what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Deepening the Scottish debate

There’s been a lot of discussion in the past decade about the extent to which such things as the social media and blogs are changing the media and politics. I am no fan of newspapers. Indeed I have not bought one for 20 years. Although I go to The Guardian website every morning, I do so for its articles rather than news - simply because media coverage of critical issues such as the debate on Scottish Independence is so superficial. Indeed, lets call a spade a spade - its piss-poor! 
The media and politicians are caught in a vicious circle of one-sided simplifications. The marketing philosophy which is our new religion has everyone convinced that the public does not have the attention span of a gnat. So we are fed a steady diet of headlines and short statements.

Weekly and monthly journals are not much better – The London Review of Books and Vanity Fair are rare in the licence they (occasionally) give to writers such as James Meek and Michael Lewis to write 10,000 word articles. For serious writing, you have to go bi-monthly journals such as New Left Review or The Political Quarterly - although, so far, even these titles have failed to give the issue of Scottish Independence the attention it deserves….

To get serious consideration, you have to go to a few dedicated websites and blogs. In the posts of the last couple of days I referred to the website of the UK Government - which has been issuing a series of issue assessments called “Scottish Analysis”. The UK Parliament’s Select Committee on Scottish Affairs has also been conducting its own hearings and reports (although the latter are seen as rather partial)

Probably the most useful website is one set up 2 years ago on the initiative of academics across the law schools of the Scottish universities. It seeks to provide an independent framework within which the key questions concerning Scotland's constitutional future can be aired and addressed – and is called The Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum. Its site gives all the key documents, a timeline and offers links to current debate. 

Two very useful blogs have been active for some years – Devolution Matters is an individual blog which 
aims to help inform debate about devolution and the UK’s ‘territorial constitution’, drawing on my academic and professional knowledge.  Much of the debate tends to be conducted in black-and-white terms (‘devolution’ versus ‘independence’ and so forth), when the reality is more complicated.  This blog will try to illuminate current issues, and explain the constitutional, technical and administrative issues involved.  It draws on my knowledge of those matters, which means it focuses chiefly on devolution to Scotland and Wales, and the implications of that for the UK as whole.  I am less involved in issues relating to Northern Ireland or the governance of London, and so have less to say about those issues.
UK Constitutional Law is a collective blog which goves public law scholars the opportunity to expatiate on a range of constitutional issues of which the devolution of power is only one.
One important post considered the uncertainties surrounding a “yes” result – looking in particular at the timetable and the complications which would ensue from the uncertainties about (i) EU negotiations, (ii) the General UK election of 2015 and(iii) the Scottish elections of 2016.

Finally a new project at the IPPR Think Tank has started to explore a “Devo More”option – against the possibility that the Scottish people reject Independence but wish to continue (as they certainly do) the push for greater powers.

This is the third in a series of postings this week on the issue of Scottish Independence - a referendum on which will be held(for the Scots) on 18 September.

No comments:

Post a Comment