Humza Yousaf’s first programme for Government kicks several big fiscal and other policy issues into the long grass.So, do we have to wait till the Scottsh Budget likely on December 14?
Scottish rights of access are based on a small number of exceptions which tell people where they cannot go, such as private gardens or crop fields, rather than the English and Welsh model which allows access on specified types of land only. This simplifies access rights and removes the need for complex signage and maps full of dead ends and no-go areas.
“There is no legal or moral ground for allowing a few multinational corporations to profit from the vast array of minerals under the sea. European countries must give this issue much higher priority.”
“The cap needs a complete overhaul and Britain ultimately needs to reset how initial consumer prices are determined, so that energy prices better reflect the falling cost of renewable energy. We’ve gone as far as we can with tweaking – something more radical and fully thought out is required to ensure affordable and clean energy for all.”
“a revaluation is necessary. Indeed, it should be a prerequisite…To continue without revaluation is deeply unfair and to take forward reforms without a revaluation just rubs salt into the wounds.”
Orkney’s leaders recently raised the prospect of secession from Scotland, prompting Prof James Mitchell to look back over half a century of constitutional musing and political leverage.
“Labour took up the anti-centralising rhetoric originally coined by Unionists and turned it against the Thatcher government in the 1980s, portraying its neoliberal policies as an illegitimate affront to Scottish national traditions. At the same time, Labour in Scotland emphasised the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine whether they wanted to be governed by a devolved parliament within the UK. A rhetoric that had initially been coined to glue together an anti-Labour electoral coalition had now become a staple of the Scottish left.” No more?
“For the last few years, the British state has at least been able to pretend that a Labour government might come over the horizon, and solve some of the problems created by the Tories and their austerity. If and when that cavalry does arrive, it will likely come in the flaccid form of Keir Starmer, triangulating towards a far-right Tory opposition. A Sinn Féin-run Ireland may not have to work too hard to convince voters that they are better off under its wings.”
The SNP leadership’s power-hoarding, lack of accountability and secrecy does not augur well for the kind of independent state they wanted to achieve. The SNP has become a very British party.
James Mitchell’s survey of Scotland and its centres of power ends with reflections on the glaring need for reforming Holyrood after two decades of devolution. “The Scottish Parliament is not a delicate flower that needs protection but a robust institution that required robust critiques, especially from those who support it.”