Nice, typically probing piece from Gerry Hassan, asking if the Scotland’s settled view of itself as a progressive has actually benefited its people in the era of devolution:
We need to ask if Scotland has told itself that it is this centre-left nation, anti-Tory, anti-New Labour – why has our politics not advanced this agenda in such a favourable climate? We have a Parliament with a host of political parties which profess to be social democratic, and a decade of significant public spending increases. This has been ideal conditions to test the strength of the thesis that Scotland is this proud, rich centre-left country.
The last decade of Scotland has shown the profound limits of devolution – both in terms of resources, ideas and capacity – and the power of the forces of caution and conservatism – despite our belief that we are radicals, rebels and challengers of orthodoxy. There were several accounts of devolution, but the dominant, prevailing one which emerged was not about transforming Scottish society or a supposed ‘new politics’. Instead, it was about legitimising the existing vested interests and forces of institutional Scotland. [Emphasis added]