“One by one aspects of what the CFS did were closed down or were taken back under the aegis of the council. The times changed. Austerity, unemployment, and drugs bit hard here. The Festival Society gradually declined, and so did the sense of community.”
Fund-raising is a constant fact of life for a charity providing high quality, multi-disciplinary “life and death affirming” care for a growing number of children and families facing the reality of life with life-shortening conditions. Medical advances mean longer lives for more children with terminal illnesses (recent CHAS research estimates more than 16,000 children aged 0-21 are in need of specialist care).
“A start to redressing this imbalance would be for the UK Government and the devolved governments to sign the European Charter of Local Self Government – then we could at last begin to have serious conversations, based on a joint understanding of and respect for each other’s roles, on how we are to successfully tackle the substantial and increasingly complex issues of the future.”
“…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..”
“Scots have a self-image of being frank and forthright. Within the professions at least, this is rarely justified. Agreement with official policy rather than plain speaking is the dominant form of discourse at the upper levels of Scottish education. Similar tendencies can be seen in law and medicine….”
“The issues are whether and how an independent Scotland would make the transition, at what cost, paid for by whom, over how long and, crucially, what policies would be needed to get to a position where people are at least no worse off. These are not insurmountable but they are challenging. But the SNP, as the main advocates of independence, does not appear up to the challenge.”
“For now, there’s a mismatch between the Scottish Government’s vision of a more successful Scotland – where poverty is reduced, and economic growth is sustainable – and how we assess public sector performance. I am not convinced that public sector leaders really feel accountable for delivering change that demands different organisations work together.”
“62% of new teachers cannot secure full-time permanent jobs yet teacher training numbers are at their highest level in a decade. Scottish education must wean itself off cheap probationers before more damage is done.”
“Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, but there is unlikely to be a better time to begin to dismantle some of the barriers which have impeded genuine growth. Scottish education needs to escape from the ‘iron cage’ of its own bureaucracy. This will require vision, honesty and courage, qualities that, sadly, have not been in plentiful supply among political leaders (of all parties) in recent years.”
In a special guest blog, Sir Tom Hunter, whose eponymous Foundation commissioned the recent Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate report from Oxford Economics, underlines how Scotland’s economy lags behind and needs radical change to catch up and rediscover its innovative dynamism.