Alex Massie rssAlex_Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

The four patron saints of Great Britain, (from left to right) St Patrick of Ireland, St George of England, St Andrew of Scotland and St David of Wales on a drunken spree. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Calm down: English Votes for English Laws is a very minor modest proposal

7 July 2015 15:58

Ed Miliband – remember him? – has just told the House of Commons that the government’s proposals for so-called English votes for English laws (EVEL) are a betrayal of everything for… Continue reading

13 Comments
(Photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty)

Cheer up! The Greek crisis shows you were right all along

6 July 2015 10:58

I don’t know whether the joy on the right was worse than the preening on the left last night but as the result of the Greek referendum swept across social… Continue reading

131 Comments
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Is Home Rule the only realistic alternative to independence for Scotland?

23 June 2015 14:11

‘Is Home Rule the only realistic alternative to independence?’ was the question posed at a Spectator debate, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, in Edinburgh last week. In one sense the question… Continue reading

178 Comments
Pressure Increases For A Scottish Independence Referendum

Is the SNP an Anglophobic party or just a party for Anglophobes?

19 June 2015 17:31

Writing in the Herald this week Iain Macwhirter noted that “Any trace of ethnic nationalism, and anti-English sentiment, was expunged from the [Scottish National] party in the 1970s”.  Responding to this JK Rowling… Continue reading

397 Comments
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Adventures in Truthiness: The SNP and Full Fiscal Autonomy

16 June 2015 19:08

As a general rule I prefer the stupidity theory to the mendacity concept of politics. That is, if a politician says something obviously wrong it is more probably because they… Continue reading

485 Comments
BRITAIN-VOTE

The SNP, which would impose eye-watering austerity on Scotland, remains immune to the laws of politics

12 June 2015 12:27

David Mundell, the somewhat improbable Secretary of State for Scotland, had at least one good line yesterday: “The SNP are asking for something they don’t really want, but of course they… Continue reading

319 Comments
Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Victory Parade

Even if he wins his EU referendum campaign, David Cameron will be the loser

8 June 2015 11:41

I suppose David Cameron had little choice but to offer a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. How else could he have held his party together? Indeed, it… Continue reading

127 Comments
SNP spring conference 2015

Alex Salmond’s reaction to the death of Charles Kennedy was as revealing as it was contemptible

2 June 2015 13:44

Neither man will much care for the comparison but, more than ever, Alex Salmond is rather like Gordon Brown. Each struggles to admit their opponents might ever have a point… Continue reading

677 Comments
Referendum Debate Continues As Campaigns Enter Final Week

Charles Kennedy, 1959-2015

2 June 2015 10:52

Charles Kennedy had many favourite jokes but when, as he often did, he returned to the Glasgow University Union, he was particularly fond of regaling his audience with the story… Continue reading

74 Comments
Kenny MacAskill To Make Statement On Lockerbie Bomber Allegations

The SNP is a party happy to pursue the wrong policies ‘for the right reasons’

29 May 2015 12:05

Of course, as the SNP keep reminding us, this year’s general election had nothing to do with advancing the case for independence. Besides, please, you must remember there’s much more to the party… Continue reading

134 Comments
BRITAIN-VOTE

Today Britain has changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty is born.

8 May 2015 16:44

So this is what history feels like. Painful, frankly.  None of the usual meteorological metaphors – earthquake, hurricane, avalanche, landslide, tsunami – seem strong enough. Make no mistake, Theresa May was… Continue reading

357 Comments
(Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)

Why I am voting Labour

6 May 2015 13:58

This is a bastard election full of bastard choices. In such circumstances some triage is required. Once everything that is impossible has been eliminated what remains must, for tomorrow at… Continue reading

149 Comments
Europe's Oldest Surviving Iron Chain Suspension Bridge Connecting Scotland And England To Be Closed

Labour’s demise in Scotland is a problem for the Tories too. They just don’t know it yet

29 April 2015 13:21

Heaven preserve us from our friends for, though they mean well, they know not the damage they do. I have great respect for Danny Finkelstein. The Pride of Pinner is… Continue reading

428 Comments
charlie-hebdo

Francine Prose reminds us why so many novelists are so very, very stupid

28 April 2015 17:55

I asked yesterday why so many novelists are so often so stupid. The answer, I suppose, is that we should expect no more from novelists than we do from plumbers.… Continue reading

41 Comments
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This is a narrow-cast election, not a national contest

27 April 2015 15:28

This continues to be a most remarkable election. I can’t recall any other contest in which so many parties were speaking to so many different audiences, many of them niche.… Continue reading

23 Comments
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Why are so many novelists so stupid?

27 April 2015 11:06

If you feel a need to search for moral cowardice then, in my experience, literary festivals are likely to be as happy a hunting ground as any. Should you be… Continue reading

92 Comments
Nicola Sturgeon Joins Alex Salmond On The Campaign Trail

Scotland’s two tribes are more divided than ever – they see reality differently

26 April 2015 17:16

Expectations just keep increasing for the SNP. Today’s Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times puts the nationalists on an eye-popping 48 percent of the vote in Scotland. Labour activists and candidates… Continue reading

406 Comments
Sturgeon_Pocket_1200x6283

Yes, of course an SNP-backed Labour government is perfectly legitimate

22 April 2015 12:35

I am sure, as Isabel says, that Tory warnings about the horrors – the horrors, Mabel – of a Labour-SNP arrangement at the Palace of Westminster are, as they say, cutting… Continue reading

160 Comments
SNP Launch Their Manifesto In Edinburgh

The SNP create their own reality – and voters lap it up

21 April 2015 16:40

First let’s look at this chart. That’s Scotland’s fiscal position relative to that of the UK according to the latest IFS projections. It’s not a particularly bonny position though, of… Continue reading

223 Comments
SNP Launch Their Manifesto In Edinburgh

A vote for the SNP is a vote for a Labour government

20 April 2015 11:31

For decades now the SNP have thirsted for the moment when they can be ‘relevant’ to the outcome of a Westminster general election. Well, they have that relevance now. Never before has… Continue reading

121 Comments
Nicola Sturgeon Starts Her Tour Of Scotland

Yes, the SNP really is a faith-based party peddling miracles

16 April 2015 14:54

The thing about faith is that, in the end, it’s unfalsifiable. You either have it or you don’t. But even within the community of the faithful there must be room… Continue reading

98 Comments
Scottish Party Leaders Participate In A Live STV Debate

Sturgeon vs Murphy vs Davidson is the best show in British politics

9 April 2015 18:09

Right now, you know, Nicola Sturgeon vs Jim Murphy vs Ruth Davidson is the best show in British politics. It really is. Better, for sure, than David Cameron vs Ed… Continue reading

90 Comments
Scottish Party Leaders Participate In A Live STV Debate

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP continue to defy the usual laws of politics

8 April 2015 18:07

It’s nice to be noticed. I cannot recall the Scottish portion of a UK general election ever exciting this much interest from folk unfortunate enough to live south of the… Continue reading

36 Comments
Seven Leaders Of Britain's Political Parties Join Televised Debate

Who won the leaders’ debate? All of them.

3 April 2015 10:40

So who won? That’s the question, isn’t it? Well, not really. This debate, like most such affairs, is not a horserace in which the winner is easily determined. Because not… Continue reading

154 Comments
Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation On Oversight Of Wartime Contracting

No, Jim Webb will not beat Hillary Clinton

2 April 2015 17:21

Look, I’m sorry about this, but Jim Webb is no more going to be the Democratic nominee next year than Rick Santorum is going to be the Republican candidate for… Continue reading

23 Comments