Issue 14 - December 2016

EDITORIAL - WHAT NEXT? AND THEN WHAT NEXT? AND THEN...?

By Professor Richard Kerley

As I write this editorial we have all just been told by the Prime Minister that the arrangement we are aiming for - or planning for, or hoping for, or possibly even praying for - after Brexit is a ‘Red, White and Blue' arrangement.

Leave aside for the moment that red, white and blue are colours that appear in the flags of various EU (France, Netherlands, Czech Republic) members; also in those of EEA members (Iceland and Norway); and plus, of course, the Faroes. It seems clear that a line which might have been marginally appropriate as what passes for backbench Parliamentary humour - on a good day - really doesn’t cut it when you are Prime Minister and making some form of international public statement.

We have also just seen a vote in the UK Parliament that may (or may not) give the government comfort that there may be a Westminster majority for Article 50 legislation. Legislation may of course be what is needed, not just an ‘on you go chaps ‘motion and vote if the Supreme Court decides that this is necessary. Because of course that vote was held concurrently with a sometimes fascinating, but sometimes deeply baffling UK Supreme Court hearing about the respective powers of the monarch and the parliament which all seems a bit C18th.
Oh - and of course the Scottish government is maybe (or maybe not) proposing another Independence referendum before Brexit comes into effect.

At a more everyday level, we seem to be in a position where we are unsure of what to do about a good few policy challenges. We clearly must find better ways of making our cities and towns sustainable and manageable – planning for the future where the future is uncertain and in practical terms of decision making what can seem to be a long way ahead.

Sustaining and improving our public services overall and the way we finance those are all under discussion, as are the ways we try and change the behaviour of people and their assumptions about their lives.

So, we remain deeply uncertain about the big picture future on many counts, the grand, and the smaller scale. Some of those matters are discussed in this edition of Scottish Policy Now; we hope you find some of it interesting.

By Professor Richard Kerley

Issue 14 - December 2016

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