Andrew Liddle

Andrew Liddle is a political writer and former adviser to Scottish Labour. He is author of Cheers, Mr Churchill! and Ruth Davidson and the Resurgence of the Scottish Tories.

In praise of Labour’s Dame Jackie Baillie

In an age of nepotistic knighthoods, dodgy peerages and now even returned CBEs, it is easy to understand the general cynicism around the honours system. Too often it is used to reward politicians for failure rather than success, loyalty rather than achievement, and party rather than principle. None of that, however, applies to Jackie Baillie,

Why Anas Sarwar is succeeding

Few politicians had a better 2023 than Anas Sarwar. The Scottish Labour leader began last year with his party still in the doldrums, languishing behind a seemingly impregnable SNP led by a seemingly indefatigable Nicola Sturgeon. A resignation, a camper van, and an incompetent successor later, and that has all changed. Scottish Labour is now

Keir Starmer’s popularity is declining in Scotland

Once upon a time, Sir Keir Starmer was Scottish Labour’s greatest asset. In the dark days following the party’s 2019 general election drubbing, the party in Scotland remained an unlikely redoubt of Corbynism, languishing in the polls under the uninspiring leadership of trade unionist Richard Leonard. In such a context, Starmer’s election as Labour leader

How Alistair Darling rescued Scotland

Few modern politicians can claim to have changed their country, and fewer still can claim to have saved it. One who can is the late Alistair Darling. This is not a reference to his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 2008/09 global financial crisis, but rather his role as the political leader of

Scottish Labour’s ceasefire dilemma

Matters of war and peace are not devolved, but they have nevertheless become the most powerful weapon in the SNP’s armoury as it seeks to fight back against a resurgent Scottish Labour party. Of course, given the nationalists’ record of misjudgement and appeasement in foreign policy, it is perhaps little surprise to see its motion

How serious is Keir Starmer about devolution?

With a general election – and the prospect of forming a government – now firmly on the horizon, the Labour party has no shortage of long-standing policies that it is quickly seeking to recast, review or revoke entirely.  Sir Keir Starmer’s earlier pledges to abolish tuition fees, increase taxes on higher earners and scrap the

Why Scottish Labour shouldn’t fear an SNP resurgence

It is a testament to the extraordinary changes underway in Scottish politics that the latest YouGov poll showing the Labour party winning 11 seats north of the border is viewed as a setback. Even six months ago, such findings would have been welcomed with jubilation at the party’s Glasgow headquarters as evidence that voters were,

Is the SNP serious about decriminalising drugs?

It is hard to criticise the SNP government’s recent legislative record in Scotland, if only because there isn’t one. Almost every single flagship measure the party has brought forward since the 2021 Scottish parliament election has either been altered, scrapped, blocked, or faces a lengthy legal challenge. More often than not, it has been one

The by-election that could shape Scotland’s political landscape

By-election wins rarely presage great victories at a general election. If they did, the Liberal Democrats would enjoy perpetual government. But the fact they are not a forecast for national contests does not mean by-elections are always insignificant. In fact, they provide a good reflection of public mood at a given time and, particularly, sentiment towards the

The SNP has given Labour a golden opportunity

Humza Yousaf is not a leader with troubles to seek. In the three weeks since his election as First Minister, the SNP has been rocked by a series of arrests and accusations of mismanagement. Meanwhile, the Scottish Nationalists’ poll ratings have continued to slide as Yousaf’s attempts to regain the initiative have inevitably been overshadowed

Labour has a near-impossible job to do in Scotland

Every leader of Scottish Labour has, since 2007, felt they were turning the corner to recovery – only to discover they were actually on a roundabout. Every new dawn has proven itself to be sometimes agonisingly, and always painfully, false. But now, as the SNP is mired by scandal after scandal, Labour’s odds in Scotland