Impact or Economic Policy - OBR

UK Economy: Austerity or Modest Investment

The Conversation website invites leading academics to check the facts in political proposals, particularly in this run up to a General Election. So who is correct on the UK economy, the traditional Westminster parties who back austerity, or the progressives, who want to make modest investment to help the economy grow? Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, Professor of Economics, and Fellow of Merton College at University of Oxford, analyses the arguments.

Snowy Park Fence

Big Snow In Dumfries

We had a proper dump of snow overnight, unusual for our sheltered glen. I took the good camera out on my travels and captured these images.

Snowy NIthside Dock Park in monochrome snow Our POV solar panels don't need clearing but the hot water panel does.

Our self-cleaning photovoltaic solar panels earn their keep but I still have to brush the snow off of the solar water heater.St Michael's School in the snow.

St Michael’s Primary SchoolThe roofs of St Joseph's College in the snow.

St Joseph’s College

An Enduring Settlement

Get Your Enduring Settlement Here

Still on track with Gordon’s timetable we had the publication yesterday of ‘Scotland in the United Kingdom: An Enduring Settlement.’ This is the draft bill to be left to whichever party or parties wins the General Election to implement.

I can’t help thinking that the title is a bit of wishful thinking. Unionists seem to be under the delusion that the referendum result is once and for all and that ‘fulfilling the vow’ makes an end of the constitutional debate in the United Kingdom. That’s not how democracy works. I don’t hear any Labour supporters saying that they will be voting Conservative in May because, last time, Labour were defeated once and for all. We all have our beliefs and opinions and the great thing about living in a democracy is that we get to openly discuss these and we try and make governments that represent the most widely held views. Since the support for any idea changes over time, a democratic society will adapt to reflect this.

So here it is: an enduring settlement. On the unionist side it’s been hyped up as home rule for Scotland. Clearly it is not, as there are plenty of aspects of Scottish daily life that will still be controlled from Westminster. Maintaining the hype only weakens the case. As it is there is an interesting set of powers here and it is up to the Scottish Government to see what can be done with them. First of all we need to see what kind of UK Government we get in May and what deals need to be done to make a ruling coalition. I don’t see UKIP supporting this bill and the Conservatives may be reliant on them to get into power. On the other hand, it looks like Labour may need some kind of informal support from SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens to get across the winning line. There will be pressure there for more devolution and not just for Scotland.

So, between now and May, download a copy of ‘Scotland in the United Kingdom: An Enduring Settlement‘ and have a read. Then we await the last step of Gordon’s timetable and see what our ‘No’ vote won for us.