“Where Scotland differs (from the UK) the most is in its lack of engagement on economic issues. If this continues then the £1.5 billion (fiscal) shortfall will continue to grow and taxes will continue to rise to compensate. Surely no-one wants this but then why does no one take it seriously?” asks John McLaren in his latest acute commentary on the state of the Scottish economy.
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.
The co-editors announce the closure of Sceptical Scot on its seventh anniversary….
Survival, war, poetry. What is it like to fight for your motherland with words and on the streets? Here is a message to transcend time and place.
‘The current conflict seems one from an anachronous, imperial past. There is little to separate a Ukrainian and a Russian – this is not an ethnic conflict but one over territory.’
“The report, the launch, the minutes of the Advisory Council meetings – all point to a ‘just get it done and get it out’ approach. And as with previous, failed, economic strategies it will go through various hoops of progress reports and ‘accountability’ that are underplayed and soon forgotten. But without anyone taking real ownership, without a genuine attempt to identify and plan a way forward, little will change.”
“The current position in Scotland is just not good enough. Infant removals continue to this day. They do not lie in our past. This trend is found in other wealthy countries..yet elsewhere infant removals appear more subject to public scrutiny. An infant entering care in 2016, when the Independent Care Review was launched by the First Minister, will be 14 years of age by 2030. Hardly a sea change. More surely a glacial pace.”
‘It is conceivable that all this could lead to a rapid collapse of the Putin autocracy, but we should not engage in wishful thinking. Wide-ranging economic sanctions on Russia may be needed for a lengthy period of time. Ejection from Swift is a symbol of these efforts, not a powerful economic tool that can constrain Russia’s actions in Ukraine at little cost to ourselves.’
‘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.’
“The Government must change, and fund change elsewhere. Organisations and institutions that for a long time have not provided good enough care must change, and any new organisation must be set up to meet the needs of those they support, not the system they are a part of… yet just because there are areas of concern does not negate the progress already made, and progress has been made.”