To enjoy all the benefits of our website
Chris Deerin is the New Statesman's contributing editor (Scotland).
For the majority of Scottish nationalists, independence is a goal that overrides all failures.
The departure of the Scottish finance minister over text messages to a 16-year-old boy leaves the party firefighting on too many fronts.
Nicola Sturgeon must focus on governing and show that “patience and respect” are more than just words.
Increasing support for an illegal wildcat referendum is undermining the party’s attempt to win over unionist voters.
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.