UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Measuring up the Tartan curtain


Visiting Scotland this week to see Alex Salmond sworn in as first minister, the newspapers were full of talk about  “independence lite”. The idea was that an independent Scotland would be free to choose as from a menu, selecting which issues to manage itself and which ones to pool with the rest of Britain.

Listening to Salmond in Holyrood and speaking to him afterwards in his official residence in Bute House,  there was little sign of soft-pedalling.

Elected unopposed as first minister by MSPs at the touch of a button in the modern parliament, Salmond stood up and promptly added demands for control of excise duty, digital broadcasting and a say in European affairs to the list of powers he is seeking from Westminster via  the Scotland Bill.

In our interview, Salmond stressed that an independent Scotland would have its own forces and foreign policy and expect control of almost all of the oil in the North Sea.

Glasgow dire for Labour – but not Crewe


glasgowcampaign.jpgGlasgow East has a very different feel to Crewe as it gears up for Thursday’s by-election.

In Crewe and Nantwich voters were palpably enthused by the prospect of giving Gordon Brown and Labour a good kicking. They were aware of the national significance of a Tory victory and relished the chance to send Brown a stern message. Turnout was a high 58 percent and the Conservatives achieved a massive 17.6 percent swing to win the seat in May.