Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley

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

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,

The liberal case for Nigel Farage

After ‘it’s not happening’, ‘it may be happening, but for different reasons’, and ‘would it be such a bad thing if it was happening?’, we have finally arrived at the ‘it’s happening and it’s a good thing’ stage of the Nigel Farage banking story. This now-familiar pattern of motivated reasoning was first identified by conservative writer Rod

I’m proud of my rip-off degree

Whenever the right gets itself in a froth over ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees, I keep my head down. You see, I am the holder of such a qualification: a degree in film and television studies. I rush to point out that my student days preceded the global financial crisis. There were so many jobs sloshing around

It’s time the SNP was honest about EU membership

There’s a school of thought that, since Scotland isn’t likely to become independent anytime soon, interrogating the SNP’s claims about what independence would mean in practical terms is hypothetical and academic. This view is usually expressed by Unionists rather than nationalists, and reflects a frustration with the refusal of the constitutional question to go away.

Who’s to blame for Scottish drug deaths?

Scotland is the drug deaths capital of Europe and changing that is going to take something radical. The Scottish government thinks it’s found that something: the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use. Humza Yousaf’s administration has issued a call for ‘a caring, compassionate and human rights informed drugs policy, with public health and the

Humza Yousaf’s leadership isn’t dead yet

If you just ignore the opinion polls, Humza Yousaf’s first 100 days as First Minister have been an unqualified disaster. Yousaf eked across the finishing line after an internal election drenched in ruthless skullduggery and bitter factionalism. In the aftermath, he alienated and exiled his party rivals and turned the SNP backbenches from a North Korean military