“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.”
“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….”
‘Now that the traffic engineers have had their say it’s clearly about time that the public, not the notionally public servants, have a say about this space. I still hold to the view that sculpture – and new work in particular , the 4th plinth idea – would work here.’
Substantial powers are held by Holyrood that could be used to build a strategy that would deliver on the promise made of Scotland becoming the “Saudi Arabia” of renewables. The opportunity and moment may soon be lost if not taken now.
Scotland has ambitious targets to reach net zero by 2045 and, so far, we are falling behind in the cuts to emissions needed to reach these targets…More needs to be done to improve our green and blue spaces, and protect the species that depend on these habitats.
“We hope that a clear, transparent, assessment of financial requirements, that meets with consensus from those who know, work for and draw on these services, emerges. An underfunded National Care Service is unlikely to do any better than the system that it seeks to replace.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The failure to reduce demand in acute services through prevention is evident in the increasing proportion of Scottish budget spend on the National Health Service. This has had many consequences. Money required for acute services means less for other services.” A member of the Christie Commission on delivering public services in Scotland looks back/forward in sorrow