“Opportunities for Labour arise from an SNP that excels in performative politics but fails in policy performance. The respective and competing nationalisms of Edinburgh and London governments are shrill and limited in their understanding of self-government. You cannot ‘take back control’ by focusing on empowering London or Edinburgh at the cost to all else. Labour has some way to go but with an independence referendum unlikely any time soon it does have some time.”
‘The risks are higher for the Greens than they are for the SNP. Voters are likely to see any failure of government as Green failure too. And with only two ministers, their ability to effect meaningful change is limited. They may find themselves carrying the can for any mistakes without ever having been in a position to take a different path.’
‘It is perhaps under-recognised by many in the independence camp just how much support there was for the Union in 1707 among middle-class Scots. That support was based on a hunger for opportunity. But Brexit has reversed that – it means a big reduction in the degree of opportunity that Union with the rest of the UK once offered.’
Since its inception, the Scottish Parliament has not been renowned for its reforming zeal. But the pandemic has thrown up a range of challenges that must be addressed if a ‘working’ system is to re-emerge in hospitals, schools and the courts. It is surely right then that the electorate has some idea of the competing views of each of the political parties as to how they intend to respond to the pandemic’s effects.
‘There was a day when anyone associated with the Duke of Buccleuch would have been anathema to the SNP but in its desperation not to frighten the horses, the current SNP leadership is willing to abandon what its membership in its heart knows is required. The SNP is simply letting a good crisis go to waste.’
“Nicola Sturgeon and the other no longer young SNP nationalists are in a hurry. They need Johnson to confirm that his English Europe-hating Tories will indeed deny Scotland its centuries-old place as a small but distinct European nation that has contributed much to European science, philosophy, and culture.”
‘.Like the Bourbons, the Conservatives have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing. But Labour are in danger of the same. Time is running out for a reasonably well developed alternative option that might be included in a future referendum. Not only would this enrich a stale debate but would allow Labour to escape the potentially lethal embrace of working with the Tories again.’
“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.
‘Without real and substantive change in council funding, both fiscal and legislative, then the only budget option for councils will be more cuts, fewer services, fewer workers.’
Ahead of the Westminster election on 12 December, James Mitchell explains how party competition in Scotland is shaped by interrelated questions of policy, competence, independence and Brexit…’