Arts and culture are at a turning point, says Morvern Cunningham, facing the risk of returning to a kind of normal that we saw pre-pandemic. Only this time, the normal we are heading back to is likely to be worse than before.
As the post-Covid reckoning approaches, who is going to ‘own’ the rebuilding of services, community capacity and employment to which both UK and Scottish governments are formally committed?
Since its inception, the Scottish Parliament has not been renowned for its reforming zeal. But the pandemic has thrown up a range of challenges that must be addressed if a ‘working’ system is to re-emerge in hospitals, schools and the courts. It is surely right then that the electorate has some idea of the competing views of each of the political parties as to how they intend to respond to the pandemic’s effects.
“..further Covid-related allocations are designed to support the economy during ongoing restrictions – and these provide the Scottish Government with further resources during 2021/22. In years beyond that, this was a budget that aims to rebuild the economy by leveraging investment, whilst raising more from tax and tightening the screw on public services spending. But there is no role in the future economic vision for welfare policy or public services spending.”
“Scotland should also develop its own niche areas of expertise, starting with the gamut of environmental issues related to climate change. Indeed, the aim for the coming years should be: ‘Scotland – the Green Capital of Europe.’”
Brace yourselves for good news. A ‘can-do’ story of enterprise, ingenuity, and kindness. Though, there is a familiar theme – how Covid has exposed the faultlines of our society. Who knew so many university students would be going hungry?
‘What we are witnessing is the kind of internal bloodletting normally associated with the aftermath of a major defeat. Much is a function of frustration and an inability to manage internal debate. The SNP needs a period in opposition to sort itself out. It has no credible roadmap to anywhere other than victory at the next Holyrood elections. It hopes that a big win will restore Nicola Sturgeon’s authority. If that happens, it is likely to be short lived.’
“Too many lives have been lost or destroyed. Integrating equitable support services for those most at risk for covid-19 is a national emergency and governments should act accordingly”
“To chart a path to recovery Scottish Labour needs to elect a new opponent,” argues Chris Silver. “If the party found a way to trace a route back to its origins – seeking in the first instance to represent the interests of those who live by selling their labour – there could be a path back from the brink…”
“There’s nothing that can quite live up to the thrill of live performance. I realise now that it was something I took for granted.” Craig Angus finds liberation in a film that seems made for our time. ‘Stop Making Sense’ fills a void where live music once was.