The long term-aim must be to return to a society where houses are viewed as somewhere to live, not as vehicles for accumulating wealth. This can’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy. The task involves taking on the unholy alliance of private developers, banks and – most difficult of all – ordinary homeowners, many of whom now view ever rising house prices as normal and just.
‘The Westminster system is, for now, failing. So what the EU faces is not just a huge challenge in getting to a Brexit deal with the UK. The EU also has to face the fact that one of its most important neighbours (as the UK is becoming) – its former partner, one of the largest European economies, one of the stronger foreign policy players, and an important democracy – is politically adrift.’
The language of Scottish education needs to become less boastful and sentimental, and more honest. Professor Walter Humes calls for a national policy debate with people prepared to ask tough questions and challenge orthodoxies of an under-achieving education system.
‘On balance, the SFC’s GDP forecasts are not out of kilter with the recent past. And the SFC assumes that there will be no ‘bounce-back’ in Scottish growth to recapture weak growth relative to the UK over the past 2.5 years’.
‘To argue for the UK to stay in the EU’s single market and customs union is to argue to stay as close to the status quo as possible while giving up vote, voice and a seat at the table. Faced with a more damaging type of Brexit, it sounds sensible – until you look at the democratic cost. Compared to being an EU member state it is surely absurd’.
‘School holds a fascination long after we leave it because it is so often the last time many people feel themselves emerging as individuals. By adulthood, the terms of who we are and what we decide to do are expected to be firmly set….And so when, in Edinburgh, we are asked: ‘what school did you go to?’ the question perhaps belies a deeper subtext: ‘who were you, before you made the choice?’
‘They see physical fitness in a kind of racialized lens, as a way to cleanse the body and maintain this Aryan purity, but more practically: to actually be prepared for the race war, or skirmishes that come up prior to the major battle.’ Bryan Schatz of Mother Jones traces the rise of fighting fascists from Russia to California.
‘All I knew was that I was getting at least as much of an education from Bob as I was from the University. Bob was only four years older but he was a postgraduate student in philosophy, formidably well read, and in touch with the larger political world of which I was only distantly aware’ – a memoir of our late editorial board member
‘How often are citizens actively included in the decision-making? For Haringey, read those parts of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and every other vibrant city that attracts the developers’ eye’. Fay Young on the key urban question: how can people reclaim the city landscape?
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‘But whatever measure or comparison used, it is clear that the challenge to boost Scotland’s long-term rate of productivity shows no sign of disappearing. Back in 2007, the Scottish Government set a target to “rank in the top quartile for productivity amongst our key trading partners in the OECD by 2017”. It is clear that this target will be missed’.
The fact that Gormley had direct oversight of undercover policing at the Met before he became Scotland’s chief constable just adds another curious twist to the ongoing Police Scotland saga. Now his resignation puts to rest one long-running element of what many consider a damning indictment of Scotland’s centralised police force. But lack of institutional reform and the blurring of accountability means further problems will surely not be far away.
‘Whilst there is clearly a negotiating advantage in the government holding back some monies as part of their tactics to get the Budget Bill through, one can see MSPs from now on assuming that £100 million is a useful ballpark for the amount the government may have ready to hand to push through a deal’.
The power of words was the theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day. Gordon Munro reports on how Jewish poets/authors and others wrote about and recorded the (hidden) atrocities occurring in 1942 onwards and asks today’s governments to match fine words with the right deeds to prevent any repetition.