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 BBC was once among the UK’s most respected institutions but no more – and it faces fresh competition from new upstarts like Andrew Neil’s GB News and Murdoch’s UK News. Break-up or renewal ahead?
‘We end a year of sadness and sorrow with hope that 2021 will raise the overall level of ambition in Scotland, not just in terms of defeating the virus, but of paving the way for a society and economy that give the people a greater sense of belonging and sharing, that may act as a model beyond its borders, promote fairness and justice in international relations and help save the planet.’
“The EU, of course, makes a mockery of sovereignty. It might be argued that Brexit is evidence of its enduring relevance. But what it really shows is the pernicious legacy of the myth. The UK is losing control of its affairs. The hope that a second Trump Administration would ensure a good trade deal with the US has been shattered but even had this happened it spoke of the UK as limited and accountable, more as the 51st state than having ‘taken back control’.”
‘The UK has, as Peter Hennessy has eloquently warned, a constitution that relies on the “good chaps theory of government”. That structure now looks incredibly vulnerable when faced with a prime minister and key advisers who reject the rules, lack self-restraint and engage in populist posturing. The result is sacrificial statecraft wrapped around a naive vision of populist technology. Ditch it now.’
‘…Scotland’s relatively normal politics and pro-European aspirations may look in many ways more in the contemporary political mainstream than Johnson’s past-its-sell-by-date Trumpism. And a more open attitude from the EU to an independent Scotland may impact to some degree on US views too. But hard realpolitik interests – whether in the US or EU – will always be there.’
‘Working and living here has always been a dream of mine – but my French was never good enough to get a job. So, it seems ironic that, just as this has become a reality because of completely remote working, the possibility is being taken away.’
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)?
‘There is no win for Johnson in going for a hard Brexit. How he u-turns remains to be seen. But he is the artist of the political pirouette and has never been faithful to a policy, or belief other than his own advancement in three decades of political activism. The majority of Tory (and other MPs) plus public and press opinion would welcome a compromise deal..’
‘Across all its various dimensions, independence is about a whole range of transitions – economic, political, democratic, social and cultural. Considering how those transitions could and should be managed, and what their implications, timings and costs and benefits are, needs to become a more central part of the debate.’