Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley

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

What Tories can learn from Alister Jack

A common complaint from traditional supporters of the Conservatives is that, after 13 years in power, their party has very little to show for it. There has been little roll-back of New Labour era legislation, or the Blair-Brown equalities agenda, or the expansion of the administrative state and taxpayer-funded third-sector organisations committed to progressive policy

We should all care about the dire state of our prisons

Charlie Taylor is not so much the canary in the coal mine of prison conditions as the British Gas engineer nailing a ‘condemned’ sign to the entrance while ministers skip gaily into the fumes. Taylor, just reappointed to a second three-year term as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, has been raising the alarm about our

Can the SNP hold on to Rutherglen?

Last night’s televised hustings entrenched the battle lines already drawn in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. Labour candidate and local teacher Michael Shanks sought to pin unpopular SNP policies, including council tax rises and lengthy NHS waiting times, on the Nationalists’ Katy Loudon, a South Lanarkshire councillor. Loudon retreaded her two-point case for giving

Who polices our armed officers?

When is it acceptable for the police to kill? How do we regulate their use of lethal force? What is the right balance between accountability and legal protection for the police? These questions arise after a weekend in which up to 300 authorised firearms officers (AFOs) handed back their firearms permits to the Met, doing

Prisons aren’t working

Will we learn the lessons of Daniel Khalife?  It depends what those lessons are. If they revolve solely around prison placement decisions, security protocols, and risk assessments for inmates assigned to work details, then perhaps we will. These sorts of lessons are appealing. They appear to address the immediate causes of the absconsion. They make

Stephen Daisley

Scotland is right to try drug consumption rooms

Scotland is the drug deaths capital of Europe. Last year saw 1,051 drug misuse fatalities, a rate 2.7 times higher than that for the UK as a whole. The Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior law officer, has already issued guidance allowing police to handle possession of Class A and lower narcotics: with a recorded warning

What’s lurking behind Humza Yousaf’s Sturgeon tribute act?

Humza Yousaf’s programme for government — Holyrood’s duller, drabber answer to the King’s Speech — was mostly a Nicola Sturgeon tribute act. Heavy focus on social and cultural issues. Lots of leftish-sounding buzzwords (‘progressive’, ‘equality’, ‘diversity’) but nothing truly transformative. Still, just because the SNP leader’s speech and the legislative agenda attached were retreads of

Bring in the Gen X politicians!

American politics has become a tug-of-war between two generations. Boomers (and those older) dominate positions of power even as their capacity diminishes. Joe Biden, 80, has repeatedly displayed signs of frailty and confusion but, as far as we know, he’ll be running for re-election in 2024.  Over on Capitol Hill, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell,

The rise of America’s anti-corporate populists

They are the Odd Couple of the United States Senate. She is a progressive Democrat and senior senator from true-blue Massachusetts, he a nationalist Republican and junior senator from ever-reddening Ohio. She has a 100 per cent rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League; he is ‘100 per cent pro-life’. She wants a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens;

GERS Day isn’t great for the Union

For a decade or so, GERS Day has been something of an annual gloatfest for opponents of Scottish independence. The fiscal data dump would reliably show just how dependent Scotland is on cash transfers from the Treasury to fund the embryonic state created by devolution and its sizeable estate of public service provision. As a

Oliver Anthony and the snobbery of American conservatives

If there is a right-wing cultural aesthetic in America, it is low-brow resentment. The old liberal-conservative tradition prized truth, beauty and the ‘the best which has been thought and said’. This has been shunted aside by a hair-trigger populism drawn to any cultural expression that scandalises progressive tastes. If people with graduate degrees hate it,

Labour is closing in on a vulnerable SNP

Every few weeks I write a ‘Why isn’t Scottish Labour ahead in the polls yet?’ piece. Here is the latest instalment and the take away is: Labour still hasn’t sealed the deal but it continues to close in on a vulnerable SNP. New polling from Redfield and Wilton shows the SNP retaining its three-point lead

Locking up shoplifters won’t solve Britain’s crime problem

The Conservative party has had an idea. It’s not a very good idea, but it’s an idea and those are rare for the Tories. The idea is to start banging up repeat shoplifters and other low-level offenders. Transport minister Richard Holden has complained that ‘the police haven’t concentrated enough on some of these offences’ even though ‘they

Stephen Daisley

Robin Harper is right: the Scottish Greens have ‘lost the plot’

Robin Harper, the first Green parliamentarian elected in the UK, has resigned from the Scottish Greens, saying his former party has ‘lost the plot’. His resignation letter cites ‘serious concerns’ about the party’s handling of trans issues and hopes ‘the Scottish parliament will return to listening mode’ following the Cass and Sandyford reviews into gender identity services

Why the SNP must cling on in Rutherglen and Hamilton West

They are the words Humza Yousaf has been dreading: Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. South Lanarkshire Council confirmed yesterday afternoon that Margaret Ferrier, the incumbent MP, has been recalled by her constituents via petition. Ferrier was elected as an SNP MP but now sits as an independent after admitting that she travelled between London and

Why is the UK so indulgent of Scottish separatism?

Scottish nationalists can sometimes be heard to say the United Kingdom is not a normal country. As evidence, they point to the unelected head of state, absence of a codified constitution and what they see as the dominance of one nation over other, smaller nations within the state. This analysis only underscores the very cultural

Ann Clwyd was a humanitarian unlike any today

Ann Clwyd, who has died aged 86, never held ministerial office or high office of any kind. Unless, of course, you count a stint as chair of the parliamentary Labour party, though that is more of a penance than a power trip. She did a few tours on the opposition front bench under Neil Kinnock,