Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

This is where you can find my take on what's happening in the world of Scottish politics

Fist Minister's Questions: So, where are the baddies?

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Blazing Saddles
The 1974-film Blazing Saddles starred Mel Brooks and Harvey Korman

One of my favourite movies is "Blazing Saddles." I know, I know, it's infantile nonsense - but it is, quite frequently, funny infantile nonsense.

I first saw it in St Andrews where there were two cinemas, imaginatively titled the Old and - you've guessed it - the New. We went to each in turn, pretty well regardless of what was showing.

Entering the Old a little late one week, I sat down to what, on the face of it, was a western. That is, until the railroad gang started singing "I get no kicks from Champagne."

Anyway, there is a scene where the sheriff and his team are exhorting the townsfolk to help out in resisting the baddies.

They are decidedly reluctant until the clinching argument is put. "You'd do it for Randolph Scott!" At which point they chorus the name of their hero in angelic tones before consenting to the request for assistance. The very name removed all objections.

Read full article Fist Minister's Questions: So, where are the baddies?

Public information or political propaganda?

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Scotland sign and flag
More powers have been promised to Holyrood after the general election in May

When does public information become partisan propaganda? When it is promulgated by your political opponents, of course.

Alistair Carmichael, the Secretary of State for Scotland, has outlined plans for a campaign to explain the contents of the Smith Commission agreement to the people of Scotland.

Read full article Public information or political propaganda?

Scottish Tory conference: Past, present and future

  • 20 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
David Mundell
David Mundell made the opening speech at the Tory Party conference in Edinburgh

Coalition was much on the mind of David Mundell as he opened the Scottish Conservative conference in Edinburgh today. Not, you understand, for his own party in the future.

No, no, the Tories, it seems, will sweep to majority power in the House of Commons, carried through the streets of SW1 by cheering crowds: eager voters, openly weeping with joy, clutching their enthusiastic, gap-toothed offspring.

Read full article Scottish Tory conference: Past, present and future

First Minister's Questions: The eyes have it

  • 19 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was answering questions from opposition leaders and backbenchers

Look me in the eye, you could see them thinking. Look me in the eye. When would you say that? Perhaps if you doubted your partner. Or your offspring.

Or perhaps if you are a lawyer interrogating a witness. Or a copper with a suspect. But today that sentiment was scattered throughout the session of questions to the First Minister. Either explicitly or implicitly.

Read full article First Minister's Questions: The eyes have it

Promoting your rivals

  • 16 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
SNP badge and Lib Dem rosette

Just back from a brief bout of contented leave. On return, I fingered idly through the intriguing blend of leaflets and letters littering my hall carpet.

To those solicitous souls who feel I should insure my life, thanks for the concern. Truly touching but misdirected.

Read full article Promoting your rivals

Where now for police stop-and-search?

  • 5 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Police doing stop and search
BBC Scotland revealed figures for stop-and-searches earlier this week

Routinely in politics, caveats can be as important as the core message.

So it was today at Holyrood when the First Minister offered her views on the question of who might be subjected to police stop and search, together with the related issues of when and why.

Read full article Where now for police stop-and-search?

How is the 'killing the SNP stone dead' project going?

  • 4 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Houses of Parliament
Voters will elect who sits at Westminster when they go to the polls on 7 May

George Robertson was Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary prior to the General Election in 1997.

(Ok, ok, so you were at school then, bear with me.)

Read full article How is the 'killing the SNP stone dead' project going?

Brown spells out 'vow plus' plan

  • 2 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy
Gordon Brown (pictured with Jim Murphy) talked about the Scottish Parliament topping up benefits

As ever, he spoke without notes, recalling compendious statistics with ease. As ever, he paced the stage like a caged lion, albeit one whose power was tamed by the electors some time back. As ever, he opened with a few funnies.

It was, then, a familiar performance from Gordon Brown - albeit with a distinctly calibrated message. Labour will be hoping for one other element to be repeated: for Mr Brown's oratory to deliver the success attributed to it during the referendum.

Read full article Brown spells out 'vow plus' plan

It's a Question of Sport

  • 29 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
andy murray

Tennis, anyone? Humphrey Bogart denied uttering these words while an aspiring thespian.

They are occasionally to be found in the oeuvre of P.G. Wodehouse, usually delivered by a young hopeful destined, you can just tell, to land in the soup pretty shortly.

Read full article It's a Question of Sport

Party leaders jostle for attention

  • 22 January 2015
  • From the section Scotland
David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon
David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon met in Edinburgh, but there is still disagreement over the issue of more powers

The chancellor has forecast "tax competition" as a consequence of the new powers being devolved to Scotland.

Today we had competition of a different kind as sundry political leaders jostled for attention.

Read full article Party leaders jostle for attention

More Correspondents

  • Douglas Fraser, Business and economy editor, Scotland Douglas Fraser Business/economy editor, Scotland

    Money and business matters from a Scottish perspective


  • Nick Robinson, Political editor Nick Robinson Political editor

    The latest on what’s going on in and around politics


  • David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

    Welsh view of Westminster, the personalities and Parliament


About Brian

Brian has been a journalist for ever, well, since 1977.

He covers politics in all of its guises - UK, European but mostly Scottish.

Before joining the BBC he spent six years as a lobby correspondent at Westminster.

He has lectured on politics and identity across Europe and the USA and has written two books - and co-written a handful of others.

At St Andrews University, he studied literature.

He is a proud, patriotic Dundonian and fanatical supporter of Dundee United Football Club, losing no opportunity to trumpet their many glories.

He is married with two sons.

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