Almost unnoticed in the hubbub of #Holyrood2016 this week saw the 90th anniversary of the General Strike. Here the author reflects on the power of printed news – then! – and on solidarity.
Germany’s welcoming culture for more than a million refugees last year is under siege as Angela Merkel struggles to retain control. The Far Right is capitalising on doubts and anxieties, notably since the New Year sexual assaults on women in Cologne. The author returns to her home country and finds it divided anew but determined to defend its liberal democracy against the extremists.
Scottish policy debate has moved into a new and noisier phase as the parties seek to differentiate themselves on tax. This greater fiscal candour is to be welcomed, even if it rips up the established ground rules of electoral politics. But this ain’t the whole story: control over benefits remains an outstanding issue.
The Scottish Government has dismissed pressure from Labour to offset cuts in spending on local services with a 1p on the Scottish Rate of Income Tax. It rejects pressure from the Treasury to agree a fiscal framework it say will cost Scots billions. No detriment, it says: but at another’s expense?
Inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing the global economy as the 1% get richer and richer. Industry 4.0 may worsen the divide as millions go jobless. Some, like the Scottish Greens, say a universal basic income is an answer. Here a leading German social democrat opts for a public jobs guarantee instead.
The First Minister has announced a welcome extra £54m for providing better access to mental health services In Scotland – including therapy-based treatments that produce longer-lasting results. Mental illness is the biggest single cause of misery in society: it must and will get greater political priority, Layard says in this interview.