“The process of recovery has begun for Scottish Labour. It can now focus on winning back what Anas Sarwar describes as ‘soft SNP’ voters. This will not be plain sailing. The SNP remains a formidable campaign organisation…” Prof James Mitchell on how Labour’s revival has put the SNP on the defensive.
The co-editors announce the closure of Sceptical Scot on its seventh anniversary….
“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.”
“A core resource block grant in 2022/23 that is 8% higher than pre-pandemic might sound generous, but to deal with the pandemic’s legacy and underlying public services pressures it is anything but. In this context, Kate Forbes’ third budget may well be her most challenging.”
“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.”
A conversation about a future which has already been decided from the top won’t encourage people to talk. Genuine consensus must emerge from the bottom up.
Whether or not Scotland can legally hold a referendum without the consent of Westminster has provoked much debate. Ciaran Martin argues that the answer to this question does not really matter: regardless of the legality of any referendum, it is unrealistic to think that Scotland will leave the Union without the consent of Westminster. This makes the key question a political one, which the courts cannot resolve.
“Opportunities for Labour arise from an SNP that excels in performative politics but fails in policy performance. The respective and competing nationalisms of Edinburgh and London governments are shrill and limited in their understanding of self-government. You cannot ‘take back control’ by focusing on empowering London or Edinburgh at the cost to all else. Labour has some way to go but with an independence referendum unlikely any time soon it does have some time.”
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?
‘If the 2021 Holyrood election is remembered as a turning point it will be because it was the catalyst for a referendum. The manifesto and style of politics adopted by the SNP do not suggest that Scotland is about to be transformed in any way comparable to critical elections of the past in terms of public policy.’