Politics

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.

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

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?

A Thought for the Day the Scottish Parliament Votes for a New Independence Referendum

(Below this piece is a response from Bob Tait, in which he recounts being called a "rootless cosmpolitan" by the poet Hugh MacDiarmid.)

Recently, listening to Radio Four’s ‘Thought for the Day’, a programme that is intended for a moment of religiously-inspired reflection in the morning news cycle, I heard the Reverend Giles Fraser denouncing “rootless cosmopolitans’.I was surprised and horrified as to me this phrase connotes ‘Jews’. It has a history - the ideological separation of non-ethnic Germans from the rest of the population by the Nazi regime.

Read more: A Thought for the Day the Scottish Parliament Votes for a New Independence Referendum

Politics on the hill, an Edinburgh View

 

A video about this blog made by Phantom Power Productions is available here.

March 11, 2017.

Climbing Arthur's Seat on an overcast March day, thinking about politics, I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon is going to call a second independence referendum; if Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 next week. Holyrood Park is busy - the route to the top is thronged and I hear snatches of conversation in many languages: French, then Polish, French again. A group of fit-looking German men files onto the path above me. It seems to me, returning after an absence of a few months, that Edinburgh increasingly feels like a European capital.

Behind me an English student is entertaining a visitor: “This is ten minutes from campus.” They are arguing about whether the rock paths laid on the hillside to protect it from erosion could be considered natural. “Is an anthill natural?  Ants modify their environment.”

Read more: Politics on the hill, an Edinburgh View