Melting Pot 2022
What a challenging year 2022 has been. Three Prime Ministers and four chancellors. War in Europe. The kind of inflation we haven’t seen since the 1970s, and the looming threat of stagflation. The perils of Brexit starting to show their fangs. The winter cold biting more bitterly than ever as we all try to manage our soaring heating bills.
Each of these crises has been as relevant to Scotland as it has to any other part of the UK. But we’ve had our own problems too, of course. This has been a tough 12 months for our NHS as it attempts to catch up with the backlog caused by Covid, despite staff shortages and major budget tensions. Our schools have also been playing catch-up – two years’ absence from the classroom has left an unhappy legacy among our young people that will take time to address. There have been angry debates about controversial reforms to gender law, planning for a National Care Service, and the prospect of another independence referendum.
At Reform Scotland, we’ve sought both to address some of these immediate issues and keep our usual eye on the longer term. We’ve published influential research on reordering school governance for the 21st century, and on how to make the Scottish tax system fresher and fairer. We’ve looked at the need for a more sensible funding arrangement for our universities, and at what more should be done to decarbonise Scottish energy. You can see this year’s research here.
Our events schedule has been as enjoyable and educational as ever – guests in 2022 included Britain’s foremost security strategy expert Sir Lawrence Freedman, on the war in Ukraine; Peter Mandelson discussing Labour’s returning popularity; Ruth Davidson, David Gauke, Jesse Norman and Donald Cameron on the future of the Conservative Party; Andrew Marr giving his take on this weird political year. We also held events on the future of the Civil Service, reform of the Scottish tax system, and the government’s planned reforms to the education system. All of our events can be viewed here.
It’s been another strong year on our blog, where we host expert and stimulating new thinking on the big issues of the day. We’ve had Scottish ministers and SNP frontbenchers setting out the thinking behind government policy, and some bold challenges to the consensus on education and the NHS. We are delighted to share all of this year’s articles with you in our annul compendium.
As we head into the Christmas period, the team at Reform Scotland would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year, in whatever form it took. At times it strikes me that it’s still harder than it should be to keep a think tank running in Scotland, even though I would argue we’re needed more today than ever. But I’m always inspired and enthused by the conversations I have with the incredible people we engage with on a day to day basis – there is so much desire out there for our nation to be better than it is, and such untapped excellence and expertise in every sector and corner. We will continue our mission full-heartedly in 2023, and look forward to you joining us. See you next year.