It seems that in Scottish politics the word of the week is “stuck”.
In an emotional interview with Holyrood magazine, former First Minister Jack McConnell shared his dismay at the state of Scottish politics. He revealed the depths of his frustration at how a parliament he has longed for has failed to deliver on its potential. This prompted a flurry of engaging articles on devolution: Chris Deerin’s “The tragic failures of devolution”, Euan McColm’s “Scotland is stuck and only Nicola Sturgeon can unstick it”, Alex Massie’s “A small country needs bigger political ideas” and our own Henry Stannard’s “Swinney, McConnell and the failure of devolution”.
We agree Scotland is stuck. We want to move Scotland forward, with energy, drive and fresh ideas for what we can do today, rather than waiting for a mythologised future tomorrow. We want ideas from across the political spectrum and everyone is invited to contribute, no matter your party or constitutional position. It’s important for us all to remember that challenging our collective failures doesn’t make us unpatriotic or any less Scottish.
Pessimists will say that Scottish politics has been mired in stagnation for so long that hoping for change is unrealistic. Well, change is always possible and is the law of life.
Kenny Farquharson makes the interesting observation that the Scottish government’s new permanent secretary, which Sturgeon would have had “substantial input” on, is far from a constitutional maverick and instead hails from the Department for Work and Pensions. Not exactly the obvious choice for a First Minister set on tooling up for a constitutional scrap.
While the speculation over Nicola Sturgeon’s political future will inevitably rumble on, it’s not hard to imagine Sturgeon looking back at her long, uninterrupted and uncontested time in power with regrets. If Donald Dewar is the king of devolution, then Sturgeon is its reluctant queen – who is sincere in her desire to improve Scots lives. She will want to leave a positive legacy and Farquharson speculates that the new permanent secretary is an indication of her priorities over the next few years.
We can hope, but we don’t have to wait for Sturgeon’s conscience or opposition parties to get creative. ScotlandCan is campaigning daily for change. So come join us, take part and contribute to building a better Scotland today.
After all, impatience is a virtue.