The Programme for Government is full of detailed initiatives to support and encourage everything from manufacturing in the West Highlands to tourism in Ayrshire. Mostly it is a description of what is already being done, but where’s the evidence for what works, asks a former government adviser.
The UK Government has published plans to maintain a border-free zone with Ireland once it has left the EU. Analysing the long-awaited paper, Professor Christina Boswell, finds it knocks out one of the main arguments for refusing Scotland more autonomy over its immigration policy
‘Of course, it is possible to close this (budget) gap by explicitly reducing certain expenditures or by assuming higher tax revenues – either through increased rates or faster growth. Others will argue though, that in the context of independence, there may be additional costs. The debates will no doubt continue.’ And indeed they do…
‘…he seems to believe that GERS are unrealiable simply because the results sound ‘improbable’ to him and ‘the last thing they should do is trust that from London’. With a belief in his own infallible ‘intuition’, he then goes looking for reasons to confirm it’.
‘Changing the constitutional set-up doesn’t alter the fact that these fiscal challenges need to be addressed by all governments in all countries. Today’s figures show that a more autonomous Scotland will be forced to meet such challenges sooner rather than later.
‘ Today, the Conservative Party is emphatically more nationalist than the SNP but some of its leading members still criticize the nationalist mote in the SNP seemingly oblivious to the beam in its own ideology’.
‘At the end of the day, the UK Government and Parliament (subject, of course, to the constraints of parliamentary arithmetic) can legally have their way on what happens to repatriated power, even if any “will of the people” justification for doing so would be specious. But…’
‘For many on the independence side this is all a bit of a let down, but instead it should be seen as a challenge and window. Scotland’s journey to greater self-government isn’t all about the SNP. Nor is it about keeping quiet and burying any reservations until Independence Day.’
‘It’s now also clear that standing up to the political impulse to go national, fast, would have enabled the costs to be pinned down better before the long-term commitment was made…
‘I am the warning, I am the guinea pig. What’s happening to me now, might happen to you, unless you fight and oppose.’ Polish writer Kasia Kokowska describes a European life still in limbo while surrounding compassion is running out.