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Chris Deerin is the New Statesman's contributing editor (Scotland).
As well as forging a new unionist narrative, the government is expected to spend lavishly in Scotland.
The truth is that for too long Scottish Labour has lacked a leader with the necessary force of character and clarity of message to gain a hearing.
The party cannot hope to be more nationalist than the SNP, or more unionist than the Conservatives, so it must find a distinct platform and language.
The party knows that it must strike a generous and reassuring tone to win over sceptical unionists.
New international rankings showing pupils falling further behind in maths and science confirm the desperate need for change.
The party’s unambiguous opposition to independence could help it remain the country’s second largest force.
The country’s socialists view independence, not the UK, as the vehicle for transformative change.
Politicians will inevitably seek to influence the board and management of the new institution.
The party must conduct a serious and honest conversation about the Curriculum for Excellence and its unintended consequences.
The contest north of the border could determine whether Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister and whether the country moves closer to independence.