Euan McColm

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives ahead of First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Euan McColm: Nicola Sturgeon’s way most likely to fulfil Nationalist ambitions

One has to be of a certain age to remember the days when SNP conferences were fraught affairs, where crises had to be managed and splits papered over. In the time before the Nationalists dominated Scottish politics, the party was deeply split between those who believed in a steady step-by-step approach towards independence and those who favoured a more aggressive, swashbuckling plan.

Politics 19
John Smith and Robin Cook at a Labour Party conference in Blackpool at a time when leader Neil Kinnock was fighting to make the party electable. Picture: PA

Euan McColm: Don’t expect branch office to save Labour again

For much of the 1980s, the Labour Party lost its mind. Unable to understand the appeal of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives, Labour believed that only a shift to the left would win over a sceptical electorate. Right-leaning tabloids caricatured the official opposition as “loony lefties”. This relentless ridicule was not always unjustified. The behaviour of some Labour councillors – in Liverpool, for example, where militants used taxis to deliver redundancy notices – was frequently appalling.

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