Stephen Daisley

Stephen Daisley

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

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

The moment I fell in love with Mhairi Black

I think it was when she described Margo MacDonald as ‘just magic’ that I fell in love with Mhairi Black. As summations of pivotal political figures go, it’s akin to a first-time Labour parliamentary candidate calling Nye Bevan an absolute mad lad. This is how Black speaks, assessing political history as if she’s talking about

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