Alex Massie

Alex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator.

Is the SNP establishment worried by Forbes?

15 min listen

After a tumultuous two weeks, voting is now open for the SNP leadership elections until 27 March. But are members any closer to knowing who they’ll vote for? The deputy first minister of the SNP, John Swinney has backed Humza Yousaf to be SNP leader. What could be seen as an influential endorsement by some, can also

Kate Forbes’s gay marriage blunder

Mistakenly, I assumed that politicians supporting Kate Forbes’ campaign to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the SNP understood she has certain views which diverge from modern orthodoxy. I assumed her pro-life credentials on the question of abortion could be accompanied by an acceptance that, whatever her personal views, the law – and debate –

Nicola Sturgeon was made – and destroyed – by independence

The greatest trick an ideologue can ever pull off is convincing people they are not, in fact, an ideologue. But Nicola Sturgeon was just as much an ideologue as her predecessor. In some ways, indeed, her convictions eclipsed Alex Salmond’s.  The country is cleft in two and for all that Sturgeon may now deplore this

Nicola Sturgeon isn’t above the law

The first thing to say is that the argument between the Scottish government and the British government over the former’s gender recognition reforms is not about trans people. The broad principles of those legislative changes are not the chief issue, whether one happens to support them or not.  The second thing to note is that

Is Nicola Sturgeon now guilty of ‘transphobia’?

Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon spoke at an event celebrating 30 years of the charity Zero Tolerance and its long running – and essential – commitment to ending violence against women. In a revealing sign of the times in Scotland today, organisers emailed those attending the event to warn them certain subjects should be ignored. As they

It could soon be game over for Nicola Sturgeon

The idea that a referendum on Scottish independence could be held without it having any bearing on the constitution of the United Kingdom was – though Lord Reed did not quite put it like this – utterly preposterous. This was what the Scottish government argued, however: Holyrood could legislate for a referendum because such a

What should Liz Truss do about Scotland?

What should Liz Truss do about Scotland? To ask the question is to illuminate its limitations. Scotland is no more Truss’s to manage than it was her predecessor’s plaything. Truss may call herself a ‘child of the Union’ but a few years in a Paisley primary school are not enough to justify such a claim

Truss’s Sturgeon jibe is bound to backfire

If the first rule of leadership is, as Barack Obama once said, ‘don’t do stupid shit’ then this Tory leadership contest offers ample reasons for thinking neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss is remotely capable of being prime minister. Having advertised himself as the only adult in the race, the only candidate prepared to tell

Trump’s Return

42 min listen

In this week’s episode:Will Donald Trump have a second shot at the US presidency?Freddy Gray and Sarah Baxter debate the return of Donald Trump. (1.10)Also this week:A look at the history of Scotland’s paradoxical relationship between Scottish identity and the Union.The Spectator’s Scotland editor, Alex Massie talks with Murray Pittock about his book Scotland: The

The impossibility of separating Scotland from Britain

Most histories of the United Kingdom fail to account for, or even acknowledge, just how unusual a country it is. One of the strengths of a history of Scotland within the United Kingdom is that it cannot avoid emphasising the sheer strangeness of Britain. It is a country quite unlike other European nations for it

Boris’s implosion was inevitable

So it ends as it was always likely to end: as a disgrace inside a shambles, lost in a fog of delusion. Boris Johnson’s fate was sealed the moment he became Prime Minister. As was apparent to those who cared to look, nothing in his past suggested he would have the chops to be a

Who cares if Angela Rayner is a champagne socialist?

What is it about Angela Rayner that so thoroughly irks so many Conservative MPs and their friends in the press? The Daily Telegraph could scarcely contain itself last week when it reported – exclusively! – that Labour’s deputy leader had attended a Glyndebourne performance of The Marriage of Figaro even as – get this! –

Another Scottish independence referendum is coming

Despite what the SNP and its supporters insist, Nicola Sturgeon did not ‘announce’ a second referendum on independence today. Far from it. Her statement to the Scottish parliament quietly accepted that a referendum is highly unlikely to take place on 19 October next year. The 2014 referendum – an act of self-determination that inconveniently produced

The game is up, Boris Johnson

The worst possible outcome for the Conservative and Unionist party is also a pretty lousy result for the country. That this needs saying – that Tory MPs need reminding of this – is itself yet another data point supporting the proposition that Boris Johnson’s leadership has thoroughly corrupted the party. So what to do now?

The Prime Minister must go

It isn’t just the fines. It isn’t just the behaviour that has led to the Prime Minister being issued a fixed penalty notice by the Metropolitan police. It isn’t just the lies told about that behaviour, lies issued with the most sweeping confidence inside and outside the House of Commons. It isn’t just the fines

Rest in peace, Shane Warne

Headingly, July 22nd 1993 and the opening day of the fourth test that summer between England and Australia. This, as it happens, was my first time attending a test match. And although we – my father, brother and I – had travelled from Scotland to Leeds hoping to see England prevail against their oldest, greatest,

Boris must go!

Conservative sympathisers, Conservative voters and Conservative parliamentarians have a simple choice to make this week. Do they stand by a Prime Minister who besmirches his office and whose moral credibility diminishes a little more each day he remains, squatting, in Downing Street? Or do they, instead, accept the obvious reality that Johnson is not fit

Boris’s dwindling bunch of supporters must now come clean

Oh for heaven’s sake, come off it. British politics has long had a comfortable relationship with the absurd but this week – not yet over, its revelations not yet exhausted – takes a very pretty biscuit nonetheless. I do not imagine that ‘Downing Street apologises to the Queen for party revels’ is quite the kind