“As Rishi Sunak says he respects constitutional nationalism in Northern Ireland, the same, of course, is not true for Scotland where the debate has sunk to silly levels in recent days. Are Scottish government officials biased towards independence? Did Nicola Sturgeon ever think about independence during the Covid pandemic? Our politics will be better, the more serious our level of debate is.”
Hoping that you can form a decent personal relationship with key Ministers in London isn’t a satisfactory basis on which to run a complex country in the middle of a crisis.Fixing the structural weaknesses revealed by Covid is a task that a pro-UK Government in Scotland will need to tackle. The next time, Britain needs to work better.
“Many people who watched or read the transcript of Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence to the Covid Inquiry may have been reminded of just what a good First Minister she was at that time. She can do the detail. She is smart, empathetic and forthright. Her engagement with the people of Scotland brought comfort to many in a difficult time.”
“There’s growing agreement on the need for an industrial strategy in Scotland. The immediate question for the SNP government in Scotland and the next government in London is whether they are prepared to expend the time and energy to deliver one, now. Yousaf has started an important debate: we hope to see positive and practical action over the coming months to turn a debating point into reality.”
“Lanthimos’s film and Gray’s text are independent but related works. It is worth remembering that adaptations are under no obligation to be faithful to source materials. There is no governing body adjudicating and no code of laws to apply. Traces remain, however. Look out for the interrogation of authority, the imagination of an alternative future, and the indomitable spirit of Bella Baxter. Then read some Alasdair Gray.”
At the start of general election year a leading Scottish trade unionist and policy wonk reflects on the industrial strategy challenges facing both SNP and Labour.
Forget David Cameron’s muscular unionism and Humza Yousaf’s sense of grievance: Scottish and UK foreign policy must go through Europe
“…can the SNP walk and chew gum at the same time? Surely, it makes most sense to focus on priority issues at home, whether in Holyrood or arguing the case at Westminster, and on the case for independence too (the substance not the process).”
“And here the challenge is stark, with a likely deficit far in excess of the UK as a whole, other comparable countries or that which is deemed to be sustainable in the long-term. It is not enough to say ‘everything will be fine’ or ‘look at this country, they can run a sensible fiscal balance so why can’t Scotland?’. Concrete proposals and ideas are needed.”
“…suggestions of a return to ‘a government of all the talents’ with bells on and other ideas should form part of an honest Scottish/British conversation about the years ahead – and the best policies and institutions for achieving that rejuvenation and reinvention. One shorn of nostalgia and delusions….”