Ahead of the Westminster election on 12 December, James Mitchell explains how party competition in Scotland is shaped by interrelated questions of policy, competence, independence and Brexit…’
‘Together, these measures could reduce the political and economic significance of the border between Scotland and England, even in the event of an independent Scotland becoming an EU member state while the rest of the UK stayed out. How ironic that DUP intransigence may inadvertently aid the case for Scottish independence!’
Gaps between rhetoric and delivery reveal urgent need for joined up thinking in Scotland’s plans for tackling climate change: ‘Scotland must cut emissions to zero by 2050. Increase the 2030 target to 77% and, crucially, commit to actions on integrated policies to make that happen.’
‘If you believe that every power currently held by the EU should be devolved completely and immediately upon Brexit then, yes, you can describe the UK government as grabbing those powers. But, you’d then have to explain why you were previously happy for the EU to hold those powers.’
A strong stance from the SNP on a people’s vote does not yet look likely. If Labour found its nerve on this, the SNP, it seems, would follow not lead. The big challenge on Brexit for the Scottish government is whether it can find its nerve on Brexit, as its MPs at Westminster have done, and lead not follow.
‘The SNP leadership is performing a delicate balancing act, and finding it increasingly difficult to keep anyone happy. Whether Sturgeon can find a way back onto the front foot is going to be the ultimate test of her leadership in the coming months.’
‘There is both and economic and a social case for expanded health care. As the Commission notes, inequalities of wealth and income are massive. Independent or not, Scotland will have to have a serious debate about taxation.’
“Pro-independence commentators on the Left are angry that (the recent Sustainable Growth Commission report) appears to reduce an “independent” Scotland to a “vassal state” (h/t JRM) of the Bank of England, Westminster/Whitehall and Brussels.” Some comments from the right as well as the left on the Big Debate…
The SNP hopes its Sustainable Growth Commission report will restart the national debate on independence? Richard Murphy describes it as disastrous, the Fraser of Allander Institute sees much for all parties to discuss (with or without independence in mind). Ray Perman thinks it will be forgotten fairly quickly.
Westminster and the three devolved governments should conclude a new constitutional settlement for pooling sovereignty within the UK, with fresh powers and competences given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to control their people’s destinies. Otherwise, it will only undermine the current devolution settlement and assume even greater central powers in the name of national (UK) sovereignty’.