What is Scotland’s future ? What lies ahead for Britain after Brexit? How to restore public trust in democracy – and politicians?
As a new case for Scottish independence emerges and #indyref2 looms, other campaigners say it’s time to debate federalism as the best route to true community empowerment.
This Sceptical Scot podcast presents pro-federalist arguments made by Henry McLeish, former first minister of Scotland, and Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, former shadow secretary of state for Scotland.
A debate on federalism, organised by the online magazine Labour Hame, took place before Nicola Sturgeon’s recent announcement promising to restart the debate on independence. Long-awaited findings of the Growth Commission are due to be released this week (Friday 25 May). The commission led by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson was set up in 2016 to make recommendations on monetary policy and an evidence-based case for economic growth in an independent Scotland.
Invitation to debate
So independence is up for debate again. But for the two speakers in our podcast it is just one option – and not necessarily the most exciting one.
To Ian Murray, power is concentrated in the hands of too few people, whether in Holyrood or Westminster. The shambles of Brexit is an opportunity to devolve more power not just to parliaments but also to the communities that lie at the heart of a genuinely accountable democratic process – or should do.
To Henry McLeish the debate needs to focus on better governance – of the economy and society as well as politics. ‘What kind of Scotland, what kind of country, what kind of Britain…that’s not to decry independence but there are many bigger issues and bigger ideas that we should be discussing.’
With thanks to Duncan Hothershall, editor of Labour Hame, for permission to record and publish extracts from the debate Federalism and More.
These are two Labour voices but what they have to say should be of interest to anyone prepared to think open-mindedly and critically about our future as we approach the epochal moment when we leave the EU in March 2019.
As ever, we welcome comments and contributions from all those prepared to engage in genuine debate.