Welcome to Edition 2 of Scottish Policy Now. As you can see from the buttons on this page, the policy focus of this edition is Health and Care and some of the changes effected or proposed in those fields.

We also cover a broader range of topics and issues that we hope you’ll find interesting.

What you won’t find is much that directly touches upon the referendum – and that’s deliberate.

Up until now, in the rather frantic weeks since the referendum debate first kicked off, the overwhelming focus of argument by the protagonists and the media comment that accompanies that has been very much concerned with the process. So that discussion has been pretty true to the old journalistic guidance: Who? What? When? and Where?

The big omission has been any real attention to the fundamental question of: ‘Why?’

Obviously there are many different answers to that question and  there will be lots of people who will say that they have been talking about this for years, maybe even decades.

Yes, correct if the terms of that discussion have been limited to independence as a desirable end in itself – a perfectly respectable and sustainable political position.

From the point of view of Scottish Policy Now the easy clue is in the name of this magazine and the topics we cover. So for us, the ‘Why ‘discussion is related to what the implications of constitutional change will be for the many areas of public policy where divergence from rest of UK policies and practice is already apparent.

There will be future editions where contributors will write about a referendum and the implications of different constitutional scenarios or those policy aspects that are of direct concern to them. At the moment there is much heat and noise, but not a lot of light.

We also hope that as a reader you will let us know your thoughts and views on matters you read about here.

We intend to produce a ‘mid cycle ‘ edition of SPN, when additional material and readers’ comments will be included. Send your views to us, but first of all read 'Digital Soapbox‘ page and you’ll see why we want your name attached to anything you write.

Professor Richard Kerley, Editor

Issue 2: March 2012

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