The UK has voted to leave the UK, a decision unlikely to be reversed any time soon. Nicola Sturgeon, however, wants to keep Scotland in that union at least; her position is clear but her journey to the goal less so. Even so, Scotland can, in the absence of leadership at Westminster, lead the post-Brexit debate.
“Threatening a second constitutional crisis would not help us resolve the one we already have,” the author argues, pointing out that the EU referendum has solved little or nothing – and a second referendum on Scottish independence would solve even less.
“There are big problems facing the new Scottish Government and some of them will come to a head very quickly.” Farm payments, education, the economy, jobs, tax – our economics guru examines them all.
The SNP has one revolutionary aim: the overthrow of the UK constitution. Yet its manifesto is a model of moderation. Why? Tempered by the compromises of government – or cautious process to win over the No voters of 2014?
On the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland politicians need to use its political imagery at their peril. Its lessons for nationalism as for fein ism are not unambiguous.
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.
People in financial trouble are still borrowing money at 1500% interest rates and more but it will take more than chiding the payday lenders to solve a growing social ill. Public bodies and private finance houses need to work together here in Scotland to beat the sharks.
John Swinney, finance secretary, is about to borrow money to help finance new construction projects and stimulate growth and jobs just when the economy is turning down. It’s a sign of things to come as Holyrood gains more control over tax-and-spend.
The oil price shows no sign of recovery any time soon; thousands of jobs are being lost; the big producers have left the North Sea and the smaller ones are following suit. Scotland needs to start real planning for the post-oil – and post-carbon – economy.
John Swinney’s Budget has set the SRIT for the first time but the real fiscal dilemmas and decisions for him – or his successor – lie ahead. And so do the political consequences.