Hogmanay hype on drunk women

“Articles and images of drunk young women may reinforce gender stereotypes which should be challenged – the double standards that allow women to be more harshly judged for drunken behaviour than men, for example; and sexual assault victims being seen as “asking for it” if they were drunk at the time.”

A new-style Scottish foreign policy

“There would be six EU members with a population less than Scotland. Size is only one factor in foreign policy. Ideas, principles, commitment, talent and domestic support are more important. Scotland does not lack in any of the above.” Top foireign policy wonk on the post-#indyref2 prospects

Politically savvy and nigh impossible

“For Scotland to meet the obligations of EEA-EFTA membership, almost all areas of policy would have to be devolved – immigration, business regulations, employment law, competition policy, product standards to name just a few. This would not be a revision of the devolution settlement; it would be accomplishment of de facto independence via a murky and technical back door.”

Devo max, #indyref2 or holding op?

“Sturgeon’s paper is a serious in-depth piece of analysis. It respects the original Scottish Parliament vote by 92-0…The Scottish Government has followed up and respected that vote – but the politics has moved on. A differentiated deal for Scotland looks highly unlikely. And while the ball is now in May’s court – it is likely to be back in Sturgeon’s very soon.

Sturgeon’s fantasy plan for Brexit

“The ruling Scottish politicians could play a major role in ensuring Brexit is as least damaging as possible and even be delayed or attenuated. But this surreal Sturgeon proposal which will have zero impact in Brussels or any European capital shows that the SNP has yet to learn how to speak and act European.”

A fitting place for Joan Eardley

“Joan Eardley is finally assuming the status she so richly deserves(d): a great Scottish artists who belongs to the world.” She came to Scotland at 19, died tragically young at 42 in 1963 and, half a century later, is rated among the modern greats.

MacKay’s first budget: a cowran, tim’rous beastie

The new economic initiatives are all welcome, but are unlikely to make much impression on Scotland’s low productivity and lack of investment. Yet the weak economy remains the Scottish Government’s biggest problem. Growth lags that of the rest of the UK and…under the Smith Commission changes, lower growth means lower public spending. Home grown austerity may not be far off.

Talking Turkeys: five poems for Christmas 2016

Turkeys, one black one white, with tails fanned out

At the ragged end of a sorry year Fay Young goes in search of poems for Christmas and finds five offering humour, humanity and even a hint of hope that the world is not definitively going to hell on a handcart: praise to “a writer’s ability to touch people’s hearts with a phrase that doesn’t stop wars but makes people smile.”

SG holistic education policy: success or failure?

“In terms of the effect of attainment strategies on future university entry, we can say that the SG expects substantial results from schools in 10 years and from its expanded childcare provision (to vulnerable 2 year olds) in 15 years. As described, this does not seem like a holistic or joined-up policy anymore, because it involves a gap, between the effect of one policy on another, so large that it seems unreasonable to link the two together.”