‘Every major party in Scotland has contributed to the process of centralisation and this has undermined local responses to the crisis. Scotland’s constitutional status is an important issue but not at the cost of considering the need for reform of local governance….’
In his latest piece, senior statistician James Urquhart, investigates how the UK Government uses UK data to buttress policy decisions for England and asks: manipulation or malfeasance…
As much as a third (32%) of the Scottish workforce isn’t working in the lockdown but it’s the young who are the hardest hit and faces the bleakest future – unless we adopt New Deal-style measures to prevent a “lost generation” being scarred for life.
John Lloyd book review: ‘What marks the book out is Lloyd’s personal transition to virtually self-hating Scot. This is not just the regular Unionist assertion that Scotland is too wee, too weak, to cut it as an independent country but a visceral assault on “Scotland’s self-serving, self-pitying, self-obsessed keening about others, mainly the English, stealing their birthright and smashing their culture” and/or continuous “moral superiority.”‘
‘Conspiracy theorists believe that political leaders spend their time plotting, planning and pulling strings. Journalistic accounts… suggest that, far from conspiring to pull anything off, politicians miscalculated, dithered and bumbled. The lateness of the UK lockdown has cost tens of thousands of lives. What we’ve witnessed is not conspiracy but cock-up.’
‘Overall, a combination of : the pandemic lockdown; the existing post financial crisis slowdown, in both absolute and relative (to the UK) terms; and another looming North Sea slowdown, means that Scotland’s economic prospects are far from bright.’
‘Not everything is about the constitution. We need to find a way out of the lazy constitutional rut Scottish politics has descended into. This is not to suggest that the constitutional question or relations between London and Edinburgh are unimportant, only that there are other ways of looking at politics and policy. Even in the midst of this crisis, this needs to be a learning exercise and not only when we look back and seek to learn lessons retrospectively.’
‘While billions are being spent on our nuclear deterrent, British troops were deployed without adequate equipment, including body armour, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, doctors, nurses, hospitals, and care home staff, are under-equipped.’
‘Scotland has the devolved power to follow its own strategic objectives. The question is: does it have the courage and skills to start planning now for an exit strategy which wholeheartedly and comprehensively embraces contact tracing? The answer firmly rests with all our politicians and their advisors. We should be hearing from them now.’
“The Brotherston Principle demands that Government fully respects its expert advisors, it also demands of those advisers that they draw on the best expertise, work together to achieve a best consensus, and speak out strongly if the Government chooses a course of action which flies in the face of reason or squanders precious resource of time or people on justifying failure,” writes a senior medical statistician.