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

Purdah's welcome relief (for some)

22 August 2014
Edinburgh Agreement
The UK government agreed to the purdah period when David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement

Political purdah means different things for different people.

For Ministers, in the run-up to an election, it places a curb upon their natural desire to evangelise their undoubted talents to the citizens at public expense.

For civil servants, it can provide a welcome relief - from the ever helpful advice offered by ministers. A chance to get on with governing the country, free from unwarranted interruption. And, of course, to prepare for the next administration - of whatever political hue.

More seriously, purdah refers to the specified period prior to an election when governments desist from making announcements designed to impress the people and, thus, win votes for their party.

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What do the rules say?

Rule book image

The Scottish government has published its referendum and election guidance advice on its website. It says.....

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Settle down? Not a chance

21 August 2014

Politics is somewhat tapsalteerie - and understandably so - as a consequence of the referendum.

Customarily, in August, our MSPs would be absorbing the delights of the Festival or their constituency or Benidorm, according to whimsy.

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A historic setting for a modern offer

18 August 2014
Arbroath Abbey

A sense of history. Over the weekend, I took the chance to see the magnificent James Plays at the Edinburgh Festival. The performances thoroughly merited the standing ovation offered by the enthused audience.

(If you will forgive me, I will excise from my memory, both recent and historic, another contest which took place in the east end of Glasgow over the weekend. I prefer to dwell on events at Pittodrie and Tannadice. Much more germane.)

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The Carney conundrum

14 August 2014
Bank of England HQ
Mark Carney revealed on Wednesday that the Bank of England had made contingency plans ahead of the independence referendum

Horatio Townshend would, I suspect, have been horrified. Raising an elegant eyebrow, I reckon he would have demurred gently. Ditto Stamp Brooksbank. Although one could never be sure about Joseph Nutt.

Mostly, these former Governors of the Bank of England would, I feel, have preferred relative anonymity. A quiet word in carefully selected ears would have been the approach. Perhaps over drinks at the club.

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The dominant issue is back

12 August 2014
Govan shipyard

Jobs and the economy re-emerged today as the dominant issue on the referendum campaign - or, to be precise, that portion of the campaign tracked by the wicked media.

In truth, of course, it never went away.

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'Anxiety mingled with hope'

11 August 2014
Food bank

At the Maryhill Food Bank in Glasgow, they are used to planning ahead. On the wall of their limited space in an industrial estate is a notice, setting out intent.

It advises customers, volunteers and visitors that it will soon be time to think about gathering toys to distribute to needy kids at Christmas.

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Alex Salmond turns to Zsa Zsa Gabor

6 August 2014
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor was the first minister's guru of choice

How to sum up the televised encounter? Today, away from the eager vacuity of spin, Alex Salmond turned to a great icon of the 20th century for inspiration.

Gandhi perhaps? JFK? Nelson Mandela? Not quite.

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Referendum debates: 'Bring it on'

5 August 2014
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond will debate on STV at 20:00 on Tuesday
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond will debate on STV at 20:00 on Tuesday

And so Jack McConnell got his way after all. There was, in practice, a truce during the Commonwealth Games - at least in terms of high-profile conflict via the media.

If you remember, the former First Minister drew mild contumely when he first suggested that the two campaigns might give it a rest and concede the field to those who run, jump, swim, box and otherwise compete athletically.

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A congregation of the great and the powerful

4 August 2014
Poppies outside Glasgow Cathedral

A grand setting. Glasgow Cathedral, few grander. A congregation of the great and the powerful. Royal, military, diplomatic, political - from Scotland, from the UK, from the Commonwealth.

And yet it was the voice of a single Scottish schoolgirl which resonated most powerfully in a service designed to commemorate World War I.

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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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