The title of what Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced yesterday, ‘Job Support Scheme’, flatters to deceive. The key thing to be aware of is that employers are being asked to pay one-third of the topping up of a worker’s wage who has been moved from full-time to part-time hours, which many of them are not going […]

Sunak’s ‘Job Support Scheme’ is a deception


Are you a ‘Kurzarbeit’ or a ‘chômage partiel’ person? UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make an important statement to the House of Commons this afternoon about what will replace the furlough scheme at the end of October, with debate rife about whether German or French models will be preferred, or something completely different altogether.  The Kurzarbeit […]

Beyond furlough


Exactly six months today since full lockdown, Scotland is back in a mini-lockdown again. This time, only other people’s homes are off-limits. As in England, pubs will shut at 10pm. There are good reasons to be sceptical that these measures will be sufficient to contain the spread of covid-19. They appear suspiciously like applying maximum […]

Six months since lockdown, is ‘Test and Protect’ ready?


“We’re taking one step forward, five steps back,” Devi Sridhar, professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh and on the Scottish Government’s covid-19 advisory group, wrote yesterday, in summing up her exasperation about the covid-19 situation in the UK. She’s not wrong.  Lockdown was a big social sacrifice, one where the vulnerable suffered […]

‘One step forward, five steps back’


Another year, another banking scandal. They’re like clock-work these days. This time, it’s the FinCEN files: a leak of 2,657 documents from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury that deals with money laundering. The files total $2 trillion worth of transactions, and contain 2,121 ‘SARs’, Suspicious Activity Reports which […]

The FinCEN files: What you need to know


September 18th. The sixth anniversary of Indyref. I’m sure I am not alone among Source Direct subscribers in wondering if we will ever see as politically vibrant times again as the summer of 2014, when it felt like there wasn’t a person in Scotland who wasn’t actively engaged in shaping the country’s future. So much […]

Don’t lose sight of what made 2014 special


‘A fish rots from its head’ is an old Chinese proverb that I like. When any system begins to fail, look to the top to figure out why. The international system is not headed by Boris Johnson, he is merely an opportunist looking to take advantage of new trends to protect his interests. No, if […]

Rule-breaking is the new normal in the era of US unilateralism


The Scottish Household Survey has just been published. This data provides the most detailed account of the demographic make-up of Scotland’s communities, and how it has changed over time. It also provides information on people’s views and beliefs on a number of issues, from climate change to religious belonging. Here, we will focus on what the […]

Scotland’s communities: divided by money


There is a constitutional curiosity in the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill which professor Michael Keatings, Centre for Constitutional Change director, has identified, and is worth reflecting on. Until now the UK Government operated a system of powers which was fundamentally different from that of the EU. Some powers are reserved and some are devolved, but […]

Britain’s new unitary state


Some good news – kind of. The Royal Bank of Scotland’s latest Purchasing Managers’ Index report suggests things are starting to get built and sold again. A PMI rate above 50 suggests activity is expanding rather than contracting, and Scotland’s August PMI was 55.8, ahead of Northern Ireland and Wales but behind all English regions. […]

Scotland’s looming financial storm