Posts Tagged ‘The Scotsman’
The Voices of Tomorrow’s Scotland: A Challenge to All Our Politicians
The Scotsman, June 15th 2013
For once young people have become central to the Scottish political debate due to the Scottish Government’ giving 16-17 year olds the vote in the September 2014 independence poll.
Rarely do we hear directly and in detail from young people which is why I was enthusiastic to participate this week in the National Museums Scotland conference in Edinburgh bringing together over 300 pupils from more than 20 state schools from Glasgow and Coatbridge to Biggar and Inverkeithing and further afield, to discuss in a non-partisan way the future of Scotland.
These young people were aged 14-17. Most will have a vote next year, though not all will with some missing the eligibility cut-off by a couple of days. Most are positive about having a vote and plan to use it. And it was a fascinating, revealing day which challenged many of the ingrained assumptions we all have about Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »
British social democracy is dying a slow death
The Scotsman, June 8th 2013
Ed Miliband and Labour have been busy this week making policy announcements, marking out political terrain, and in the eyes of opponents, making unprincipled U-turns.
Labour has announced it will not reverse the end of winter fuel payments for wealthy pensioners and child benefit for top rate taxpayers, as well as imposing an overall ‘cap’ on welfare spending for the first three years of a future Labour Government.
There are short-term factors at work. Labour are increasingly keen to reposition itself and challenge the widespread perception that it is ‘soft’ on welfare. The party also has anxieties about the narrowness of its overall lead over the Tories, and its inability to close the economic credibility gap with the Conservatives, for all the problems of the coalition. Read the rest of this entry »
Time for a Radical Scotland to challenge our forces of conservatism
The Scotsman, June 1st 2013
Scotland has long prided itself on its radical and socialist traditions, from Red Clydeside and UCS to rent strikes, occupations and the campaign which achieved the Scottish Parliament.
This week Alex Salmond faced more criticism over his corporation tax policy from predictable quarters such as Johann Lamont and less predictable ones such as pro-independence supporters and economists Jim and Margaret Cuthbert and Council of Economic Advisers member Professor Joseph Stiglitz.
This raises all sorts of questions: about the nature and dynamics of the independence project, Labour-SNP competition, and the characteristics of the Scottish left. Underneath this is the dilemma of who really speaks for and represents Scotland’s radical traditions? And who is looking at turning these into thinking and policies for today? Read the rest of this entry »
Can Scottish politicians understand that social justice is about everyone?
The Scotsman, May 25th 2013
There was a revealing exchange on Newsnight Scotland this week which got to the heart of the matter of the substance (or lack of) in much of the independence debate.
Asked to elucidate on what social justice measures an independent Scotland could advance SNP MSP Kenny Gibson first stuttered and then at second attempt offered as a contribution, the abolition of the bedroom tax. Then it was Labour MSP Ken Macintosh’s chance to show his mettle on social justice and what his party would do and he equally offered no real specifics just generalisations.
Social justice is what part of Scotland prides itself on. How many Labour and SNP politicians and media commentators have you heard over the years congratulate themselves on our supposedly different, superior, egalitarian values? Read the rest of this entry »
What Kind of European and British Union is Emerging?
The Scotsman, May 18th 2013
Prague Spring. Two words which evoke a certain feeling, the hopes of a generation, European idealism and the past.
Today Europe could not be in a more different place and frame of mind, the brief optimism of 1968 and 1989 long gone.
All across the continent, European political, elite and civic conversations are underway about ‘whither Europe?’ and ‘what future for the eurozone?’
In the last two weeks I have participated in two of these, attending the Prague Press Forum and before that speaking to ministers, officials and advisers of the Irish Government in Dublin.
Europe is worried about itself, its future, the European project and Britain – with in many places Euro-realism falling over into a deep-seated pessimism. German broadcaster, Jurgen Kronig, believes part of the problem is the ambiguous nature of German leadership. Read the rest of this entry »