Brexit and the handling of the COVID 19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the existential crisis facing the British state; it is plagued by huge economic and political imbalances, an inordinate centralisation of power and wealth, vast regional inequalities across the UK, and an empty commitment to devolution.
Even after 21 years of devolution the UK continues to have one of the most centralised constitutions in the world based on the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament. Within a few square miles of central London you will find the Houses of Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Bank of England, most financial services, the BBC and national centres for music, culture and the arts.
London doesn’t create the wealth and talent of the UK, but its elite suck it in leaving whole swathes of the rest of the UK struggling with low pay, unemployment, poor health and lack of opportunities. It is not only Scotland that feels excluded, so does Wales, Northern Ireland and many of the regions of England as well as large parts of London itself.
The nature of the debate about socialist engagement in the Labour Party has changed. For sure it has always been a contested issue but in the 1980s and 1990s there was often a nostalgia by those on the Labour left aggrieved with the then leaderships for a period of real socialist endeavour in the Labour Party primarily of course what was seen as the apex of radical achievement, the 1945 Labour government.
It has also changed because there are now significant differences between the Party in England and Wales and Scotland, where, as we are all no doubt acutely aware, Scottish Labour, already irrelevant in Westminster, may be on the brink of becoming similarly irrelevant at Holyrood and local elections.
The principles that will shape who is in control of Britain’s economy are likely to be determined by decisions taken over the next few weeks as Internal Market Bill makes its way through the legislative processes of the UK. Already on 7th October the Scottish Parliament, correctly in our view, refused, legislative consent - a decision that will almost certainly be ignored by the Tories in power at Westminster
Those that the gods would destroy they first make mad. We live in crazy times. So much so that we have a Prime Minister who, as a boy, wanted to be “World King’. 3 months ago, he wanted to be Churchill and, a week after that, Roosevelt! He now wants to be an international law breaker! No doubt, before too long, he will transmogrify into Gandhi and/or Mandela.
This Saturday the Scottish Labour Policy Forum meets to amend and vote on the final papers which will become the basis for next year’s Holyrood Manifesto. The Policy forum brings together representatives from local parties and our trade union affiliates.
Early optimism that the education sector was well prepared to deal with the ongoing Covid 19 crisis has evaporated. In early August we saw school students return to classrooms and in early September they were joined by further and higher education students. But by that time there had been reported cases of Covid 19 in 26 secondary schools and 16 primary schools right across Scotland. The highest densities, as expected, were in those communities where infections rates have increased most rapidly.