The real news show

The future of broadcasting in an independent Scotland was a major topic in the run-up to last year’s referendum. The subject has since disappeared from view. But it remains true that the current situation, particularly regarding the BBC’s news broadcasts, is far from satisfactory even in a devolved Scotland – and with Holyrood gaining further powers soon, the mismatch between the political reality and the way it is covered on television will only get worse.

Thoughts for life

Sexual desire, the search for happiness, dealing with death and living as a member of a minority are just some of the topics Muslim theologian Mona Siddiqui discusses in her new book – part handbook to life, part autobiography: My Way, which she will discuss at Glasgow’s Aye Write festival this April.

Trident: an expensive and useless status symbol

It is extraordinary that, even at a time of intense pressure on Britain’s defence budget, questioning the biggest, most expensive, unique, controversial weapons system – one whose rationale depends on it never being used – carries the risk of being treated like the characters in an old Bateman cartoon – mocked or embarrassed for offending traditional manners.

Restoring trust in bankers? Start by breaking up RBS

Shortly after my book on the collapse of HBOS came out I was speaking to a meeting of savings and post bank executives from Europe and further afield. These are institutions which have largely disappeared from the UK (the Airdrie Savings Bank being a rare surviving example), but abroad they thrive, servicing local businesses and individuals and providing safe places to deposit your money.

No fees? No pain?

For many people, it is obvious that Scotland must have a fair system for funding students. Since the abolition of the graduate endowment in 2007, the government has pressed home that we should be proud to have a system based on “ability to learn, not ability to pay.” The alternative story is not so strong on rhetoric: it is more about attention to numbers.

Escaping the shadow of euroscepticism

The referendum campaign devoted much attention to how and whether an independent Scotland would negotiate to stay in, re-join, or even leave, the European Union. But the bigger question by far is what sort of member state an independent Scotland would be? And could it escape the tarnished eurosceptic reputation that the UK has created for itself?

Stress fractures in the Nordic model

When the Social Democrat leaders in the Nordic region gathered last November just outside Oslo, the mood might have been expected to be upbeat. Stefan Löfven had just become Swedish prime minister, ending eight years of centre-right rule that had attacked some of the main tenets of Nordic social democracy.