It was, I wearily suppose, inevitable that someone would ask “the question of where has all this come from and why have we waited til now to see it?” At least Derek Bateman does so with a generosity of spirit which will not be found in any similar enquiry from British nationalists.

The answer is quite simple and fairly obvious when one reads the First Minister’s statement with an open mind. Doing so, it quickly becomes apparent that there is as much of continuity as innovation in Nicola Sturgeon’s programme for government. Little of what is planned could be feasible if it were not for what has gone before. For the most part, these proposals follow on from what has already been done. In many respects, they represent the natural next step.

Perhaps the most obvious example is the proposal to extend personal care to those under 65 suffering from terminal medical conditions. This would not be possible if free personal care for over-65s hadn’t already been established. Even the presumption against short prison sentences going from 3 months to 12 months is very evidently dependent on the earlier policy having been proved.

In general, much of the new programme can be seen as building on the principle of universality that the SNP administration has resolutely maintained and defended since coming to power in 2007. It’s a process rather than a collection of disconnected headline-grabbing policy statements.

Some will undoubtedly complain that the process is too slow. A few will childishly demand that the Scottish Government go straight to the end point somehow skipping all the stages along the way. But what we are seeing here is principled pragmatism in action. This is true progressive politics.

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4 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Rod MacLeod

    I once remember Winnie Ewing at Conference saying “Even if we were to suggest healthy diet and excercise for the populace
    (with a nod to the press gallery) our opponents in the media and in politics would still decry it”

  2. Alasdair Macdonald

    The ‘get on with the day job’ rhetoric certainly struck a chord with many in the electorate at the GE. Couple this with the persistent refusal to report much positive about anything the SG has done (and this also applied to Holyrood governments prior to 2007), many people would struggle to name much that any SG has done.

    Professor John Robertson is determinedly attempting to do this, as are many bloggers, although the latter have to devote much time refuting unionist mendacity.

    Mr Bell is right to indicate that the new programme for government is a continuation of what has gone before and new developments.

    It is important for all of us who seek independence for Scotland to become more aware of what is actually being achieved by Scottish Governments and to speak about them, because one of the main strands of the unionist argument is that we are not very good, we are, in the memorable words of Johan Lamont, ‘not genetically programmed to run things for ourselves’.

    1. SandyW

      Thanks Clydebuilt, was going to post a link too. Expect to see more ‘Legal’ attacks on pro-independence writers and speakers from now on – Messrs Bell and Ponsonby might be on the hit list too. Takes us into stage two of –

      ‘First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’

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