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ethical mistakes and certainly not On the programme, did the SNP's
conference managed to complete the lengthy process of positioning the
party for the referendum campaign? Some strategists reckon at the NATO
policy change was the final component in a package of changes
designed to set the SNP on course for the most significant vote in
its history. Good evening. That may have been the most eventful SNP
conference in recent years. Most party members probably hoped the
excitement would be repeated any time before the referendum, at
least. While the SNP vote on NATO policy, setting SNP against -- MSP
against MSP, it also seems to have completed the party's policy
position in time to get stuck into the proper referendum campaign.
Suzanne Allan has been investigating the extent of the SNP
has completed and jigsaw of policy elements suitable for their
independence campaign. -- completed a jigsaw.
The clock is ticking down to an independence referendum in two
years' time. These delegates are in a hurry, eager to fast forward to
Yesterday, the captain fell on an historic SNP conference in Perth. -
- the curtain fell. Fresh from signing an agreement with David
Cameron on Monday, Alex Salmond urged delegates to make a U-turn on
NATO. Does this mean the SNP have their ducks in a role? Has the
final piece of policy jigsaw fall into place? I think the SNP will
not have any other major U-turns in policy this side of the referendum,
but they still have a lot of work to do. They have to give us a lot
will detail on a number of policy areas, much more detail on economic
affairs, but substantively I don't think there will be a major change
of policy, just more detail. What is the SNP's vision of an
independent Scotland? The Queen - in her Diamond Jubilee
Year, the Queen and the royal family in general are more popular
than they have been for years. Speaking last week on the daily
politics, Andrew Neil Prest Alex Salmond on past party's support for
a referendum on whether to keep their clean or not. Alex Salmond
said it was always SNP policy to keep the monarch as head of state.
-- to keep the Queen or not. It was always the policy to retain the
king, and now the Queen, as the head of an independent state of
Scotland. You argued we had a different
policy, and I am saying we have along history of uproar monarchy
policy, which we certainly embrace with great enthusiasm. -- off a
pro-Iraqi policy. Stirling - policy is now the pound,
but it was not ever thus. The euro was once the preferred option. When
did it change? Or did it change officially?
Things have changed substantially. When the facts change, you change
your mind, you did -- changed her mind for what is right for the day.
What is right for today is the support for the optimal currency
area. Wealth fear - what would Scotland's
welfare system look like? With for the -- would free prescriptions and
pensioner travel stay? The things that have come to find
the benefits of having a Parliament in Scotland - free personal care
and the freedom for fair -- freedom of fear for our Elder Lake of
having a personal care guarantee, the ability to travel, the rights
of young people to free education, the rights of all of us to have a
health service free at the point of need - these are vital social games
-- these fatal social gains that have defined the Parliament are now
at risk. Not because we see so, but because our opponents say so.
Defence - this has been one of the most controversial policy U-turns
in recent times. Traditionally, the party has opposed NATO as well as
nuclear weapons. Many members are still against it and made this
clear at the conference. A we can agree with friends and
neighbours like Denmark and Norway that Scotland's position makes it
in their interests and our interests to be part of a mutual
defence organisation on and on nuclear bases.
A in two years' time, what the electorate will want is to know
where the SNP want to take Scotland, not what its policies are at the
moment but its aspirations for the future. The vote for independence
is for a new state, a new constitutional situation. It is not
just about the kind of policies and SNP Government will pursue. To
contrast that with where the United Kingdom is heading, it is not so
much the detail alone people will be looking for, though that will be
important, but the sense of direction - where are we going?
am joined by three guests to discuss the future shape of
Scotland with or without independent. I have no idea how
they will vote at all. Professor Robert Wright specialises in
demographics. Think-tank director Ross Martin specialises in public
service reform. Economics Professor Professor Ailsa McKay specialises
in equality and inequality issues. In three, and though we have seen
the SNP shift policy -- Ross Martin, now we have seen the SNP shift
policy on NATO, do we have a clear idea of what Annissa -- independent
Scotland would be like? I think we have an idea of the pieces of the
jigsaw puzzle, but not the nuts and bolts that would impact on every
body's everyday lives. Public service reform is clearly going to
be an area that need more detail. Professor Ailsa McKay, much of what
the SNP has emphasised thus far has been about what will be kept - the
Queen, Stirling, NATO membership. It is an odd place to start, isn't
it? Bearing in mind the immense changes that what happened? Yes, I
would like to see more emphasis on keeping the public sector and the
changes that have happened in recent years have basically cut off
a life-support system for many communities in Scotland, as recent
evidence has indicated the levels of deprivation are increasing. I
would like to see a real investment in a public sector that works for
Scotland's economy. Professor Robert Wright, the debate is a
binary 1, yes or law. Do you support the Union or opt for
independence? -- Yes or no. Where does that leave the ideas that
generate debate? That is a tough question, because there are some
real serious problems that will be here after we become independent or
not. For example, we will have to pay for the ageing population, the
youth unemployment is a big issue at the moment, used on
employability is a big problem. Restructuring at the higher
education sector to make it stronger financially, these things
will not go away and we have to think about how to actually do this.
I don't think it will necessarily be any easier or more difficult if
Scotland is independent, because these are big issues. Professor
Ailsa McKay, do you sense there is an appetite for debating issues
like the welfare system, like poverty? What are the pitch to
decide in a debate like this? -- or are they pushed to the side. They
are as an opportunity to have these debates and generate new ideas.
The global financial crisis is a crisis of ideas. We do not want to
go back to the economics that failed us. The Scottish Government
seems to be explicitly Becky dies in the models they used to frame
their economic policy is failing. - - the Scottish Government seems to
recognise. They have the next few months to come up with some new
ideas about the economy. There are new ideas and the a, it is just a
question of whether people want to come from thin, I suppose. And how
the two big parties in particular go about articulating that message,
and how they Catt -- characterised the kind of Scotland Day want to
see. We have seen Johann Lamont and the Labour Party moving in on the
universal provision agenda, and at the same time coming from the other
side we have seen Alex Salmond moving into words a lot of Labour-
type language in his speech. -- moving in towards a lot of Labour.
It will be quite an energetic fight. On that point, it is there a danger
that so many of the issues that have to be confronted economically
and in terms of welfare and all the rest of it just get left out?
Absolutely, that is the real issue. Some of these larger issues we have
mentioned here will be ignored because of the referendum. We know
these issues will not go away, so we need the details of the policies
they have sketched out recently. How will they attempt to address
these problems either under the status quo or under independence?
Hopefully, that will be part of the debate for the next to you and I
have, but I don't know how seriously we will take this. A lot
of things will have good change, and that is not a clever thing to
do when you're trying to get someone to vote for an idea. That
is one of the problems, isn't it? He were trying to get people on
board if you are pushing towards a particular goal. It is tempting to
say, I am not going to change very much here, just to play it safe.
I've think there have been positive news in terms of change. It was
quite a bold move in the last spade and and it has been in the last
four Budget rent. The last on employment statement indicated a
new and innovative approach. He did it change much, though? It is early
days. The First Minister in your minister -- in your video quoted
John Maynard Keynes. He also said that recovery is treating the
symptoms, of what you need is reform. I would like to see a
debate in the next 18 months looking at reform of our economic
systems, changing the underlying assumptions that inform economic
policy. Particularly regarding women and the economy. On that
issue - reform. Is there any scope for that? Independence is not going
to allow Scotland to do what it wants. They want to stay in the
European Union, we are a small economy and affected by things that
happen out with our shores. On the economy there are a limited number
of things we can do a loan. However, there are some things we can do one
a were warned that we can probably do better under independence. For
example, immigration policy, we can do that better. Defence, it is
impossible given a our sized, so it is trade offs. You talk about
demographics. Just how great a challenge is that? How bad is that
problem? I think it is the main problem, the main challenge. It is
not a problem if you're prepared to allow people to have a low standard
of living. We don't want that and politicians don't, because people
with a low standard of living do not vote for you. People have free
care, they have a favourable attitude towards immigration, these
are all good things. It would work better under independence, but it
is a massive financial challenge. Just how big? In terms of money? By
I don't know, I have fared an estimate that the ageing app
population in the UK it is the same as the cost of recapitalising the
bike. -- the ageing population. Is the same as the cost of
recapitalising the banks. One that point, you see that services are
ripe for reform, presumably to address some of these issues?
interesting thing is a lot of reform is happening under the radar.
At local level, partly because of the electoral system we have in
local Government, where all parties are in bed with each other, it is
very difficult for them to criticise each other, so they can
get on with the process of reform under the radar. That is actually
happening. He yet, what we saw from Alex Salmond and from Johann Lamont
is a very, very divisive debate now taking place on the future of
public service reform. If we think there is going to be consensus on
it, we can forget that. The MEB consensus on direction, but not
presentation, and politics is 90% Her as we look to balance the
budget, deal with an ageing population, is there a platform for
a debate about it was fundamental ideals? Or are we seeing them shut
down as we look at the wider debate?
The wider debate gives us a platform for those issues. The
point about the ageing population, only today a report was produced
that indicated the gender gap in savings. It means that women save
less for retirement. We know they live longer. They are saving less
because of the squeezing of the public-sector. Women have been hit
harder by the recession. The longer term impact will be felt by the
Scottish economy. Do you see a need for higher taxes
to address these issues? That is one particular route.
Public service reform is another. There are many ways to skin a cat.
But we must take everything seriously. The budget was for jobs
and growth. That indicate we're still framing of thinking with a
mainstream economic approach - despite the rhetoric about
challenging and reforming of thinking. So there is a long way to
go off. The SNP have shed some
controversial policies. Have they found the mid-point, we admit
Scotland lies? The aspirations of your average Scot?
Regardless of their opinions it will be controversial and the
situation of whether people like it or not. It is not possible to
please everybody all the time. But you must be honest about tough
problems that require tough solutions and the must own up to
that. I am not convinced they are doing enough of that in the run-up
to the referendum. There is time and the SNP plan to
announce more detail for the next 18 months. What would you look for
from them? For a reconnection of people and
police. The SNP rose to power in the period from 2007 onward. -- a
reconnection of people and place. That reconnecting, engendering a
sense of civic pride and belonging, it is something that I think will
come through in a fairly imaginative way from both of the
camps. You talked about public service
reform. If there is one thing they could do, what we did be?
Take for example free tuition fees. You could take out either before of
university -- for the year of university or six a year of high
school. There is a pack disconnect between those two levels. You can
strip out inefficiency and the system and that be a good marker
for public services as a whole. Fair enough, we're talking about
independence, but public services, schools, health care, quite often
we take the easy path. We do not opt for tough, radical reform?
Nor, I think we're quite radical. But it is time for all parties to
embrace that challenge and think about what they mean by the economy.
Moved beyond narrow and exclusive indicators like a growth as a
performance measure for success. Use the framework and a more
realistic way and apply that to public sector reform.
Give us an example. Gross national happiness? That is a different
matter. How would you quantify success in independence.
It has to be home-grown. I think if we work realistically with it as
opposed to having just rhetoric and political statements, and apply the
National Performance Framework indicators to have a spending
allocations, that would be a good starting point.
If you take the concentration of town level, most Scottish towns
need to rain and that there footprint and start to think about
how we use town-centre as for different functions. -- bring back
their footprint. We need to use time centres for social and
cultural activity as well. I am not so optimistic. The next
four a case will be extremely expensive. An ageing population,
pain for independence, competition from Asia. -- the next four decades.
For that you will need a government expenditure and more money.
Increase taxes? Yes, they're going to have to increase taxes. It also
makes savings where savings can be made. Seoul, look for savings, and
public sector reform, etc.. But we need growth, because we need the
money. Particularly over the next four decades.
You ask if we are radical enough. I think if we are talking about and
you discourse about what we mean from the economy and value, I would
like to see the SNP and all political parties look at the
management and care of the Scottish household.
There we must leave it. Factual very much indeed. Before we go,
time for a look at tomorrow's papers. The Scotsman, Fleet
grounded after a helicopter ditches. That is the crash into the sea.