“If the polls have been consistent on anything, it is that the next Parliament will consist of an overall majority supporting a referendum. The absence of clear, agreed rules on what constitutes a mandate for a referendum means that the battle of the mandates will prove at least as contentious as the election itself.”
“Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, but there is unlikely to be a better time to begin to dismantle some of the barriers which have impeded genuine growth. Scottish education needs to escape from the ‘iron cage’ of its own bureaucracy. This will require vision, honesty and courage, qualities that, sadly, have not been in plentiful supply among political leaders (of all parties) in recent years.”
‘It is perhaps under-recognised by many in the independence camp just how much support there was for the Union in 1707 among middle-class Scots. That support was based on a hunger for opportunity. But Brexit has reversed that – it means a big reduction in the degree of opportunity that Union with the rest of the UK once offered.’
“The manifestos have fallen short on the level of financial detail behind their plans.” And so has the debate. Parties need to be more transparent about their fiscal options…
This tiny village (Diabaig), nestled at the foot of the Torridon mountains in Wester Ross, makes an interesting case study for the second homes issue that concerns many voters in the Highlands in the run-up to May 6. Should we regulate 2nd homes ownership?
“The quality of our democracy depends on the quality of the political debate within the public sphere. New campaigning techniques represent a real threat to both the debate and our democracy and something needs to be done urgently to address this problem.”
‘Rather, the government has a responsibility to step back and let the voice of the population be heard on this matter, and should be genuinely willing to listen to public opinion.’
“Growth is slowing. Inequalities are rising. With Covid adding its own malign legacy to the challenges ahead, we need to sweep away a lot of that accumulated institutional clutter. And we need politicians prepared to face much more forensic scrutiny of what they are actually delivering. I fear that is not what’s on the ballot paper next month.”
“And even though, with Scotland as an independent country, your policy options would be much greater, you have to be constantly aware of the trade-offs involved and the limitations on your power to influence the choices made by workers and by companies. You can at least take comfort from the fact that less prosperous nations with less well-developed institutions than Scotland manage these issues without the roof falling in.”
In a special guest blog, Sir Tom Hunter, whose eponymous Foundation commissioned the recent Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate report from Oxford Economics, underlines how Scotland’s economy lags behind and needs radical change to catch up and rediscover its innovative dynamism.