At a high level, there are three key strands or headings which capture the key areas that befit the venture whilst delivering the greatest and broadest benefit, namely:
Rebooting the Scottish economy: For over four hundred years, Scottish industrial and economic output has cycled through majoring in farming and agriculture, to heavy industry, to, latterly, banking and the service economy. Call centres are the fastest growing economic sector in Scotland today. There’s nothing wrong with building an economy around call centres if yours is the fastest growing economy on the planet. With regret, that is not the case with Scotland. The purpose of this strand is to reconcile the long-since recognised creativity, drive and intelligence of Scottish people with the emerging business norms and practices of a twenty-first century global economy, where billion dollar businesses can be built by individuals on their devices and information shared at the speed of thought. Such an economy poses no disadvantage to Scotland today barring the physical requirements for infrastructure and the commercial absolutes of capital and human resources, which are covered in the second strand. This first strand would aspire to establish an economy which leverages modern working practices to provide work for all, which recycles existing physical spaces to provide workspace and facilities for all, which raises new capital and new routes to market for Scottish entrepreneurs and producers, which harnesses the power of the Scottish network to support the incubation of new businesses, and which looks at the opportunity to underpin this new economy with the creation of a not-for-profit Scottish challenger bank and a bespoke crypto-currency.
Putting information in the hands of everyone: At the heart of this new information economy is, self-evidently, the free flow of knowledge and information for Scottish people. This strand would therefore focus on delivering a range of benefits from free high-speed internet access and basic computing facilities which are free for all at the point of use, to looking at the repurposing and re-establishment of public libraries in an information technology economy, to establishing a world-class technology education and research facility for Scottish people, to creating new classes of educational certification, to, ultimately, giving rise to a modern, barrier-free commercial and social infrastructure that empowers Scots to make their mark on the global economy.
Improving well-being: Well-being in this case exists on two levels, physical and social. On the physical side, Scots need to exude and promote the health and vigour of the man on the front of every box of Scotts Porridge Oats when I was a kid or the chap from the original Irn Bru logo, and less like more recent stereotypes of Scottish health such as Rab C Nesbitt or the corpulent Scottish character from the Austin Powers movies. Achieving this would involve exploring at the tactical level, the creation of free-to-use public sports facilities in every open space, the rollout of a national “On yer bike” initiative including free bikes for all and cycle lanes in all major cities, an American style bursary and draft scheme to encourage young people into both sport and education, the creation of one or more Scottish Sports Academies, and, ultimately, the foundation of a national institute of sport not dissimilar to that established, with great success, in Australia. The social side is less easy. Great progress has been made since the dark days of the Sixties and Seventies when Scotland was synonymous with a level of social decay and neglect, accelerated by the parallel decline in Scottish industry, that was amongst the worst of any Western economy. Great improvements have been made since the Eighties. Building on those improvements would include additional funding for public sporting and leisure facilities, the funding of free tickets for young people to attend sport and cultural events, and, to address the particular stigma of anti-social behaviour in Scottish inner-cities, the establishment of a series of certificate-earning schemes and initiatives, based around skills training, to engage young people during evenings, weekends and holiday periods.