Rethinking Our Politics: The Political and Constitutional Future of Scotland and the UK

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A new book by former First Minister Henry McLeish
 
The future of the Union and Scotland are big issues and we should not underestimate the significance of our date with destiny, and equally important, what happens after that.
 

A new book by former First Minister Henry McLeish
 
The future of the Union and Scotland are big issues and we should not underestimate the significance of our date with destiny, and equally important, what happens after that.
 
This Constitutional issue has dominated the politics of Scotland for nearly two decades and it seems likely this will continue. The big issues at the heart of our politics will not go away.

Our lives are inextricably linked to the complex world of political ideas, democratic processes, well-informed discussion, common sense and inspiring leadership. Well, that is what is supposed to happen. The reality is often very different and that is what this part of the book deals with.

For thousands of years people have mused over the meaning of life, debated how life should be organised, argued about how our resources should be distributed and priorities identified and worked towards a sense of order and discipline in relation to the relationships between people.

Our politics and democracy have evolved to do just that, but today many people now question whether these aims are being fulfilled and why solutions are not being found for the problems of the 21st century. For a growing number of people this represents a crisis of politics.

Scotland is on a constitutional journey with the referendum being the next big test of public opinion. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the debate about Scotland’s future will continue, as will the search for solutions to Scotland’s most intractable and enduring problems.

The current constitutional, political and democratic setup isn’t delivering solutions to urgent issues fast enough, so what other options are there for serious problem solving?

A victory for YES or NO in this referendum will inevitably reflect a lack of real consensus about the best way forward, will reinforce deep political divisions within our country, will sharpen tensions between Scotland and the Union, will see unresolved the weaknesses and problems of the Union and is likely to see some really important issues side-stepped or given less priority.

This is why it is vital for the constitutional debate to be viewed as part of the wider debate on our politics and our democracy in both Scotland and the UK. For Labour in particular the importance of this cannot be over emphasised. The Union is being severely tested at this point in time, but so is the Labour Party in Scotland.

This is a book of reflections. In thinking about the future of Scotland, we need to break free from the current debate and help Scots seize the moment, stir the imagination of what could be and help them shape more effectively their own future and the direction of their country.

Rethinking our Politics: The political and constitutional future of Scotland and the UK by former first minister Henry McLeish is available from www.luath.co.uk/rethinking-our-politics.html