‘The decision to integrate BTP in Scotland may be political; however, the merger is a matter of public safety and public money, and the Government has a duty to demonstrate that it is not taking undue risks with either’. Foremost expert backs calls for merger to be put on hold.
Jeremy Corbyn’s recent tour of Scotland highlights an alarming ignorance of the United Kingdom’s constitutional makeup, and one that can only discredit the true value of any so-called ‘federal’ arrangement the Labour party may so wish to conjure. The biggest gaffe of Corbyn’s five-day stint, much reported by the press (and most glaringly omitted by […]
“Policing 2026 is not an officer reduction exercise, nor is at a ‘time-bomb’. Clearly Scottish policing is facing an eye-watering deficit: around £200 million by 2020/21 at the latest estimate. Still, putting it dryly, there are probably less painful ways to cut costs than devising and negotiating a ten-year national policing strategy.” A welcome shift to forward-looking, evidence-based policing strategy.
“The Scottish Government, as is their right, have simply decided that they would rather spend the increased funding elsewhere. They have, it seems, other priorities.” The agreed Scottish Budget provisions for local government are unpicked.
“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…”
“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.”
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.
“Here’s to the kindling of generous can-do creativity in every town and city. It looks fun but it’s deadly serious too. In the turmoil of Brexit (along with wider global uncertainties), the healthy prosperity of city life is essential to the economy and social cohesion of nations.”
Nicola Sturgeon, we know, has chosen her experienced deputy John Swinney to spearhead improvements to the Scottish education system over the next five years. But, argues an independent school head, writing in a personal capacity, there’s more to fix than the (narrowing) attainment gap.
The news is of newspapers falling off that ‘print cliff wall’ – certainly in Scotland. But ‘real’ journalism – perceptive and objective as well as investigative – is required as never before to subject politics and the state to proper scrutiny.