My latest ConHome column looks at the recent harassing of Nigel Farage in Edinburgh and the possibility of increased scrutiny on the darker elements of Scottish nationalism. It also asks some questions about the launch of Better Together: London and celebrates the first trades union to officially affiliate to the Scottish unionist campaign. Read it here.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Friday, 17 May 2013
I've got a short post on the @IBTimesUK reacting to the mob that laid siege to Nigel Farage in an Edinburgh pub. I touch briefly on UKIP's problems with the 'UK' bit before looking at the "anti-fascist" attention UKIP is getting and the potential problems extreme nationalists pose to the broader Scottish separatist movement. Read it here.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
My latest ConHome column takes a look at a very strange article in the Scotsman wherein a separatist argues that he supports independence "because he is British". It makes about as much sense as you'd expect. I also report on UKIP's prospects of a second MLA in Northern Ireland (not impossible) and relate some of my findings from my week's archiving in Belfast, not least the fact that all the arguments surrounding devolution appear to have been waged, and waged in a recognisable yet superior fashion, more than a century ago. Read it here.
PS. I forgot to post number 18 before, in which I focus on UKIP's prospects of establishing themselves as a national party and extol Belfast as a pleasant surprise to visit. Read it here.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
My latest article for @IBTimesUK looks at the strategic problem that UKIP pose to the Conservatives, and how having a viable splinter party on their right is a novelty which jeopardises one of the party's key historical strengths: its freedom of manoeuvre. Instead of reaching out to the Liberal Democrat right and the Blairite remnant as the old Tories would have, the prospect of a pact with UKIP amounts to a core-vote strategy - the province of losers. Read it here.
Monday, 6 May 2013
My latest post for Open Unionism is a brief look at Lord Tebbit's notion that UKIP is a 'truly national party', a definition which explicitly excludes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I list some of the key tests coming up in the smaller home nations and urban England that will demonstrate the extent to which UKIP really is a force which can carry the centre-right standard into new territory. Read it here.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
My latest ConHome column looks at the Welsh government's new plans to teach 'nationalist history', and the minefield involved in avoiding nationalist history. It also looks at the seizure of medieval weaponry in Edinburgh, the weird division of Northern Ireland's gay marriage vote along constitutional lines, and the odd state of the Anglesey Conservatives. Read it here.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
My latest ConservativeHome column looks at the risk of Scottish political independence to Scottish economic independence, the MI5 spying operation on Plaid Cymru, the resurrection of the Red Flag at Labour conferences, and takes the opportunity afforded by Saint George's Day to explain to grumbling Anglo-Nat commenters that the reason my column doesn't mention England much is because it is about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Read it here.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
My latest column for Conservative Home looks at the differing approaches to Lady Thatcher taken by the Scottish and Welsh devolved chambers, a couple of possible Tory prospects in North-Eastern Scotland, the Sinn Fein party conference and Lady T's notion of repartitioning Ireland, and the odd news item that England would apparently bomb post-independence Scottish airports. Read it here.
Thursday, 11 April 2013
My latest ConHome column looks at the response to the passing of Lady Thatcher in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Topics include her impact on the Troubles, whether she was a recruiting sergeant for devolution, the lost legacy of the 'One Nation' Tory party, the notorious death parties, and whether or not she was as universally hated in Wales and Scotland as modern collective memory believes. Read it here.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
I served on a panel for World Have Your Say, on the BBC World Service, debating the morality of those throwing street parties to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's demise. Arrayed against me were four critics of Thatcher of varying degrees of virulence, and a fellow Tory from Birmingham. The Thatcher segment formed the second half-hour of the hour long programme. Listen here.
My latest article for the Commentator draws on my experience of historiographical study at Trinity College Dublin to assess the importance and challenges of teaching national history in schools. Read it here.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
My latest post for the International Business Times looks at the difficulty that writing about Lady Thatcher poses for a young Conservative writer, before taking the plunge and trying to give my view of her legacy in terms of the party she led and, much later, I joined. My conclusion? That whilst many of her ideas were perfectly sound, in introducing the Tories to the phenomena of ideological purity and hero-worship she cast a shadow which is holding the party back, and injected a little of the Labour Party into her own. Read it here.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
My latest article for the @IBTimesUK looks at how both the Conservatives and Labour are paying the price for political incoherence, and shows how each party has reaped the benefits of unity in the past. Since it has just started its third season, I couldn't help but include a Game of Thrones reference. Read it here.
Friday, 5 April 2013
My latest piece is for TSJ, where I've not written for a while. It is about my surprise at discovering the Trinity College student elections sailing past me without my giving much of a damn about them, despite them being substantially better than Manchester's democratic efforts when I was there. Read it here.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
In my latest ConHome column I take a look at the impact of the "bedroom tax" outside England, the all-Catholic final of the Northern Ireland Conservative Future leadership election, and Alex Salmond's newfound enthusiasm for involving David Cameron in the Scottish independence debate. Read it here.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
My latest ConHome column takes a look at the SNP's new anti-smoking crackdown, and the looming downsides. I also look at the Scottish executive's reaction to the news that Scottish universities are the worst in the UK for attracting the poor, despite the much-vaunted abolition of tuition fees. Also covered are bomb scares in County Fermanagh, Sinn Fein's stand against the Red Arrows, and the joyous but controversial appearance of the Union Jack in the new Star Trek trailer. Read it here.
Thursday, 21 March 2013
My latest column on Conservative Home takes a look at the finding liable (in a civil court) of two Republicans for the 1998 Omagh bombing, the Church in Wales' submission to the Silk Commission on Welsh devolution, and the 'rise' of Northern Isles separatism. Read it here.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
My latest ConHome column takes a look at the University of Glasgow's solo attempt to introduce to its own administration all the bilingual territorialism of Welsh government, and tries to read the entrails of the Mid Ulster by election, before concluding with the thrilling saga of the DUP David taking on Goliath-like car manufacturer Kia over naming a car after an Irish terrorist organisation. Ahem. Read it here.
Thursday, 7 March 2013
My latest ConHome column looks at the prospects of Basil McCrea's new party and the waning fortunes of the DUP, and how the NI Conservatives seem to be struggling to negotiate Northern Ireland's political landscape. It also looks at the latest bout of me-too more-powers-ism to have erupted from the Welsh devolutionary establishment. Read it here.
Saturday, 2 March 2013
My latest piece for the International Business Times takes a look at the result of the Eastleigh by-election, and makes the case that it failed to satisfy even the two winners - the Lib Dems seeing much of the potential good press drowned by the Rennard scandal, and UKIP's failure to run Farage leaving it with a tantalising and painful "what if...".
Meanwhile, the Conservatives were beaten into the third by the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Labour's vote left it looking back on the 'glory days' of 1994, and the caretaker leadership of Margaret Beckett. Read it here.
Friday, 1 March 2013
In a shorter, 600 word version of my ConHome article of a couple of week's ago, I make the unionist case for a constitutional convention to bring devolution to a rational, equitable and sustainable conclusion. Read it here.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
My latest Conservative Home column examines the failure of the NI Conservatives to attract John McCallister and Basil McCrea to defect, why this might have happened, and what it means for the party in Northern Ireland. Read it here.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
In my latest column for Conservative Home, I look at how two different groups of arch-devolutionaries, in Wales and Scotland, are attempting to force unionism in a position of "federalism-by-default". Read it here.
Edit: In an unexpected twist, the article has re-appeared on Labour Hame, courtesy of Tom Harris MP! See here.
Edit: In an unexpected twist, the article has re-appeared on Labour Hame, courtesy of Tom Harris MP! See here.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
My latest column for Conservative Home makes the case for a constitutional convention, drawing on the very public concerns of Welsh devolved politicians about the implications for Wales of the Scottish independence referendum. Read it here.
Thursday, 7 February 2013
My latest Conservative Home column examines again the Fraserite suggestion that the Scottish Conservatives should go their own way. I explain why I came down against Fraser's proposals at the time, and why a recent column by a senior member of his campaign staff vindicated - and exceeded - my suspicions. Read it here.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
My latest International Business Times article looks at the pros and cons of the European referendum for the political unity of the British right, and tries to assess whether it will help or hinder that process. Read it here.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
In my latest ConHome column, I examine the fallout from the Electoral Commission's report on the Scottish referendum question, and the break between the English and Welsh examination systems that looms as the Welsh administration reject Michael Gove's reforms. Read it here.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
In my third article for ConservativeHome, I condemn the Labour Party's decision to maintain its ban on candidates standing for election in Northern Ireland, and attempt to provide some explanations for such a lamentable policy. Read it here.
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
My latest contribution to Open Unionism is an article I wrote for the Trinity News, TCD's independent student paper. It discusses how the main unionist parties are torn between moderate unionists and Catholic voters on the one hand, and loyalist voters on the other. Read it here.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
My second Conservative Home column looks at Alex Salmond's proposals for a codified Scottish constitution, and lays out how I think the Conservatives can exploit it. Read it here.
Thursday, 17 January 2013
My second IBT article is about the challenges facing unionism after a victory in the Scottish referendum, and the work that needs to be done to ensure it is not an opportunity wasted. Read it here.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
I've joined Conservative Home! My 'Red, White and Blue' column will focus on the political goings on of the three smaller home nations, in particular constitutional issues. Please read the first one here.
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Dilettante on the International Business Times: 2013 will be a good year for constitutional prophets
In my first article for the IBT, I explain why 2013 should be a good year for constitutional journalists like me, despite the lack of much actual action to report on. Read it here.