No need for new alcohol search powers

Police Scotland is seeking to reinstate non-statutory stop and search of children for alcohol despite new laws abolishing it. But new SG evidence, published here for the first time, suggests that under-age drinking offences have fallen dramatically: any new powers would be wholly unwarranted.

Smith and Juncker: Scotland’s EU agenda

Two thirds of Scots, polls tell us, will vote to stay in the EU. Scotland’s stance pre-EUref is more positive but Cameron calls the shots. Yet the new post-Smith powers could enable Holyrood to deal with the most contentious issue – free movement and migration – in a more social way.

Slay the sixth giant: mental illness

The First Minister has announced a welcome extra £54m for providing better access to mental health services In Scotland – including therapy-based treatments that produce longer-lasting results. Mental illness is the biggest single cause of misery in society: it must and will get greater political priority, Layard says in this interview.

SRIT is a progressive tax

The Scottish Rate of Income Tax is often said to be regressive and can only be progressive if the higher bands are raised. But the Financial Secretary’s decision to leave it at 10p flies in the face of evidence, argues a leading economic expert.

A Scottish Beveridge report?

The Scottish Welfare Reform Committee could have produced a modern-day Beverage Report for Scotland. But its recent report instead lacks radical novelty and tinkers around the edges, promising further division and inequality. An opportunity missed big time.

Council tax reform: yes but how?

Could the next Scottish Government buck a historical trend and do something about the council tax? Even if they take on the challenge it will not be a quick fix. Ken Mckay considers the options presented by the latest in a long line of commissions recommending council tax reform.

Tunnock’s teagate: patriotic addiction?

Confectionery-maker Tunnock’s has dropped its Scottish lion to promote itself as a British brand south of the border. It’s provoked a storm of ‘patriotic’ protest. But, argues Loki, isn’t the issue about our culture of self-harm and spurious identity politics.

Sauce for the goose?

The Scottish Government has put the squeeze on spending and staffing levels within some public services. But not others. The agency handling student support, for instance, has had a big boost in staff – unknown to the public and, it seems, MSPs.