Time to speak at FMQs

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell told the Holyrood chamber: "I'm haverin' so I'll sit down."

As I recall, one of the finest contributions to Scottish Parliamentary discourse came from the former First Minister Jack, now Lord, McConnell.

His answer to a question in the chamber - the old one up the hill, that is, not the new one - was slowly approximating to a conclusion.

You could see Mr McConnell concluding that he had troubled the chamber long enough on the particular topic, whose details I forget. He told MSPs: "I'm haverin' so I'll sit down." And he did.

As a statement, it struck me as perfect. Innately truthful, notably concise - and eminently inclusive, in that he cleared the floor for others to intervene.

If only, I thought at the time, more politicians would follow this admirable example. It would seem that I am not alone in sharing that view, as witness sundry noises off during the latest round of questions to the First Minister at Holyrood.

A line
A line

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What now for Scottish Labour?

Kezia Dugdale and Jim Murphy arrived at a meeting of Scottish Labour's ruling body
Kezia Dugdale and Jim Murphy arrived at a meeting of Scottish Labour's ruling body

Over the weekend, it was possible to discern two competing views about Jim Murphy's resignation as leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Only two? OK, two broad groupings then.

Life in the People's Party is thus somewhat troubled, especially as the People in question are rather fewer in number than previously.

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Caution on both sides at first meeting of Cameron and Sturgeon

cameron sturgeon

David Cameron has long since learned, like other prime ministers before him, to tread warily in dealing with the miasma of constitutional, electoral and strategic issues which comprise the body politic in Scotland.

So it was again today when he met Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House. And yet there is caution too on the first minister's side.

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Facing the Dugdale Dilemma at FMQs

Kezia Dugdale
Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale suggested that Scotland's colleges had been under-funded

Today's plaudits for perseverance go to Kezia Dugdale. Her Scottish Labour Party neared annihilation at the UK election just a week ago. All around her a clamour of party voices - some angry, some conciliatory, all anxious.

But still there is the day job. Questioning Nicola Sturgeon upon her record in office. Ms Dugdale contrived to do so without mentioning that election result. Plainly sensing an oversight, Ms Sturgeon mentioned it for her.

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Another voice joins the 'go Jim' chorus

Jim Murphy
Jim Murphy says he will continue as leader despite losing 40 Scottish seats - including his own - at last week's general election

Alex Rowley is a Holyrood new boy, entering parliament via a by-election in January last year. But he is very far from a beginner in Labour politics. He has been at various times a council leader, the party's general secretary in Scotland and a senior aide to Gordon Brown.

So, when he says that Jim Murphy should quit as Scottish Labour leader, he commands a degree of attention.

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The SNP's gradual approach begins

The Saltire
The Saltire was flying in Westminster as new MPs gathered to begin work

So where now? Politics never stands still and so progress, momentum and altered perspective there must be.

The election result in Scotland was apocalyptic, revolutionary even. A popular insurrection, throwing off the previously established pattern of Scotland's contribution to UK politics.

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Apocalypse now...what next?

Silhouette of Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Of all the comments on the overnight apocalypse, undoubtedly the most straightforward came from a defeated Scottish Labour MP.

Since there were quite a few of them, let me narrow the focus a little. Come on down, Tom Harris.

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Election 2015 updates and analysis

UPDATE: 04:00 BST

Shock as a Scottish seat fails to go SNP. Alistair Carmichael wins Orkney and Shetland.

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Election 2015: Shouting the odds

John Lydon
John Lydon, (aka Johnny Rotten) belts out a song during a Sex Pistols 1996 performance in Canada

Drove in this morning, listening to "Anarchy in the UK". Splendid stuff - although not my absolute favourite from the Pistols. That rests with "Pretty Vacant". What was that? Take that person's name.

Anyway, back to Anarchy. Are we headed in the current election for a comparable destination, as some of the less temperate speculation would suggest? Or will the famously flexible UK constitution - unwritten and thus unfixed - find a way to cope with whatever the voters decide?

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First Minister's Questions: On the road to indyref two?

  • 30 April 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took part in First Minister's Questions one week ahead of polls opening

Labour's Kezia Dugdale adopted a novel approach in questioning the First Minister. One which dispensed with customary niceties. You know, waiting for the reply before pouncing with the supplementary. That sort of thing.

Adopting a mock-weary tone - actually, given these challenging times, it could have been the real thing. Anyway, adopting a tone, she described the normal run of events in the chamber at Holyrood.

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