Baby boxes, universalism and higher taxes

“If it is baby boxes for all as a sign of our equality, let it be free fuel for all, free transport for all, citizen’s income for all, free school meals, shoes and coats for all. If the aim is the best start in life for all of Jock Tamson’s bairns, then why not? What would stop us?”

Where does Scottish writing go from here?

“Nasty Women will showcase a wide array of female voices, many of them new writers, focusing on intolerance and inequality to cover everything from Trump’s America to pregnancy. Like Freight, the arrival of 404 Ink is a sign that when we talk about cutting-edge Scottish publishing, the small publishers are increasingly defining the scene.”

2017 and the idea of utopia

Billed as a year of imagination and possibility to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, 2016 didn’t quite work out that way. 2017, the centenary of the Russian Revolution, offers another opportunity to consider the meaning and value of the idea of utopia.

A dad’s first baby diary: the annunciation

“I grew up in an environment where parental figures were under a lot of pressure and stress. In fact, many difficulties of childhood came as a direct result of our collective inability to express and manage emotions.” In the first extract from an occasional diary, Loki reflects on becoming a new parent – and on his own boyhood.

Sturgeon’s confederal Brexit solution

“Maybe, like Theresa May, she’s (Nicola Sturgeon) gradually realising that what party zealots want and the country needs are not the same. So perhaps her opponents should not be mocking her political incoherence, but encouraging her to edge closer towards a solution the majority of Scots might sign up for.”

UBI – new idea, kauld kale

“A full-blown universal income would be even more expensive, involving rises of 10%, taking the basic rate of income tax to 30% and the higher and top rates to 50%. Politically those increases are unthinkable. They would take us back to the 1970s. Since then the direction of income taxes has been relentlessly downwards…”

Coming of age: 2017 as year of resistance

“If 2016 was the year in which millennials realised that they had to confront the true reality of their meagre inheritance, 2017 must be a year in which resistance to authoritarian nationalism takes definite form. The awful questions that the past twelve months have posed can only be answered if we first understand this moment as a generational coming of age.”

Hard to read the Scottish Budget

“Commentators (myself included) can be pretty critical of the opposition parties at Holyrood for not being more effective. But if the budget document – one of the single most important things the government puts before the Parliament – contains these sort of inconsistencies, they really are up against it.”