James Mitchell’s survey of Scotland and its centres of power ends with reflections on the glaring need for reforming Holyrood after two decades of devolution. “The Scottish Parliament is not a delicate flower that needs protection but a robust institution that required robust critiques, especially from those who support it.”
Rewilding the Highlands: Glen Affric and Dundreggan point the way
Kirsty Hughes illustrates in text and images the challenges and hopes associated with rewilding the Highlands: “The rewilding journey is a long and vital one. With places like Dundreggan and Glen Affric showing the way, it can – and must – be a successful one.”
Are Europe’s independence movements dead?
“With neo-autonomism becoming increasingly exhausted, the most likely trajectory is that the ERC and the SNP drift towards becoming parties that are more or less satisfied with seeking to accrue more devolved powers within the hegemonic state. Nationalism without independence.”
A monetary straitjacket: Scottish Government economic plan for independence
“A Scottish currency is no guarantee that independence would see the country’s deeply embedded economic problems tackled. A monetarily sovereign independent government would still be perfectly capable of chronic mismanagement. But to have an independent country with a fighting chance of making even partial economic and social progress, monetary sovereignty is a pre-requisite. Another Scotland is still possible.”
The left must abandon high tax policies
“The left should opt for an eco-fiscal policy, designed to dismantle rentier capitalism. It should accept that high progressive income tax is out of date. It should make clear that income and consumption taxes are mainly for public services and infrastructure, including transport, defence, housing, schools and other social needs. Beyond that, the aim should be to restructure fiscal policy as a means of common justice.”
Going for growth – or broke?
The new UK Chancellor has set out his radical fiscal plans – and prompted a sterling crisis. The situation is so grave, not least for Scotland, it merits a return from us in the interests of a wider public policy debate. Here we republish commentary from the FAI – and expect to run further contributions this autumn.
What are Scotland’s real choices?
‘Clearly the political and institutional landscape has changed dramatically since 2014. One inescapable fact about any future debate on the economic case for Scottish independence is that the terrain – by which we mean the political, economic, social and cultural context – has shifted significantly.’
An unsustainable paradox
‘So, whilst the rhetoric may have softened, the constitutional paradox remains. Scotland can leave if it has a lawful vote to do so, but there is no way of having a lawful vote. For now, anyway. And there is no plan to have a plan.’
Letter to indy Scotland’s first finance minister
“And even though, with Scotland as an independent country, your policy options would be much greater, you have to be constantly aware of the trade-offs involved and the limitations on your power to influence the choices made by workers and by companies. You can at least take comfort from the fact that less prosperous nations with less well-developed institutions than Scotland manage these issues without the roof falling in.”
Is the BBC helping British democracy?
The BBC was once among the UK’s most respected institutions but no more – and it faces fresh competition from new upstarts like Andrew Neil’s GB News and Murdoch’s UK News. Break-up or renewal ahead?