Blimey: can Scotland meet its widening access targets?

New data from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) suggests the scale of change needed to meet the Scottish Government’s targets for widening access to university – a key pledge of Nicola Sturgeon’s first full term – may be too much. The 2021 targets Government’s targets come from last year’s report by the Commission on Widening Access, […]

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?”

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.”

SG holistic education policy: success or failure?

“In terms of the effect of attainment strategies on future university entry, we can say that the SG expects substantial results from schools in 10 years and from its expanded childcare provision (to vulnerable 2 year olds) in 15 years. As described, this does not seem like a holistic or joined-up policy anymore, because it involves a gap, between the effect of one policy on another, so large that it seems unreasonable to link the two together.”

Stop decommissioning, invest in renewables

“The renewables investment would generate substantially more sustainable jobs in areas like design, construction and operations and maintenance over the typical 25-year lifespan of a facility.” Why taxpayer-funded North Sea decommissioning is a bad idea.

No evidence for good policy-making by soundbite

‘Instead of policy issues we were presented with one of two questions. Either “the minister wants to do this, can you provide evidence to show it is a good thing?” Or “the minister wants to do this, can you help us kill it off?”’ The DHI director on the rush from evidence into the dark world opf politics….

Police Scotland and failing parliamentary oversight

‘Police Scotland’s problems are by no means wholly reducible to parliamentary process. Still, it seems fair to suggest that the manner in which the Bill proceeded through the Scottish Parliament has not helped matters.’ Taking PLOs (ministerial aides) off committees does not alter the lack of proper scrutiny/partisan politics rather than acting in the public interest.