The Great Debate UK
- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -
The television coverage of the forthcoming election has hardly mentioned Scottish issues and Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which forms the Scottish government, has not been included in the televised leaders’ debates.
In fact, you might suppose that this election does not concern Scotland at all, but of course it does. Many important issues are reserved to the British parliament, in which Scottish members are outnumbered 10 to one. These issues include taxation, foreign affairs, defence and even broadcasting. This, as well as the format of the leaders’ debates, is so obviously undemocratic.
So is the ability of the Scottish members at Westminster to vote on issues such as education and the health service in England, even though English members have no say in such matters in Scotland. To add to the confusion, the first of these televised debates was on domestic affairs. Brown, Cameron and Clegg were asked about education and the health service — issues where Westminster policy does not apply to Scotland.
As Britain gears up for a general election with polls pointing toward a hung parliament, pundits are not only speculating on how the political landscape of the future might look, but they are also taking stock of the past.
In his new book “Broonland, the last days of Gordon Brown“, Christopher Harvie, a former colleague of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and an SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for mid-Scotland and Fife in Brown’s Kirkaldy base, takes a turn at surveying the lay of the land.
- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The opinions expressed are his own -
My most recent book of essays had the title, ‘The Age of Liberation’, because many of them considered the transformation of the world by the recent dissolution of all the empires and most of the multi-national states into their component parts. So far Scotland has been left behind.