, opinion polling support for Scottish independence is rising.

Using the pandemic to beat the drum for Scottish independence must irritate those who prefer science-based consistency.  But they probably need to get used to it. Continue reading “Scotland forever – but in or out of the UK?”

Refurbished TOP defies Stuff analysis and shows it was not toppled by 2017 election result

The opening sentence of a report by Stuff reporter Thomas Coughlan – consistent with modern-day notions of good news reporting – was a blatant expression of  opinion. 

Shut out of Parliament and minus it’s multi-millionaire leader, The Opportunities Party (Top) should be calling it quits right about now.

Who says it should be calling it quits?

Not the party’s leaders because Coughlan – in the next sentence – delivered the news that TOP is relaunching “with a jokey campaign as part of a wider rebrand designed to put aside the bruising memories of the 2017 election and look forward to 2020”.

And why should it be quitting about now, so many months since the 2017 election?

Then came some background: Continue reading “Refurbished TOP defies Stuff analysis and shows it was not toppled by 2017 election result”

Classical liberalism, Britain’s Conservative Party – and Brexit

Daniel Hannan is a polite, erudite and humorous author (who also writes a column for The Sun newspaper). He is a self-described Old Whig, and is one of the four surviving British Conservative party members of the European Parliament.

And he is a leading Brexiteer.  In a tolerant globalising sort of way – arguing for freer trade, more skilled migration and protecting the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK.

He provides a case study of those classical liberals in the Conservative party who have been won over to Brexit.

Continue reading “Classical liberalism, Britain’s Conservative Party – and Brexit”

View from the (Conservative party) hustings

The process whereby Britain’s Conservative party chooses its next leader (and the country’s next PM) has come in for a bit of stick.  One unremarked benefit, however, has been the grueling month-long hustings: 16 meetings where the the two candidates – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – have paraded in front of the voting party membership.

Continue reading “View from the (Conservative party) hustings”

Brexit – the prospect of a deal being reached through a three-way compromise

LONDON CORRESPONDENT:   It says something about the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK that some people opine they will be over in a few weeks while others foresee total deadlock and a third group thinks neither.  But amid the tough talk and bizarre gambits, the probability of an outcome seems to be growing.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, navigated her annual party conference last week without disaster.  She even managed some photogenic dance moves on the stage.

But she was not able to sell her ‘Chequers plan‘ compromise that would leave the UK in the EU single market for trade in goods and farm products.  The tepid response from the party faithful (and their joyful reaction to Boris Johnson, the former cabinet minister) showed the depth of opposition she faces from her own people. Continue reading “Brexit – the prospect of a deal being reached through a three-way compromise”