Sunday, 31 October 2010

The State we are in.

This is one of the best articles on the Ukanian state I have read in a long time...

In “Britain of the cuts”, the present Scottish Government has become the last bastion of faith in a public-service state. It upholds beliefs which were once shared all over the UK: that health and prescriptions, school meals and university education, care and public transport for the old, should all be free, the state’s honouring of the contract between citizen and ruler.

But the Scottish bastion is now isolated, and the waters are rising around its walls. The huge cuts in Westminster’s block grant may force the Holyrood government to abandon these pledges. 

Scotland is a nation with half a state. If that half-state is prevented from doing its duty, then some will conclude that 11 years of devolution have been a waste of time. 

And others, looking ahead in anger, will demand a whole state for the future.

About the author:
Described by the historian Eric Hobsbawm as “perhaps the most brilliant student I ever had”, Neal Ascherson is a distinguished journalist and author as well as a visiting professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. His books include Black Sea: The Birthplace Of Civilisation And Barbarism (Vintage, £9.99) and Stone Voices: The Search For Scotland (Granta, £9.99).

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