‘What we have done is to allow the banks to get away with this scot-free and, in the crisis that was caused, we have made the poor pay for it and we have made them do that through cutting benefits, through austerity, through cutting government spending generally, but also through Quantitative Easing (QE)..’
Soft, hard, Norway plus, no deal or second referendum? However divided the parties and however unstable UK politics becomes, the UK’s politicians cannot put the choice off any longer.’ Kirsty Hughes on Tuesday’s Commons vote
A key aim of the Smith Commission was to improve accountability and make Scotland’s politicians responsible for the money that they spent. Unfortunately rather than helping to deliver this aim, the current proposals for VAT assignment risk undermining that principle.
Inequality in Scotland is on the rise. “It seems likely that more radical changes, such as significant redistribution of income, labour market reforms and major investment in deprived areas, would be needed to bring Scottish inequality close to Nordic levels.”
Scottish Labour needs to learn lessons from its recent ( and wrong-headed/ill-informed) high-profile campaigning on Monklands Hospital. “We must be concerned with evidence, developing new policies, doing things differently and respecting communities and staff on the ground. This campaign ignored all the evidence and demonstrated a poor understanding of the issues and communities involved.”
Taking a break from Brexit Fay Young finds subversive mischief in the poetry of Edinburgh Makars, as performed in Edinburgh’s Poetry Garden (aka St Andrew Square)
In his short story, The Nummer 14 Bus, James Robertson evokes the daily struggle played out on a bus ride through Scotland’s affluent capital. It could be a bus ride in any UK city.
‘The status quo that brought us to Brexit will not get us out of it. While that time has gone, it is clear a new way of talking about the future was sorely needed anyway, even more so two years on. Meanwhile we are presented with an opportunity: in the breaking down of established common sense comes an opportunity to recreate and redefine.’
Confronting hard facts, authors at the inaugural Tobermory Book Festival raise spirits even as they sound alarm bells. Fay Young finds both comfort and warning in the prose and poetry of Scottish writers gathering on Mull.
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‘The continued lack of shared understanding about the status and role of the devolved governments does not bode well for the ongoing efforts to reform the UK’s system of territorial governance in preparation for life outside the EU.’
‘A multi-choice ballot between May’s deal (which could amount to no-deal), or in/out of the customs union and in/out of the single market, would allow voters to make a real and somewhat nuanced choice.’
What does a passport reveal about the holder – or they country they come from? Fay Young finds an unexpected connection between her new Irish passport and the revolutionary Russian poet Vladimir Mayaokovsky
‘Together, these measures could reduce the political and economic significance of the border between Scotland and England, even in the event of an independent Scotland becoming an EU member state while the rest of the UK stayed out. How ironic that DUP intransigence may inadvertently aid the case for Scottish independence!’