Patrick Hannan — A Useful Fiction

Have you noticed that there is a lot of introspection about devolution just now? I suppose it underlines the fact that devolution is a process rather than a settlement that everyone is still looking at how to tweak it. Maybe it is just the newness of it. The Scottish Parliament is very young as these […]

Aftermath of the European Parliamentary election

The Europe-wide picture The consensus seems to be that, Europe-wide, it was a good election for the centre-right. It certainly seems as though the governing centre-left parties have taken a bit of a battering, while voters seem content with centre-right governments. Those of a socialist persuasion may well feel disgruntled. In the midst of an […]

Gaps in the Mercat

Yesterday, for the first time in a while, I took a trip into Kirkcaldy’s main shopping centre, the Mercat. I’m very familiar with the first set of shops that meet you from the entrance. I passed them all many, many times on my way to work at the late, great Woolworths. This opening corridor is […]

The Scottish press in freefall?

It’s no secret that the Scottish media is going through a particularly tough time at the moment. In a sense, the past decade or so can probably be described as one long tough time. Job cuts have been piled upon job cuts. With sales plummeting, advertising revenues shrinking and the uncertain world of new media, […]

Woolworths: Final thoughts and wrapping up

First of all, apologies to anyone who became sick of Woolworths when I published eight posts in a row about it. As you will have seen, “normal” service is on its way to resumption. Anyway, it was good to get it all off my chest, and is at least cheaper than seeing a therapist. When […]

The blunder of Woolworths

By the time I started working for Woolworths, the company was pushing its in-store ordering system big time. In Summer 2006 The Big Red Book was launched to encourage customers to make use of the ordering facility. As sales assistants, we were always encouraged to offer to order any items that weren’t in stock. Unfortunately, […]

It wasn’t just the credit crunch

One question that many of my friends have asked me over the past couple of months is, did I see it coming? For many, it was a shock that an institution like Woolworths could even be in mild difficulty, never mind on the brink of going out of business. But the honest answer to their […]

Could Labour actually win in Glenrothes?

Given that the news and most of everyone’s thoughts on current affairs are currently dominated by the problems in the global financial system, it is easy to let relatively minor things like a by-election slip your mind. But when I turned my thoughts to the upcoming Glenrothes by-election and politics in general a few days […]

My view on Scotland’s constitutional future

If you haven’t read my previous post explaining what I’m trying to do here, feel free to take a look. In this post I will set out the thinking behind my views on Scottish independence. For what it’s worth, I think within a couple of decades the idea of the independent nation state will almost […]

The 6 O’Clock News: “War? Not bothered”

So what was the top news story on Friday? Of course it was the Olympic opening ceremony. Doh! Silly me! But what else was in the news that day? An output editor on the 6 O’Clock News BBC News at Six, Katy Searle, had a tough job picking a story. So what else? The housing […]