Nationalist stagnation in Holyrood means Sturgeon and her followers will have to find another path to partition.

Photo by William Warby on Unsplash

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That’s what perhaps sums up the electoral stalemate between unionists and separatists in the Scottish Parliament after the elections last Thursday. As I watched the reactions unfold across unionist Twitter from my usual hopeful, helpless hole in west London, I’d be lying if I said every hope went undashed. Unionist sage Henry Hill confesses to premature aging as a result of the twists, turns and reels of the results count.

For…


2021 has already seen two narrative assaults on Britain die. How long will Meghan’s last?

Photo by King’s Church International on Unsplash

“No shock lasts more than 48 hours. There’s too much appetite for the next shock.” Harold Wilson reassures the Queen after revealing he has Alzheimer’s. Chronically late to every party, I just watched the final episode of series 3 of The Crown. It features Jason Watkins’ Wilson fondly reminiscing with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth about the unpromising start to their relationship (I won’t spoil it for the uninitiated but starts scarcely come shakier). …


In memory of Patricia Timmons and all those who passed from Covid-19 💛

Christmas, 1939

George finds himself — hardly for the first time — lost for words.

But the stakes are rather higher than they have been in the past. At that awful opening of the Empire exhibition in Glasgow, for instance.

For George — Albert really; a man with no desire and less aptitude for kingship — is tasked with lifting the spirits of a nation — an Empire — as the season of goodwill lies darkened by war, and new, untold evil.

Thankfully, help is at hand…


Review: A Strange Romance and Trivial Dispute, by Ian Dixon Potter (Golden Age Theatre Co.), The White Bear Theatre, Kennington

Neil Summerville plays Trevor

First the good news. Both protagonists of these two extended monologues are not only superbly well-performed, they are written as full, breathing characters with no sense that they are simply vehicles for an idea or agenda.

Thomas Everett’s Peter tells the story of his strange romance with the enigmatically androgynous Blue with an infectious enthusiasm for life, love and sci-fi novels. …


Whither Unity? How the supporters of the UK are dividing into ‘Unionists’ and ‘anti-Nationalists’.

Flagging support?

It is no secret that supporters of the United Kingdom are not renowned for their unity. A central premise of the new Alliance 4 Unity is that the Scottish anti-separation parties have their votes split three ways in every election, while the SNP hoovers up all support from nationalists, plus any voters for whom nationalism is not currently a turn-off. But, as minds focus and battleplans are drawn, it is becoming clear that there is a new, 2-way split in the indysceptic .

The divide is still fundamentally strategic, but is less about electoral vagaries than it is about messaging…


The Mother of all Fightbacks?

Since Hamilton was released on Disney+, a new intake of fans have been treated to its perfectly pitched characterisations of the USA’s Founding Fathers. Among the most beloved is Thomas Jefferson, portrayed as a brash, flash Southerner who nonchalantly bursts into the second half with the rakish number “What’d I Miss?” (hint: the War of Independence). A backing chorus harmonises dreamily: “Thomas Jefferson’s coming ho-o-ome.” Later, when President Washington reveals his shock retirement to Hamilton, the refrain is retrieved; this time: “George Washington’s going ho-o-ome.”

The last week or so, Unionists might have been singing the same about another George…


I am still not quite sure why I am supposed to be more angry about it than the barbaric arson attack on it, but I had to admit that President Trump’s now infamous stunt at the historic St John’s Episcopal Church did leave me uneasy.

The furious responses from the Christian left missed the mark for me. A friend at my church reminded her Facebook friends that the Bible is “a radical call to justice & mercy” and not to be employed as “a prop to support your political ideology”. …


Britain faced two encroachments on two of its historic territories last week. One of those territories is still very much with us, part of our United Kingdom in fact, though often you wouldn’t know it. Northern Irish Unionists faced the betrayal they have feared most since the Brexit result, the prospect of an effective customs border between their part of the UK and the rest.

The other is a part of the Empire on which the sun now sets, yet one we are legally and morally committed to speaking up for. The Sino-British Joint Declaration over Hong Kong outlines that…


It has often been said that institutional change demands patience akin to that required to turn an aircraft carrier. However, it has also been said that — since an aircraft carrier has four engines — it is actually one of the swifter large seacraft to change course, and that the discipline necessary to instigate the cultural change that in turn effects institutional reform is more like that of training a horse.

I am not sure whether the urgent need for a review of the United Kingdom’s foreign policy toward China demands a culture shift or not. After all, as Jung…


In the latter 1920s, a foundational thinker of Western Marxism lay incarcerated in an Italian prison cell. Much as we’re told now by cheery memes not to ‘waste’ lockdown and learn a new language or stage an opera with sockpuppets, Antonio Gramsci used his time inside to reflect on the state of the stalling International Communist movement. Why had the inevitable proletarian revolt and transition to worker’s control not begun among the developed nations of West Europe, as Marx had predicted? Why was it only backward, superstitious Russia that had made the leap? The result was the multitudinous Prison Notebooks

Jason Plessas

Writer & actor. Conservative liberalism. Generous orthodoxy. (For everything else, there’s Blu-Tac.)

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