Taxing cocktail of political risks for SG

Something will have to give if Nicola Sturgeon is to finance her admirable policy wish-list for the next five years. After the UK Budget we can only see a shortfall that will have to be made good by – what? The SG’s tax-and-spend options are unclear.

‘That bloody poster’: exploring Austerity Nostalgia

It’s now some seven years since the notorious ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ sign appeared. Owen Hatherley’s The Ministry of Nostalgia is a witty, exasperated and ferociously well-read exploration of the ‘Austerity Nostalgia’ phenomenon and its politicisation, with parties of both left and right drawing upon competing mythologies of wartime Britain to support their respective positions towards today’s austerity.

Crafting, feasting, fighting: the Celts

The National Museum of Scotland opens its monumental exhibition on the art and identity of the Celts this week. Lots of wonderful, almost unimaginable artifices. But who were the Celts? They didn’t leave any written record and we are none the wiser in truth.

Putting council tax reform to bed

The SNP still calls its proposed Council Tax ‘reforms’ radical. But one of Scotland’s leading experts on local government finance disagrees profoundly. This is really about ruffling as few feathers as possible.

Overdue homecoming for RLS

Robert Louis Stevenson has been all too easily dismissed as a story writer for boys. Slowly, he has regained his reputation as what Borges called a “literary joy”. We can better judge for ourselves when a collection of his books and letters opens this month.

Delaying the fiscal crunch

The Scottish Government emerged from the tortuous talks with the Treasury on the fiscal framework with a relatively generous settlement. But it is one that kicks the can down the road towards renewed acrimony in five years time, argues this leading economist.