Auditors in England are under the cosh while the Scottish public audit model wins plaudits. But no room for complacency argues the Auditor General for Scotland
In his short story, The Nummer 14 Bus, James Robertson evokes the daily struggle played out on a bus ride through Scotland’s affluent capital. It could be a bus ride in any UK city.
‘In short, ‘ending austerity’ is possible with significant but not unrealistic spending increases. What makes a promise to end austerity politically difficult is that it cannot be achieved without tax rises if the government is to keep to its fiscal rules and commitments.’
‘Modern Scotland, both before and after devolution, emerges as a country that is more committed to bureaucracy than democracy’.
‘The UK Government needs to take more ownership for the perceived troubles of the Scottish deficit because it is clearly responsible for many of the revenue and spending decisions that have got us to where we are…’
‘It is important to remember that GERS takes the current constitutional settlement as given. If the very purpose of independence is to take different choices about the type of economy and society that we live in, then a set of accounts based upon the current constitutional settlement and policy priorities will tell us little about the long-term finances of an independent Scotland.’
‘The problems now inherent in Scottish education, both falling standards and the attainment gap, are cultural not just structural. Significant progress can only be made with real attempts to alleviate poverty and a genuine alliance of people and organisations across Scotland committed to significant change’.
‘This week’s court (Supreme Court) case may prove not to be the end — or even the beginning of the end — of the constitutional crisis. Perhaps we will find that it was merely the end of the beginning.’
‘Certainly, the tawdry displays of English chauvinism, the ugly racist sentiments behind it, the Dad’s Army nostalgia for empire, quite apart from the liars and cheats that delivered Leave, are reason enough to stay in (and reform) Europe – and quit the rotting ship of the British unitary state before it’s too late.’
‘One thing is clear – the days of a neat division of powers between UK, Scottish and local government are gone. Brexit will paradoxically make these multilevel dynamics very much like those of the regionalised states in the EU27,’ the bead of COSLA office in Brussels writes.