Scottish Politics

By Thomas Connolly

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy's conversion to consensus politics appears to be stuck in first gear after just a week in charge.

The performance of his deputy, Kezia Dugdale MSP, in trying to pin responsiblity for the woes of the oil sector on the SNP at First Minister's Questions last week, suggested that Labour cannot shake itself out of the position of "opposition for opposition's sake" at Holyrood.

By Thomas Connolly

The row over the highly-charged role of the Treasury's specially created referendum unit - first revealed by Newsnet Scotland - has deepened following the revelation that the chairman of a House of Commons Select Committee may probe comments attributed to a leading team member.

Mario Pisani was quoted by the leading trade journal Civil Service World as welcoming his team's involvement in a political campaign, namely the independence referendum.

The deputy director of the Treasury, and a former speech writer to ex-Chancellor and Better Together campaign figurehead Alistair Darling MP, Pisani made several controversial remarks at a ceremony where he and the rest of the department's  "Scotland Analysis Programme Team" received the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award in the annual Civil Service Awards.

Exclusive by Thomas Connolly


The civil service team behind the UK government's anti-Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum have been patted on the back for a splendid job by their peers.


The Treasury's "Scotland Analysis Programme Team" - little known during the referendum campaign - has been given the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Award in the annual Civil Service Awards.


According to a glowing review in the magazine, Civil Service World, the senior team "was tasked with producing analysis in the lead-up to the Scottish referendum of how both, Scotland and the rest of the UK, benefit from being part of one country".

By a Newsnet Scotland Reporter

Crunch European Union fishing talks ended in Brussels last night with a couple of key wins for the Scottish lobby which had pressed for measures to take some pressure off the industry.

Scottish Fishing Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP said the outcome would bring relief as the industry prepares to cope with the implications of ongoing measures to cut "discards", the controversial practice of returning the "wrong" catch dead into the sea.

By Derek Bateman

Be lucky is the most common piece of advice in politics. (Richard Nixon preferred: Never pass up a chance to go to the men’s room). And being lucky in your opponent is the best advice of all. Think of Tony Blair’s adversaries…John Major, William Hague, Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith. When the cast changes to Brown versus Cameron, the game changes too.

So with Salmond confronting McConnell, Gray and Lamont. How lucky is that? Well, from today Nicola’ Sturgeon’s luck turned. In Jim Murphy she has a full-size problem with the capacity to disconcert and derail, if not handled carefully.

Donate to Newsnet Scotland