Jock Shock

  • 19 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Entrepreneurial Spark "hatchery" in Edinburgh

What does Scotland's economy most need at the moment? A great big shock, suggests Robert Crawford, former chief executive of Scottish Enterprise.

It is 13 years since he quit the top position in developing Scotland's economy, scunnered by the attacks on his organisation and him personally.

Now, with the perspective of also having run an English development agency, and while chairman of the Economic Development Association Scotland, he issues a warning that the challenge facing the Scottish economy is far greater than any of our policy-makers seem to appreciate.

And Brexit might be just the jolt that is needed.

I heard from him in the making of a radio documentary about "Start-up Scotland". With radio producer Dave Howard, I set out to find out what has happened to the Business Birthrate Strategy.

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Big Budget choices - the debate starts here

  • 14 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Scottish Parliament Image copyright Getty Images

It's a budget, but not as we've known them. Not in Scotland, anyway. And rarely in Westminster either.

We knew things were tight financially. But the level of uncertainty and budgetary change is unprecedented.

Read full article Big Budget choices - the debate starts here

Weak foundations to lofty ambitions

  • 13 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Superglass building, Stirling
Image caption Tens of thousands of tonnes are recycled at the plant in Stirling

In Stirling, in one of these commercial estates dedicated to car showrooms and warehouse shopping, and a left turn into the Superglass plant feels a little like a journey into the 1950s.

The brick built buildings, the warehouses and the administration block are little changed from 1953, when the plant began its transformation from a bottle factory, or 1965, when the Queen visited.

Read full article Weak foundations to lofty ambitions

O'Leary versus 'the Halfwits'

  • 8 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Ryanair plane Image copyright PA

Michael O'Leary would do well in Edinburgh during August. The chief executive of Ryanair would make a great one-man Fringe show, not least by winding up the other established festivals.

In early September, he has a small media audience in the capital, most of it photographers, to snap his antics as he announced new routes linking Edinburgh with the sun next summer. Although the Fringe has gone, the routine is still firing off a barrage of comedy one-liners.

Read full article O'Leary versus 'the Halfwits'

Sturgeon gets down to business

  • 6 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA

It used to be known as Holyrood's Queen Speech. But there's no gilded carriage, horses or flummery on Programme for Government day.

Instead of regal bling and ermine, the star of this show rocks up in Totty Rocks togs. There's no pomp, but there is quite a lot of circumstance.

Read full article Sturgeon gets down to business

Spuds and drilling bits in oil's bargain basement

  • 4 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
North Sea oil platform

It's a brave commodities trader or government finance minister who bets the farm on the future direction of the price of Brent crude oil.

After its sharp fall two years ago, the barrel price has been swilling around the $50 mark - on raised, then lowered, expectations that OPEC will cut a deal on reducing supply to raise the price. The exporters' cartel meets in Vienna on September 26th.

Read full article Spuds and drilling bits in oil's bargain basement

Herding Scotland's sheep back into the profitable pen

  • 1 September 2016
  • From the section Scotland
sheep

Here's a job with a difference - an ambassador for Scotland's sheep.

This agri-addition to the diplomatic corps must wear wool. Enthusiasm for mutton pies is required. French language skills an advantage. And don't get too sentimental about the poor wee lambs.

Read full article Herding Scotland's sheep back into the profitable pen

In for a penny, not for the pound

  • 30 August 2016
  • From the section Scotland
currency Image copyright Getty Images

Joseph Stiglitz is one of two Nobel laureates on the Council of Economic Advisers to the Scottish government. Their status was often cited by the Scottish government in 2014 to back the economic case for independence and for a continued currency union with the rest of the UK.

That currency plan was the most intense pressure point from the Better Together campaign.

Read full article In for a penny, not for the pound

Scotland's ledger lands with a thud

  • 24 August 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Tax form and coins

Fifteen billion quid. It's a very big number. So as the deficit calculated for government spending on and in Scotland last year, rounded up a bit, does it have much meaning?

Politically, yes. The big figure that leaps out of GERS - Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland - fuels the debate about Scotland's constitutional future.

Read full article Scotland's ledger lands with a thud

Economists: Behave yourselves

  • 24 August 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Woman with young children Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One study found that women return to work on lower pay

I haven't made it to Geneva and the congress this week of the European Economic Association, but I've been following its proceedings at a distance, and on your behalf.

Of the academic papers being presented, several offer insight which complements the startling finding, published on Tuesday by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, about the lower pay rates for mothers returning to work.

Read full article Economists: Behave yourselves