Germany’s Social Democrats are emerging as the surprising potential winners in the general election of September 26 under Olaf Scholz. Is the EU’s most important member about to opt for seismic change?
‘The message for and from Scotland is that the trends in society and the economy favour outward-looking, social democratic, culturally progressive, green (in the widest sense) political movements and this was reaffirmed by last week’s results in Holyrood. Now, more than ever, is the time for these Scottish political forces to reach out to their fellows across the EU and Europe as a whole.’
Going beyond recovery from the pandemic. In reviewing a recent book on Scotland post-Covid-19, we urge an ambitious, granular debate on the ways to transform our country and make it greener, fairer and more democratic for all.
‘…richer nations such as Scotland need to live up to their oft-repeated, much-vaunted proclamations in favour of global solidarity. So far, we’re not even talking about it in the pandemic.’
Now that Johnson has reverted to talking of No Deal/WTO terms, is it time for Scotland to strike out on its own in relations with the EU (and the wider world)?
‘Germany, even if one goes as far back as Bismarck and 1871, is a relatively young country and, in its latest iteration, highly attractive to a lot of Europe’s youth. It does offer, then, a model for any nascent Scottish republic: open, tolerant, European, nationalist in a civic, secular sense. But, as its friends, including Kampfner, acknowledge, it faces significant challenges now and in future.’
As Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP see increasingly solid pro-independence majorities in successive polls, their case for an independent Scotland has gone missing: a book review.
John Lloyd book review: ‘What marks the book out is Lloyd’s personal transition to virtually self-hating Scot. This is not just the regular Unionist assertion that Scotland is too wee, too weak, to cut it as an independent country but a visceral assault on “Scotland’s self-serving, self-pitying, self-obsessed keening about others, mainly the English, stealing their birthright and smashing their culture” and/or continuous “moral superiority.”‘
Reading poetry in the pandemic is waxing, as people turn to verse for solace amidst their grief or for expressions of their own anger at needless suffering and death. We are not supposed to call the struggle to contain, suppress and/or beat the coronavirus a war yet it is to war poets people often reach […]
‘His life-story has contemporary resonances, with the resurgence of the far right and what the French call fascisant mentality along with nativist protectionism in response to both pandemic and economic collapse. From his school days, Cairncross was a firm believer in (Scottish) Enlightenment values; he remained an exemplar of Davie’s Democratic Intellect.’