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

SNP conference: Coming of age in historic vote year

12 April 2014
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond's message to delegates was to go back and prepare for the referendum

The SNP is 80-years-old. John Swinney is rather younger but, nevertheless, today is his birthday and conference delegates sprung a surprise upon him as he prepared to speak - they sang Happy Birthday.

An abashed Mr Swinney vowed gentle revenge on the chair, Derek Mackay, who had orchestrated the ambush.

Later there was folk singing and a satirical drama on stage. But it was not all cakes and ale at the SNP conference, despite the structured jollity and the genuine version among delegates. There was a deeply serious strategic purpose.

Delegates in an SNP audience love nothing more than Braveheart rhetoric, lampooning and lambasting their rivals.

Alex Salmond gave them none of that - or very little. Instead, he exhorted them to go back to their constituencies and prepare for referendum. His talk was all of diversity, of inclusion, of consensus.

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SNP conference: Nicola Sturgeon in plea to Labour voters

11 April 2014
Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon's speech included a plea to Labour voters to say "Yes" in September's referendum

Party conferences, like everything else, have their traditions.

The financial appeal is preceded by painful jokes.

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Postcard from Brussels

7 April 2014
European Parliament building
European Parliament has a building in Brussels

All power blocs have their palaces. All palaces have their courtiers. All courtiers have their intrigue.

The European Parliament is no different. Ditto the wider European Union.

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Margo MacDonald: 'Scotland is the poorer for her passing'

4 April 2014
Margo MacDonald
Margo MacDonald's career saw her serve as an elected member at both the Scottish and UK parliaments

To drop into Margo Macdonald's Holyrood office, as I frequently did, was an experience. You might become engaged in a hugely intellectual debate about independence - or some other issue that had grabbed Margo's attention.

Alternatively, you might be assailed with the latest gossip or the future of the Hibees or, indeed, brought up to speed with her latest purchase on a shopping channel.

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Scottish independence: Contest of doubt and reassurance

29 March 2014
The Guardian front page
The Guardian story says there could be a deal to allow Scotland to use the pound

Does it matter that an unnamed minister of unknown status follows an undiscernible motivation and gives an off-the-record comment to The Guardian? Frankly, yes it does.

Remember that this is a referendum, not an election. It is not about competing policies, it is about rivalry in trust. It is, as it has been from the outset, a contest of doubt and reassurance.

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Scottish Lib Dem conference: Clegg hammers 'sunshine strategy'

28 March 2014

They are perpetually hammering their opponents or hammering home the truth to a reluctant, neglectful electorate.

When not hammering, they are to be found "cracking down": on crime, the causes of crime and other manifestations of our troubled society. Endless hammering and cracking down. It must get dreadfully tiring.

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More Correspondents

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