‘…richer nations such as Scotland need to live up to their oft-repeated, much-vaunted proclamations in favour of global solidarity. So far, we’re not even talking about it in the pandemic.’
‘The outcome is indeed so vital for us all that the progress of the vaccination programme is the one topic that cannot be kicked into the long grass of some future Inquiry – and this knowledge must be shared as fully and as often as possible.’
‘A publicly run financial system investing in worker-owned firms would be a truly brave vision for Scotland’s economy – but do we have politicians who can see beyond the doom-laden horizons of Capitalist Realism?’ asks Ben Wray in a review of Varoufakis’s first foray into fiction.
‘Putting it bluntly, this kind of statistical amnesia will seem a little tawdry to anyone who invested belief and political capital in the First Minister’s approach.’ Our statistical expert ends the year of the pandemic as he began: savaging the misuse of data.
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?
‘The draft constitution agreed by the Conference could then be part of the pledge on which the case for independence is made. If the people then vote for independence, the new Constitution could simply be adopted as a schedule to a future Scotland (Independence) Act passed by the UK Parliament.’
“The EU, of course, makes a mockery of sovereignty. It might be argued that Brexit is evidence of its enduring relevance. But what it really shows is the pernicious legacy of the myth. The UK is losing control of its affairs. The hope that a second Trump Administration would ensure a good trade deal with the US has been shattered but even had this happened it spoke of the UK as limited and accountable, more as the 51st state than having ‘taken back control’.”
‘But the more fundamental objection is that the study (by Public Health Scotland into hospital discharges to care homes) tells us nothing about the real question of concern: Did the discharge of untested patients to care homes result in an increase in deaths? The truth is that we are really none the wiser.’
‘The UK has, as Peter Hennessy has eloquently warned, a constitution that relies on the “good chaps theory of government”. That structure now looks incredibly vulnerable when faced with a prime minister and key advisers who reject the rules, lack self-restraint and engage in populist posturing. The result is sacrificial statecraft wrapped around a naive vision of populist technology. Ditch it now.’
The issue of which currency an independent Scotland would adopt has gone on the back-burner. But with a new poll showing 58% support for indy it deserves to move to the front…Economist/statistician Richard Marsh urges a wider debate.