Just over a week ago I attended a conference on the above hosted by Scotland’s Futures Forum at the Scottish Parliament. I shall write more on the conference later but I just want to mention here what a great day it was. The first part of the morning was taken up with speakers giving their slant on what we in Scotland and what the UK as a whole has done about poverty and inequality. There were some discussions about whether there is any difference and, I think, a general view that the extremes of inequality in the UK create the poverty. Later we had a series of soapboxes where a variety of speakers had four minutes to speak on a specific topic followed by four minutes questions/discussion, then in the afternoon a cafe conversation discussing how we think Scotland can/will move over the next ten years.
There was plenty of plain speaking during the day and many great suggestions at the plenary session. Despite the current crisis, the mood of the day was generally optimistic and I left feeling fired up again. Particular praise must go the the Presiding Officer of the Parliament who hosted and chaired the day (with significant help from the journalist Keith Aitken). Some of the comments about politicians were less than complimentary but the Presiding Officer never flinched and thanked everyone for their contribution. I’m looking forward to the final report which should be available here. An audio of the day is available here.