Hamish Macdonell

Hamish Macdonell

Hamish Macdonell: Last desperate throw of the dice

IT IS unlikely that any decision Alex Salmond has taken as First Minister hurt as much as the expected ditching of his plans to get a bill through this parliament paving the way for a referendum on independence.

Milibands: Brothers in arms

DAVID Miliband was still at Oxford University when he first accepted an invitation to holiday in Argyll. One of the other holidaymakers, Lord Foulkes recalls: "It was 22 years ago. We were in a large house in Skipness for 14 days and it rained for 13 of them. We played a lot of Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly and, I can tell you, David doesn't like to lose."

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The Hidden Agenda: Could what George Osborne is planning threaten the unity of the UK?

THE stuffy Commons air was heavy with anticipation. The gangways, benches and even the main entrance to the members' lobby beyond were all jammed with MPs eager to hear what the Conservative Chancellor would announce in this, the new administration's first Budget.

Hamish Macdonell: Israel's recent acts of aggression outwith its borders could lose it key allies in the West

THE timing was no coincidence. As the scratchy call to prayer stretched out across the sea from the PA system on Turkish passenger ferry the Mavi Marmara, so the Israeli commandos moved in. It had just gone 4am on Monday, and most of those on the lead ship in the aid flotilla sailing sedately through the eastern Mediterranean towards Gaza were on the aft deck, lowering their heads in pre-dawn prayer.

Hamish Macdonell: How the general election battle was won and lost

DAVID Cameron looked straight into the sitting rooms of millions of voters. "If you vote Conservative on Thursday, you can have a new, fresh government, making a clean break and taking our country in a new direction and bringing the change that we need," he said.

Presidential suite

This week the first ever President of Europe will be appointed. But exactly what does the job entail, who is going to get it, and what will it mean for Britain, asks Hamish Macdonell

Hamish Macdonell: Elections turn the SNP into a truly national party

FOR anybody who has even glanced at Scottish politics at any time over the last 50 years, there was one statistic which would have leapt out from the European election results yesterday morning: of Scotland's 32 local authority areas, 22 voted SNP.

Hamish Macdonell: True cost of expenses row may be public service

IT IS 11 November, the clock strikes 11 and the nation falls silent. Dignitaries, civic and military, pause for two minutes all over the country and then step forward to lay commemorative wreaths at war memorials. It is solemn, it is respectful and it is official.

Hamish Macdonell: Out with the old and in with the new politicians

WITH MPs of all parties scrabbling around for help during these desperate times, maybe they should turn to Marx for the answer – but Groucho, not Karl.

Hamish Macdonell: Self-interest of ministers shames the Commons

THE expenses scandal currently consuming the House of Commons is a tale of two bunkers: one is the bunker at The Daily Telegraph offices in London where the devastating material is kept, seen only by a chosen few, and the other is the mentality over at the Palace of Westminster where MPs are cowering, fearful of the barrage to come.

Hamish Macdonell: Meet your new MEPs – whether you vote or not

'WHY don't we hear more about it? Why isn't there any coverage?" he asked. The questioner was at a European hustings event last Friday that kicked off the European election campaign in Scotland. There were 20 or 30 people there to hear three MEPs and one would-be MEP appeal for their votes.

Night when SNP dreams of power came true

BY THE time the polls closed for the crucial 2007 election, on Thursday 3 May, the contest was so tight no-one could predict which way it was going to go.

Hamish Macdonell: Battle lines redrawn as Cameron risks all on defence strategy

IT ALL USED to be so simple. In the 1970s and 1980s, the battle lines between Labour and the Conservatives were clearly marked in blue and red.

Hamish Macdonell: Failure to make cuts would be the real scandal

THERE was definitely something reassuring about the story in one of the weekend tabloids – "vice madam" to "name and shame four high-flying Tories", it claimed. Suddenly it seemed as if everything was right with the world, political scandals were back where they were supposed to be.

Hamish Macdonell: Toy pistols and Action Man dolls are not going to create a generation of gun-obsessives

OUR five-year-old son has a voice that can carry the length of the country's biggest supermarkets. He demonstrated this perfectly the other day when he saw one of the many publicity stands promoting Quantum of Solace on DVD.

Hamish Macdonell: Just what we don't need: yet more bureaucrats

JUST occasionally, politicians come up with ideas that show, without a shadow of a doubt, that they just don't get it. Labour's Scottish front-bench team came up with one recently. We need a "superbug tsar" they cried. The threat of infection in our hospitals is so acute, they said, that we need to put someone in charge.

Hamish Macdonell: SNP's referendum hopes pinned on UK polls

SO THE referendum is dead. Scots will not get the chance to vote on independence in the lifetime of this parliament. That's clear. It must be, after all the three main opposition parties have united in condemning the plans and insist they will not change their minds this side of the 2011 election.

Hamish Macdonell: Public want a hate figure. But you can't blame it all on Sir Fred

LYNCH mobs are never particularly pleasant. They tend to be made up of the gullible and fearful led by smarter people who really should know better.

Hamish Macdonell: SNP aims to snatch election victory from independence defeat

MIKE Russell is the one senior SNP figure that some hard-core, woad-wearing Nationalists love to hate. He is confident, even arrogant, he is a writer, a broadcaster and (whisper it quietly) he is English-born.

Hamish Macdonell: Stepping briskly into a row over taxpayers' cash

EDINBURGH City Council is looking for a walking co-ordinator. The successful candidate will be expected "to increase physical activity levels of whose who live and work in Edinburgh through walking".

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