The author hears Sir John Sawers, ex-MI6 chief, tell a Harvard audience how Scottish independence won’t happen even though the UK will be diminished by Brexit – and that includes its voice in Washington.
‘Corbyn’s speech is most important for its opening up a clear policy divide – 20 months after the Brexit vote – between Labour and Tories. That should make for an opposition starting to hold the government more to account. Whether it will result in the torpedoing of May’s Brexit strategy or even in an early election are the big questions that lie ahead.
The long term-aim must be to return to a society where houses are viewed as somewhere to live, not as vehicles for accumulating wealth. This can’t happen overnight, and it won’t be easy. The task involves taking on the unholy alliance of private developers, banks and – most difficult of all – ordinary homeowners, many of whom now view ever rising house prices as normal and just.
‘… the challenge remains for Derek Mackay as to how best to balance his resource budget with major commitments like additional support for the NHS, more money for childcare and public sector pay uplifts all to be paid for.’
Justin Reynolds reflects on four fascinating and exhausting days at The World Transformed, the Momentum-organised festival that took place concurrently with the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
‘…if Scotland is excluded from key European programmes then funding streams will dry up which are crucial to the delivery of Scotland’s policy ambitions’. An ex-adviser on EU to the First Minister examines her Programme for Government.
‘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…
‘..it is time for governments to stop wasting time and money on technologies like CCS that aren’t working. They need to finally get serious about leading a major drive for energy efficiency instead’.
‘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’.