Helen whately

Kent Tory Burns Sturgeon

It’s Burns night on Tuesday and after two years of pandemic politics, what better time to celebrate the Union? Yesterday evening Tory unionists piled into the opulent splendour of the the Cavalry and Guards Club for the London branch of the Scottish Conservatives’ annual celebration of the national poet. Steerpike’s spies were in attendance to enjoy the traditional bagpipes and whisky, with Dame Eleanor Laing delivering a magisterial toast to the haggis in her wonderful Paisley accent — a job for which her stints in the Speaker’s chair have certainly proved good training. Scottish leader Douglas Ross was the star turn, having found himself caught between a Holyrood/Westminster tug-of-war in recent days after

Helen Whately is right about student nurses

Helen Whately, the care minister, is being tarred and feathered. She wrote a letter to an MP about student nurses, saying they are ‘supernumerary and not deemed to be providing a service’. The outpouring of fury online and, sadly, from some traditional media outlets provides an object lesson in all that’s wrong with the way Britain debates politics and government in the era of Twitter. Whately’s comments should not be ‘controversial’ or even newsworthy, because she said nothing wrong. Student nurses are indeed ‘supernumerary’, which means that they are not counted towards the total of nursing staff in the NHS. This is not just sensible, it’s something recognised and demanded