Welcome to Better Nation, our new Scottish blog, built on four things its editors share: a love of ideas, an essential optimism, an anoraky obsession with politics, and a particular interest in the nation of Scotland – as it has been, as it stands now, and its future prospects.
The title comes from Dennis Lee, famously quoted by Alasdair Gray (and attributed to Gray on the walls of Holyrood itself): “Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation”. The three of us believe devolution has been a pretty successful endeavour thus far, but that the current constitutional arrangements are unlikely to be the final settled will of the Scottish people.
As a result, it is already a better nation than it was when the Vigil camped out under Calton Hill, but even the most cursory glance around Scotland shows continued poverty, movement away from sustainability, a business sector hardly thriving, a nervous public sector, stretched voluntary organisations and shortcomings in our democracy.
Better Nation is a very healthy sign of the new Scottish ideas-blogosphere - two Green-aligned (but SNP friendly) and one PhD student interested in autonomous movements, turning their pub and phone discussions into a very useful and thoughtful platform for Scottish self-determinist issues. Greens in Scotland are an interesting force - advocates of independence, but critical of the SNP's mainstream economic, energy and infrastructure policies. This will be a space to watch.