SBR4: Religion, Independence and the Weather

Welcome to this week’s roundup, now moved back to Sunday. We’d wanted to try a different day for various reasons, not least in order not to clash with other more esteemed and well established roundups, but Sunday just seems the natural day to round up the weeks’ blogging goodness. (Even better if I’d been organised enough to get this up at a reasonable time of day.) What say you, people?

Anyway, here are the goodies. First up, Jarndyce points out that Labour’s shiny new inclusive aproach to faith schools is nothing of the sort.

[T]his is nothing more than prejudice dressed up as liberal neutrality.


Over at Rhetorically Speaking, the talk is of veils, crosses and beards. Mike Power, who has recently moved to Aberdeen, approaches the discussion from a slightly different angle.
Osama Saeed explains how the debate initiated by Jack Straw is having real world effects on Muslims in Britian. He believes we are seeing a riding tide of prejudice and violence which is a direct consequence of New Labour’s shameless political opportunism. (Not a Scottish blog link but Jonathan Freedland’s article – “If this onslaught was about Jews, I would be looking for my passport” – mentioned in the comments to Osama’s post, is also worth a read. Unfortunately, there’s every possibility that forcing Mulsims to leave the country would make some in our “tolerant” society very happy indeed. )

Shuggy looks at another religious political issue; the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has come out in support of Scottish independence. A matter of faith?

With support for the Scottish Conservatives running at an unimpressive 14%, Scottish Political News considers drastic action. Even a liberal leftie like me must concur that “there is definitely more than 14% of Scots who think in a centre right way”.

Over at Freedom and Whisky, David Farrer ancipicates the very real possibility that Scottish independence is on its way and suggests one way in which it could be made to work. That’s if we are able to significantly reduce the size of the public sector in order to make sure an independent Scotland is not beset by economic stagnation.

Letter writer extraordinare, Neil Craig, also has some thoughts on the possibly inevitable move towards independence. Neil made it to the letters pages of the Scotsman.
Richard Thomson reports on the aftermath of the SNP conference. There’s a palpable sense of optimism for the forthcoming Scottish elections. He also questions the wisdom of Nicol Stephen’s opposition to an independence referendum. Is Nicol a Liberal Democrat or not?

Angry Steve asks a £1m question. Would you?

Continuing with climate change, David Farrer makes an excellent point concerning scientific consensus. Even if, like me, you believe the current consensus on climate change is accurate and a cause of great concern, it is extremely dangerous to ostracise and discourage scientists who challenge conventional thinking on this subject as in any other. In science, progress has always been brought about by those who have challenged existing paradigms. (Of course, I’d also point out that many challenges to current climate change theories are funded (often in not exactly transparent ways) by large companies with a vested interest in a particular answer. That isn’t a great way to do science either.)

Not sure whether either or both of the protagonists will thanks me for including these posts but my co-host doctorvee has had an interesting exchange of views, ahem, with the Devil’s Kitchen. Start here, then here and finally (for now anyway) here. The part which really rings my bell is doctorvee’s view on whether you believe in government intervention in the economy:

Once you accept that some government intervention can be a force for good, you have voided your ability to use “small government” as a mantra, a panacea for all economic ills.

That seems to me to be the nub of the issue. I believe, for example, that government intervention in the form of taxation as a means to redistribute income is necessary because the free market does not distribute income in a way which is consistent with creating a fair, equitable and tolerable world for human beings to live in. It is surely more difficult to argue against that as a point of principle if you adopt a very similar position with regard to government intervention in the labour market.

And finally, Boorach highlights the effects of the smoking ban in Scotland. Would it surprise you even slightly to learn that isn’t quite what the S.E. were hoping for?

That’s it for this week. Your comments are always welcome and please remember to send your suggestions to us at scottishroundup [at] gmail [dot] com for next week. And if you want to suggest ways we could do this better, or make any other comment, feel free. Thanks muchly.


  1. It is an interesting debate, DK.

    I’d highlight this with reference to my point above:
    “Now, it may be that there is a small economic hit in slightly restricting the numbers and the type of people that are allowed to come here but then that is the price that we pay for government.”

    Immigration boosts the global economy too remember and this would set off a whole multiplier effect which would generate further increased growth at home. There are major economic gain to be made by freeing up the labour market.

    Anyway, consider if I said this:
    “Now, it may be that there is a small economic hit in redistributing income through taxes but then that is the price that we pay for government.”

    If I argue that case, as in taxing the richest people heavily and transfering that money to the poorly paid, libertarians (as I understand things anyway) will tend to say that I’m a typical leftie who’d rather have everyone poor and more equal even if that means everyone will be less well off in total. This characterisation, although obviously an exaggeration, is roughly what I do believe.

    But if Libertarians are prepared to accept that some government intervention which limits economic growth is acceptable, and that the free market cannot be the ultimate arbiter of economics when it comes social issues, that is sort of in direct conflict with their principle on low taxes.

    Economically, it is accepted that we’d all be better off if in the long term if we allowed the free movement of labour but this wealth should be sacrificed for social reasons. It’s the same argument I make for redistributive taxes.

    On the face of it, UKIP style limits to immigration seem to me to be based on self-interest. Government intervention to protect our priveleged lifestyle (even at the cost of lower economic growth which is to the detrement of everyone) is OK but government intervention to reduce the disparity between rich and poor isn’t.

    I see that there are pragmatic issues but are they not ultimately pragmatic issues of protectionist self-interest?