Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley is a Spectator regular and a columnist for the Scottish Daily Mail

Spain and the mystery of Scotland’s Covid travel list

Nicola Sturgeon had a very rough time at the UK Covid-19 inquiry in Edinburgh yesterday. A sticky moment in particular was when Scottish cabinet minutes were raised showing that the former SNP leader and her senior ministers discussed how to marshal ‘the experience of the coronavirus crisis’ into a fresh campaign for independence, as Isabel

David Cameron is in a muddle over Palestine

The definition of madness, commonly attributed to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In all likelihood, Einstein never said this, but the formulation is useful for understanding not only madness but western policy in the Middle East. (Admittedly, there is substantial overlap.) One idea that fixates

Replacing Sunak won’t rescue the Tories

Sir Simon Clarke’s call to replace Rishi Sunak leans heavily on Tory MPs being in denial about the scale of defeat that could be heading their way. He quotes Alan Clark on the ‘defence mechanism of the psyche’ that allowed Conservatives to disbelieve the landslide thumping forecast ahead of the 1997 election, even though ‘every single device

Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill is a sham

In voting through the government’s Rwanda Bill, Conservative MPs have made a declaration: they want to reduce illegal immigration but they don’t want to take any of the hard choices required to do so. The final version of the Bill is the worst of both worlds, tailored to the sensitivities of the Tory left and

Could a 1997-style wipeout spell the end of the Tories?

There is not a crumb of comfort for the Conservatives in the YouGov poll splashed across the front of this morning’s Daily Telegraph. It forecasts that the Tories will lose 196 seats in the coming general election, a bigger slump than the party suffered in 1997, 1945 or 1929. This would represent the second-worst defeat

Why isn’t the Sun backing Starmer?

The Sun’s reporting on Sir Keir Starmer’s legal activities is strident and therefore curious. The paper reports, in thunderous terms, on a number of convicted murderers in Commonwealth countries whom Starmer saved from the noose. It notes that, as these cases took place abroad, the former barrister was not bound by the cab rank rule

The Reform party is just another Thatcherite redux

What exactly does the Reform party stand for? Helpfully, its leader Richard Tice gave a press conference on Wednesday at which he sketched out some of his party’s principles and policies. The millionaire businessman described the Tories and Labour as ‘two sides of the same socialist coin’, citing in evidence ‘record high taxes’, ‘record high wasteful government

Who will remind the Met Police of their duties?

On Saturday, according to the Daily Telegraph, pro-Palestinian protestors ‘brought Oxford Street to a standstill on one of the busiest shopping days of the Christmas period’. The organisers, Sisters Uncut, declared that ‘Christmas is cancelled’ while placards read ‘no shopping while bombs are dropping’ – a reference to Israel’s military response to the 7 October

The two-state solution is dead

Tzipi Hotovely has committed the gravest sin in diplomacy: speaking candidly. In an interview with Sky News, Israel’s ambassador to the Court of St James’s rejected the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. Hotovely told a plainly horrified Mark Austin there could ‘absolutely not’ be a Palestinian state now, saying: ‘It’s about time for the world to realise

It’s time to crack down on Yousaf’s foreign affairs freelancing

For those who still believe in that old-fashioned thing called the British constitution, there has come a glimmer of hope from an unlikely source. Lord Cameron has threatened to withdraw Foreign Office support for overseas visits by Scottish government ministers if the SNP continues to disregard protocol on international jaunts. Humza Yousaf raised eyebrows during

The SNP should have listened to Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes has called on the Scottish Government to accept Friday’s judgment on its controversial gender legislation. The Gender Recognition Reform Bill introduces ‘self-identification’, an approach which removes medical experts and other safeguards from the process, and lowers the age at which a person can change their legal sex to 16. It was passed overwhelmingly

Barbara Rymell deserved dignity

There is no getting around the death of Barbara Rymell. When I read the Telegraph’s story about this 91-year-old who died while care home staff struggled to speak English to a 999 operator, it sounded too tailored to anti-immigrant prejudices. Surely this was nothing more than sensationalist reporting. Then I read the Regulation 28 report issued to the Home Office and the

The real reason the Tories are getting tough on the licence fee

You know the Tories are worried about their core vote when they start talking tough on the BBC licence fee. Rishi Sunak took time out of his Cop28 jaunt to declare that the Corporation must ‘cut its cloth appropriately’. Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is against the planned £15 increase in the fee, which comes after a

Alistair Darling only saved the country

Alistair Darling was one of the most consequential politicians of the past half-century but he had the misfortune to be a quiet, self-effacing man and so the scale of his contributions has never been recognised. He was not by nature a Westminster man, not someone who lived for briefings and gossip and the soap opera

Is Scotland waking up to the dire state of its NHS?

If the NHS is the closest thing we have to a religion, as Nigel Lawson reckoned, then Paul Gray is not just a blasphemer but an apostate. Professor Gray has called the NHS in Scotland ‘unsustainable’ and urged a public conversation about reform, including the use of the private sector. His intervention is significant because

There’s no one to vote for if you want controlled immigration

There has been much Tory huffing and puffing about the ONS revising 2022 net migration to 745,000, up from its previous estimate of 606,000. James Heale has documented their dismay. Conservative MPs are a journalist’s dream: they don’t do much but they’re always quick off the mark with a statement lamenting all the things they’ve

Stephen Daisley

Removing Hamas will not solve everything

Ever since Hamas invaded Israel, massacred 1,200 of its citizens and kidnapped 240 as hostages, there has been an effort to distance the Gazan population from the terrorist group. In most cases it has been well-intentioned, reflecting a desire that western populations do not associate the rape, torture and mass murder of Jews seen on

Stephen Daisley

The Scottish Greens’ oil crusade is coming unstuck

‘Well, well, well,’ as the meme goes. ‘If it isn’t the consequences of my own actions.’ The news that Grangemouth, Scotland’s last oil refinery, is to close by 2025, with hundreds of jobs thought to be at risk, has elicited statements of concern from across the political spectrum. But no one is likely to improve

Jailhouse rot: The horrendous state of HMP Bedford

Charlie Taylor, the chief inspector of prisons, has issued an urgent notification to the justice secretary about HMP Bedford, a category B reception facility. It is the second such notification in five years. In his letter to Alex Chalk, Taylor – whose Spectator writings on prison conditions can be read here – outlines the findings