Scotland’s influence in Britain will be strongest when you have a Scottish Labour Party working with a Labour Government. If you want a Britain that places Scotland and its interests at the heart of the Westminster debate, if you want a politics that is committed to smashing the class ceiling, if you want to […]
“If this centralisation trend continues unchecked, nearly all public services will be delivered by unelected quangos or Scottish Government departments with no effective local democratic control or accountability. That would make Scotland an outlier amongst western democracies where the role of local democratic organisations is embedded in constitutions, valued and supported.”
“As Rishi Sunak says he respects constitutional nationalism in Northern Ireland, the same, of course, is not true for Scotland where the debate has sunk to silly levels in recent days. Are Scottish government officials biased towards independence? Did Nicola Sturgeon ever think about independence during the Covid pandemic? Our politics will be better, the more serious our level of debate is.”
Labour “is caught between the public policy need for bolder action and an even more sober presentational approach than that of 1997. Bold policies are not incompatible with sober campaigning. But sober campaigning may not excite and mobilise support,” says Prof Mitchell, arguing the case against ultra-caution.
Forget David Cameron’s muscular unionism and Humza Yousaf’s sense of grievance: Scottish and UK foreign policy must go through Europe
“As these are devolved matters, the Scottish Government receives this funding but is under no obligation to match the policies announced by Westminster. For example, the retail, hospitality and leisure relief is a repeat of the measure for 2023-24, which the Scottish Government decided not to pass on and spent elsewhere. So this is one to watch out for at next month’s Scottish Budget.”
“At the end of a year of confusing cuts, un-cuts and renewed cuts, the Scottish Government’s latest pledge is to invest £100m in the cultural sector over the next five years. How widely and how quickly that will be shared is not yet known.” We report on how successive governments starve a sector that’s key to the Scottish economy – and identity.
“It may be that the process of establishing and issuing the bonds is seen as strengthening the Scottish state in advance of a future independent Scotland. But in a constrained fiscal environment, it will be fair to ask whether borrowing in a more expensive way makes sense.”
An extra band of income tax at the higher rate charged on good earners would raise money for the Scottish exchequer but less than anticipated…
“And here the challenge is stark, with a likely deficit far in excess of the UK as a whole, other comparable countries or that which is deemed to be sustainable in the long-term. It is not enough to say ‘everything will be fine’ or ‘look at this country, they can run a sensible fiscal balance so why can’t Scotland?’. Concrete proposals and ideas are needed.”