Politics

Brexit - Three Risks to International Security

Feb 28, 2018 - Boston.

A former spy chief discusses Brexit.

At Harvard’s school of government today, a lunchtime talk “Brexit's Impact on the Future of International Security: A Conversation with Sir John Sawers”. The British former security chief and diplomat (you may remember him as the spy who appeared on Facebook in speedos) outlined some of the risks Brexit poses to international security. Answering a question, he reassured the international audience that there was no immediate threat of Scotland becoming independent as Scottish nationalism “is on the wane” - the result of the SNP “poor record” in administration.

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Time for Britain's Two Major Parties to Split Over Brexit?

Imagine the two main parties of the British political system as two massive, heavy velvet curtains, a little moth-eaten, frayed. People are swinging on them and they are on the point of ripping. With a long, tearing sound, part of each is about to come crashing to the floor.

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Highland Scenes - An Essay on Land Reform

 

 

 

A Snow Bunting looks across a mountain landscape with little sign of human habitation. This photograph was taken by my husband Rob Bruce on our Highland holiday this year, on land owned by a reclusive Malaysian businessman.

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Brexit is an immediate threat: - Remainers should vote SNP; Indyref 2 is a battle for another day.

Every democratic election is a choice, to a certain extent, between the bad and the worse. In that sense, it is much like life. There is seldom a perfect option. And every voter who takes pencil in hand in the privacy of the polling booth will assess the issues, compromise on some and prioritise others.

In the First Past the Post Westminster election, we also vote for - or against - an individual whose name appears on the ballot. It seems likely that across the UK on Thursday night some big names will lose their seats and be subjected to the kind of ritual humiliation by media that goes with the job of MP these days. Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson may be among them.

I am not a nationalist but I will be voting SNP. More specifically, I will vote for Tommy Sheppard in Edinburgh East. Sheppard seems to be a man who takes an international view, not a narrow nationalist one. But my decision is based on his party’s strong pro-EU stance. In the event of a hung Parliament - unlikely though that may be  - the SNP would be a voice for staying in the single market, the customs union, for freedom of movement.

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The Scottish Economy - Could it Survive as an Independent Country?

The debate about the Scottish economy centres largely on GERS which looks at public expenditure - the taxes raised in Scotland and the government spending. These suggest an independent Scotland would have a massive deficit.

This reflects the fact that Scotland has a shrunken private sector. Scotland has a very big public sector and those people are paid, of course, with money that has to be raised from taxation. So if Scotland were to have a sustainable future as an independent country, it would have to expand its private sector and create more profitable businesses.

Read more: The Scottish Economy - Could it Survive as an Independent Country?