Melting Pot 2021
It has been another difficult and unconventional year in politics and policy, with the Covid crisis driving all before it. The pandemic has exposed and posed serious questions about the capacity and funding of our health service and our education system, and inflicted significant damage on our economy. Some of the challenges are fresh, while some were pre-existing but have been given added impetus by events.
At Reform Scotland we’ve spent the past 12 months producing research and hosting events that have explored these issues. But we’ve also cast our net more widely, and nowhere more so than on our blog. It’s been a bumper year for content, with fantastic articles provided by familiar faces and new friends. A fair number of the pieces linked to below ended up in the next day’s newspapers and broadcast bulletins.
Whatever your take on the constitution, Blair McDougall’s punchy view on how the pro-UK side can win another independence referendum is worth a read. The article by Iain Smith, one of Scotland’s most impressive young lawyers, on how to make the justice system more compassionate and effective, turned a number of heads.
Ben Goldsmith took a look at rewilding the Highlands, while Paul Gray, former chief executive of NHS Scotland, produced two expert takes on reforming the health service which went round the sector like wildfire.
Scottish government minister Tom Arthur explored Holyrood’s tax framework and where the holes are, while Malcolm Offord – now Conservative minister Lord Offord – made some sharp suggestions about how to turbo-charge Scotland’s economy.
Amid much hysteria around climate and Cop26, Stuart Paton provided a sensible and grown-up assessment of our energy needs and progress, while Helen Chambers argued for a greater focus in social policy on prevention as opposed to mopping up afterwards.
A broad range of subjects, then, a broad range of views from intelligent and thoughtful people, and from all wings of political opinion – this is Reform Scotland at its best, a home for those who genuinely care about the nation’s future, have something to offer, and want to have a mature debate outside the restrictive, hyper-partisan strictures of party politics. I hope you enjoy our work.