Sun over HolyroodThe main reason for this morning’s post is for James, Jeff and Malc to jointly and officially welcome Kate (aka The Burd) onto the Better Nation team. We have always wanted this blog to be as outward-looking and as inclusive as possible, and part and parcel with that is an openness to increase our number of editors as time rolls on. We started with three and it surely won’t stop at four. Aside from the regular content that we will continue to do our best to cobble together, we will always welcome guest posts to boost debate further, particularly now that we have the changed conditions at the Scottish Parliament.  So if you are interested in guesting, do get in touch. We hope you’ll agree that the blog is all the better for the myriad of voices we’ve featured recently.

The key question for this blog is this: does a majority SNP Government make for a Better Nation? That remains to be seen, but there is perhaps some irony in the fact that Thursday’s 2011 election result was delivered simultaneously with a No vote to AV, as if Scotland was looking at its political options, knew that Alex Salmond was the only show in town for FM, that it was fed up with radical measures being held up for the sake of political opportunism, and then acted accordingly.

Minimum pricing, council tax freezes and independence referendums brought in unobstructed may be a good thing (from a nationalist perspective) but five uncompromising SNP budgets may bring problems. If Scotland benefited from the other Holyrood parties debating budget proposals then, by extension, Scotland will arguably be poorer from one party having the power to push through what it wants. On environmental credentials and despite the aim of 100% renewables by 2020 (with coal and nuclear still operational for export), it is worth being sceptical of the intentions of a party that had to be forced to keep its own climate change targets and remains intent on coal burning and road building. However, throughout 2011-16, we will always endeavour to give credit for good ideas and criticise when we think necessary.

Independence is of course the issue that has drawn the most scrutiny and it is true that Scotland has a momentous debate, and vote, on its future in the coming years but with 2015 already pencilled in for that decision, there is much for the new Government to do within the current devolved structure.

This is a big moment for Scotland and the SNP, a big party with big ambitions, big personalities and clear intentions that has taken both of the nation’s reins. It’s also clear that there are serious challenges for the other parties, especially Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens. It is a good thing then that we at Better Nation have expanded our team to try to make sense of it all.

We are therefore delighted that Kate will be an equal partner and regular contributor to the Better Nation adventure. Welcome aboard!