Power to Protect and Change

A new poll by Progress Scotland has created a stushie with a resounding message: the vast majority of Scots want decisions about Scotland to be made in Scotland.

As SNP Depute Leader, Keith Brown says: “This poll confirms that we are winning the economic argument over Scotland’s future. More and more, people across Scotland believe that independence will not only give us a stronger voice in the world but will also benefit our economy. The threat to jobs and living standards posed by Brexit has eroded any remaining confidence voters had in Westminster having control over Scotland’s finances.”

So with a stronger, more compelling case of the economics of independence, support for independence will rocket. Whether the Sustainable Growth Commission or Commonweal have the right answer is for greater discussion – maybe there’s even a half-way house in their positions?

As much as Rishi Sunak squirms at the current level of public sector borrowing, the reality is the UK is at levels greater than predicted for an independent Scotland: the position which Unionists said would make us a banana republic (with the Queen as head of state??).

However, what is clear is that Scots like the Scottish Government making decisions that are best for Scotland, which is why the First Minister has excellent poll ratings for her handling of the pandemic – much higher than Boris Johnston.

Yet, the envelope of powers of the First Minister and her government are much more limited when making country-by-country comparisons. It’s one thing to compare with Wales and Northern Ireland, it is quite another to compare Scotland with Germany or Vietnam.

What would be helpful is to have a clear outline of the division of powers in tackling COVID between UK and Scotland: i.e. health is devolved, border control is reserved; and to then look at what can Scottish Government do in addition to its current position, e.g. impose health checks on airport departures (landside).

The NHS in England’s attempt to have a mobile track and trace app has been ridiculed especially as it was led by the former boss of Carphone Warehouse. Outsourcing has been the only option for the UK health department because, over the past 40 years, both Labour and Conservative have hollowed out the capacity and capability of the civil service to deliver services such as this. The private sector knows best. It’s more efficient. It’s cheaper. Well in one fell swoop (although there are countless other disasters such as G4S Olympic security, Carillion, train franchising, and the list goes on), the private sector has been found wanting at a time of national crisis.

Then there are the billions in English NHS procurement for personal protective equipment and supplies. Companies are being formed overnight to take on million-pound contracts with little to no due diligence of their capability to deliver. Yes, the country is in a rush but surely we need to ask questions about value for money.

As SNP Depute Leader, Keith Brown says: “This poll confirms that we are winning the economic argument over Scotland’s future. More and more, people across Scotland believe that independence will not only give us a stronger voice in the world but will also benefit our economy. The threat to jobs and living standards posed by Brexit has eroded any remaining confidence voters had in Westminster having control over Scotland’s finances.”

So with a stronger, more compelling case of the economics of independence, support for independence will rocket. Whether the Sustainable Growth Commission or Commonweal have the right answer is for greater discussion – maybe there’s even a half-way house in their positions?

As much as Rishi Sunak squirms at the current level of public sector borrowing, the reality is the UK is at levels greater than predicted for an independent Scotland: the position which Unionists said would make us a banana republic (with the Queen as head of state??).

However, what is clear is that Scots like the Scottish Government making decisions that are best for Scotland, which is why the First Minister has excellent poll ratings for her handling of the pandemic – much higher than Boris Johnston.

Yet, the envelope of powers of the First Minister and her government are much more limited when making country-by-country comparisons. It’s one thing to compare with Wales and Northern Ireland, it is quite another to compare Scotland with Germany or Vietnam.

What would be helpful is to have a clear outline of the division of powers in tackling COVID between UK and Scotland: i.e. health is devolved, border control is reserved; and to then look at what can Scottish Government do in addition to its current position, e.g. impose health checks on airport departures (landside).

The NHS in England’s attempt to have a mobile track and trace app has been ridiculed especially as it was led by the former boss of Carphone Warehouse. Outsourcing has been the only option for the UK health department because, over the past 40 years, both Labour and Conservative have hollowed out the capacity and capability of the civil service to deliver services such as this. The private sector knows best. It’s more efficient. It’s cheaper. Well in one fell swoop (although there are countless other disasters such as G4S Olympic security, Carillion, train franchising, and the list goes on), the private sector has been found wanting at a time of national crisis.

Then there are the billions in English NHS procurement for personal protective equipment and supplies. Companies are being formed overnight to take on million-pound contracts with little to no due diligence of their capability to deliver. Yes, the country is in a rush but surely we need to ask questions about value for money.

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