Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley

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

How Humza Yousaf could take advantage of Labour

The campaign for Scottish independence is at an impasse. Humza Yousaf used the SNP’s conference in Dundee to set out his party’s latest strategy for achieving statehood for Scotland. That strategy isn’t all that different from what the party faithful has heard before: keep winning elections, keep up the pressure on Westminster, and sooner or

The French Connection and the trouble with streaming censorship

We are ten minutes into William Friedkin’s The French Connection and we’ve just seen our two heroes beat the shit out of a black guy. Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman) is a hard, cynical New York City police detective, a proto Dirty Harry who shoots first and asks questions never. His partner, Buddy ‘Cloudy’ Russo (Roy Scheider),

How Winnie Ewing transformed Scottish politics

Icon. Legend. Pioneer. None of the descriptions we have heard since the news of her passing are fitting for Winnie Ewing. She was an iconic figure in Scottish nationalism, to be sure – her victory in the 1967 Hamilton by-election heralding a new political consciousness north of the border. She did take on a legendary

Emmanuel Macron should sink more pints

Civilisation’s last line of defence runs through the Élysée Palace. Emmanuel Macron has been lambasted by his opponents for necking a beer with Toulouse rugby players to celebrate their victory over La Rochelle in the Top 14 final. The video of le Président chugging down the offending brew has got mustard up the noses of

Is this Wickes’s Gerald Ratner moment?

Big businesses are increasingly torn between activist leadership and a customer base that just wants to stump up its cash and be on its way. Customers’ patience is wearing thin. The latest company seemingly eager to pick a fight with its clientele is DIY chain Wickes. A video dug up by campaigner James Esses shows the shop’s chief operating

What good will locking up Carla Foster do?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a 44-year-old woman, Carla Foster, unlawfully aborted her unborn baby. She procured the necessary drugs from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) by leading them to believe her pregnancy was just over seven weeks in. In fact, she understood herself to be either 28 or 30 weeks in gestation. A post-mortem

Tucker Carlson and the danger of antisemitism

Tucker Carlson is many things but stupid is not one of them. So when he describes Ukraine’s Jewish president (‘a man called Zelensky’) as ‘sweaty and rat-like’, ‘a persecutor of Christians’ and ‘our shifty, dead-eyed Ukrainian friend’, I suspect he knows exactly what he’s doing.  Carlson made the remarks in a monologue on his new

The cynical treatment of Pauline McNeill

Pauline McNeill is an impeccable left-winger. The Scottish Labour MSP is a socialist, a feminist, and a devolutionist. All her pros (rent controls, Palestine, gay rights) and antis (inequality, war, western imperialism) line up as you would expect. Yet the Scotsman reports that she has been forced to pull out of a meeting with some lawyers and feminists

How Pride lost itself

I was in my fondly forgotten twenties when I made it to 53 Christopher Street, site of the 1969 Stonewall riots and, since 1994, the second most historic address in Greenwich Village. (The apartment building from Friends is three blocks over.) The Stonewall Inn that stands there now is only the latest establishment to bear that name,

Millennials have no reason to vote Conservative

For some time now, critics of the Tories’ strategy of soaking millennials to buy votes from boomers have been pointing out its fatal flaw: a generation with nothing to conserve will have no reason to vote Conservative. This argument has typically been waved away with some bromide about how everyone becomes more conservative as they

The trouble with Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra

It’s the worst thing to happen to Cleopatra since that snake in the mausoleum. Queen Cleopatra is the second season of African Queens, a revisionist Netflix strand touting itself as a documentary series on black monarchs. Produced and narrated by Jada Pinkett Smith, it is an attempt to repackage history for a contemporary audience. Queen Cleopatra

Conservatives are blaming civil servants for their own failings

Conservatives are once again doing what they do best: whining. By ‘conservatives’, I don’t mean conservatives in any meaningful sense, but conservatives in perhaps the least meaningful sense: members and supporters of the Conservative Party. The latest grist for their self-pity mill is their conviction that the government is being undermined by the Civil Service. Specifically, that

Nat Con won’t save conservatives

Nat Con is the talk of Twitter, a dubious accomplishment for any movement seeking popular relevance. Progressives are having a grand old time taking offence at every tweet out of the event while others are gleeful at the prospect of the Tory party heading down an electoral dead end. Some right-wingers appear to share that

The inconvenient Palestinians

His name was Abdullah Abu Jaba and I want you to remember it because it’s the last time you’ll hear it. He was a Palestinian from Gaza, reportedly a father of six, and was killed in the latest clashes between Israel and Palestine Islamic Jihad. You haven’t heard of Abu Jaba because he was an inconvenient Palestinian,

The problem with prison

The former prime minister Sir John Major has suggested the UK need not be banging up quite so many people. Lamenting the highest incarceration rates in western Europe, Sir John said he found it ‘hard to believe we British are uniquely criminal’. Of particular concern, he argued, was the sheer volume of non-violent offenders who

The importance of Joanna Cherry

Well, that didn’t take long. Barely had the ink dried on a lawyer’s letter from Joanna Cherry than The Stand comedy club performed a screeching U-turn on its decision to cancel an event featuring the SNP MP. Cherry had been due to appear in an ‘In conversation with…’ interview at the Edinburgh Fringe in August. However, The

What the BBC gets wrong about Israel

If you get your news on the Middle East from the BBC, every so often Israel appears to go mad and begins lustily bombing Palestinian civilians. No rhyme or reason. Jerusalem is simply pummelling Gaza for the hell of it.  This impression is often created by the BBC’s approach to reporting on Israel and terrorism.

Joanna Cherry and the fight for women’s rights

I would like to go back to disagreeing with Joanna Cherry, thank you very much. Not so long ago, it was easy enough. She was an SNP MP, beloved by the party’s grassroots, and one of the most articulate advocates for Scottish independence. She was also a lawyer, and I really don’t think that sort

How the gender debate shaped the new face of moralism

Disruptions of feminist meetings by trans rights activists have become commonplace in recent years. Tactics include pressuring venues, blocking entrances, occupying meeting rooms, and heckling speakers. We have quickly become accustomed to this behaviour and even indulgent of its logic, not least the attempt to analogise attacks on lawful, peaceful assembly to earlier no-platforming strategies