‘A speech by the First Minister acknowledging Scotland’s role would be useful; a fund to promote research on Scotland and the empire, including a virtual museum, would be even better….As Scotland struggles with new questions about identity, it is important to confront the reality of what happened in the empire.
“…now would be a good time to shake things up even further. Who will make that happen? I expect little from the Government or the Parliament, it’ll be for others to push for change..”
“Most people in the sector I speak to agree – this system wasn’t broken before Brexit. Now it is. But who will answer the pleas of Highland hospitality business owners? They are desperate for the mitigation of seasonal visas. But the Scottish Government has no control over immigration, just as it had no say over Brexit itself.”
“Cross-party calls for a culture of ‘kindness’ deserved to develop into a movement to rebuild civility and public trust. Amidst the Paterson controversy, such hopes looked very distant again – but perhaps the furore will in time spur recognition of the need for deeper cultural change.”
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?
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‘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.’