Written by Andrew Wilson, founding partner
22 August 2020
Opinion polls caused a stir in Scotland and beyond this week as momentum grew behind support for independence. But has the debate changed since 2014 and if so, how? What is certain is that if a second referendum does come it will have to be a choice based on a detailed prospectus outlining exactly what the transition plan will look like and mean – in sharp contrast to Brexit. Much of that thinking has already been done though it will require an update to address the financial realities of Covid-19 and all its implications…
The border is the last remaining question
The one remaining question to resolve is that of the borders between Scotland and the rest of the UK and that between Scotland and the European Union. This excellent piece by Kirsty Hughes considers the trade-offs involved. The UK has yet to resolve its own approach to the EU with only weeks to go…. Borders are not generally a good thing but realities cannot be wished away, the author argues.
Read in Sceptical Scot.
Winds of change
Expect more analysis like this from Mure Dickie and George Parker of the Financial Times. The print media is not often a great source of insight on the truths and realities of what is actually going on in Scotland but the FT do better than most and this piece does rather highlight the futility of ‘wizard wheeze’ policy making such as sticking different flags on infrastructure.
Read in FT.
More on flags
And in the Times this week Kenny Farquharson seemed to agree that flags are probably not the way to go. I don’t always agree with Kenneth but he has been examining the progress of the SNP for more years than he cares to remember and his perspectives are always worth reading and reflecting upon.
Read in The Times.
Fisherman may have hooked new evidence on Covid Immunity
It is very early days but a new – and yet to be peer reviewed – study suggests that we may indeed become immune to Covid-19 having contracted it and then recovered. This is an amazing story detailed in the New York Times and highlights how much we still have to learn about this virus.
Read in New York Times.
Lessons from abroad
After weeks of uncertainty and with calls for independent enquiries into the exam results fiascos across devolved nations, Constantin Eckner takes a look at what we could learn from Germany. Sure, the 16 federal states that are in charge of education policy didn’t quite get full marks, but it was an ‘A*’ for effort and for managing to avoid the levels of uncertainty experienced by students closer to home.
Read in Spectator.
And so the exams crisis has continued to engulf the UK and this week its full wrath was unleashed upon the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. This sketch from the normally loyal Conservative journal The Telegraph is by its outstanding writer Michael Deacon. Michael was himself educated in my local high school here in Balerno, Edinburgh. He seems to have a clever and funny way with words – unlike Mr Williamson.
Read in The Telegraph.
Microcredit and its delusions
Since its peak in 1990 and 2000, the microcredit industry has seen substantial growth not only in size but also in complexity. Problems in terms of regulation, emerging loopholes, and new scandals are posing the increasingly pertinent question: can microfinance live up to its enthusiasts’ expectations?
Read in The Economist.
A pandemic silver lining
From New York to Naples, all around the world online AA meetings have exploded in the last few months. Traditional 12 step programmes have benefited hugely from the move to Zoom as online meetings offer immediate fellowship and support at any time of the day or night, from the comfort of home.
Read in FT.
A rocky relationship
Alex Thompson of Politico writes of the dynamics within and around Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and his far from straightforward relationship with Barack Obama, which now motivates him to prove his old boss wrong. The piece highlights the differences in political style between the two men and seeks to explain why Obama and some of Biden’s own trusted staff put their faith not in the former VP but in Hillary Clinton, who of course won the Democratic nomination in 2016, paving the way for Donald Trump’s controversial period in office. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time
Read in Politico.