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

The knowing me, knowing you ID debate

  • 4 March 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Woman looking at gap in paperwork
The debate about data access has been hotly debated by politicians and interest groups in Scotland

Not sure about you but I tend to provide the minimum information possible when I am completing official forms. Probably futile, I know, but I have this vague aversion to opening up too much.

You know the sort of thing. You are checking in to an hotel or registering for council tax.

The form asks you to supply: your address, your email address, your mobile number and your shoe size. Together with information about the number of ferrets you keep: a) in cages; or b) in large pens.

I always try to get away with the least possible information, suspecting that it is all just a ruse to pursue me later with marketing campaigns designed to sell me: a) mobile phones; b) shoes; or c) ferrets.

I say that it is probably futile because our data is dogged - and logged - on all sides. Aha, I can hear a public servant pronounce, so he's a minimalist, is he? Let's see how he copes with Form SC23/UB/4. We'll sniff out that ferret tally, see if we don't.

Read full article The knowing me, knowing you ID debate

Past, present and future

  • 27 February 2015
  • From the section Scotland
nicola sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon met apprentices in Ayrshire to mark her 100th day as first minister

Tony Blair used to tell a story of meeting a voter during one of his campaigns for re-election. He had embarked on his standard litany of the benefits he believed his administration had generated for the people.

"Aye, we know all that," chipped in the voter, "What are you going to do next?" The former PM confessed he felt somewhat exasperated for a second.

Read full article Past, present and future

First 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.

Read full article First 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

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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