‘Poetry readings were performed here for Refugee Week. Poetry postcards offered to passers by on National Poetry Day. Poetry twirled on willow stakes in the garden. Poetry projected on to the plinth of the Melville Monument and hung on buildings under construction around the square’. But no more…?
‘Required reading for all those engaged in the fight against poverty’, Gordon Munro reviews Darren McGarvey’s book, Poverty Safari.
‘In Scotland, we perhaps put too much emphasis on formal, externally assessed exams – and is it really necessary for students to take them every year for the whole three years of the senior phase?’
Wonk of the year Lucy: ‘The signs are that the wrong people are being made to pay for current higher education policy in Scotland, in skewed debt or lost support, restricted opportunities and squeezed funding overall. As far as I can recall, no-one in Scottish university senior management has ever argued with me about this in public, nor got in touch to tell me privately that they disagree’.
‘The purpose of such devolution would be to ensure that Scotland’s particular demographic challenges, which differ significantly from those elsewhere in the UK, can be met by the public authorities responsible for implementing immigration policy.’
‘We need to recognise the bawdy sense of mischief that was common currency in the tradition before it was swept aside by the religious revival in the 19th century. In contrast to the shortbread tin image of Highland culture, this sheds vital light on the past and the present – as Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair would have it, breasts, pricks, warts and all’.
‘Rights without any means of enforcement are truly useless. As part of the UK, Scotland is bound by the UN’s Aarhus Convention which requires that people must be able to challenge situations where their environmental rights are denied or environmental laws are broken. Article 9(4) says that these challenges must be “not prohibitively expensive”. But access to environmental justice is prohibitively expensive in Scotland’.
‘The Index goes beyond a simple measure of GDP growth in trying to determine relative changes in well-being across similarly developed countries. Indeed, given the tenuous link between government policy and short term economic growth, the Index is better suited to identifying areas which government can influence in order to improve the economic fundamentals’.
‘In the past twenty years, festivals are returning as we realise their place and value in society. It should be unsurprising that many of these ‘newly hallowed’ traditions should resemble Halloween in some way or other: the selection of a hallowed day or event, the putting on of costume, the establishment of rites and rituals. Even non-festive occasions, like protest, are increasingly moments for Halloween-esque performance and participation: a symptom of the appetite for a public sphere conducive to sociability like the one that, at some point, conjured the modern Halloween’.
No deal. That’s not just the spin from Theresa May’s cabinet, it’s the bleakly realistic view of Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre.