The Herald has launched a major new series into Scotland’s Future.

Beginning with the country’s relationship with the European Union, the series will focus around in-depth pieces from respected voices, beyond the usual hit and run of the news cycle. We see part of our mission as giving the nation the space to debate these important issues.

As the year progresses, we will look at oil and gas, transport, health, social care and defence and more.

We will also be hosting a virtual roundtable discussion for subscribers with Brian Taylor. It will be your chance to quiz the experts.

Here, you can find every piece published in the series so far - with this article being updated regularly with new exclusive stories.

To make sure you do not miss out on the high-quality insight, join us today by taking out a subscription for just £1 for one month here. 



Part 1: European Union 



The key hurdles an independent Scotland would have to overcome to rejoin the EU

Brexit, laws, currency, deficits, borders, passports and trade — Kirsty Hughes examines some of the key hurdles an independent Scotland would have to overcome to rejoin the EU as part of our Scotland's Future series.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full analysis here.


Sturgeon backs a second vote on independence, but not on EU membership

AN independent Scotland would be one of only a handful of countries to join the EU without a stand-alone referendum under Nicola Sturgeon’s plans.

We analyse those plans, how they differ with other SNP figures and provide comparisons with other independent nations.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full story here.


Comment: 'Scots should decide on rejoining the EU in a single-issue independence vote'

Alex Neil, a former Holyrood cabinet minister and ex-SNP MSP, argues the case for Scotland entering the EU without a second referendum on Europe.

"....Indyref2 would become a double referendum, with a vote in favour of independence being taken automatically as a vote also in favour of EU membership"

HeraldScotland:

Read the full comment here.


What the SNP's independence White Paper said about the European Union

The Scottish Government’s 650-page White Paper on Independence, published in late 2013, contained just eight pages on “Scotland in the European Union”, a sign that Brexit was yet to be taken seriously by either side of the constitutional debate.

HeraldScotland:

Read the key White Paper points on the EU here.


Independence would 'create an international border between Scotland and England'

Brexit means that EU membership would pose new challenges for an independent Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.

Chief among these would be the status and nature of their shared borders, as constitutional expert Nicola McEwen examines.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full analysis here.


Two 'critically important' negotiations an independent Scotland would face

Brexit confronts an independent Scotland with a hard choice, between unfettered access to an internal market on these islands or membership of the EU and its single market and customs union.

It also brings with it two negotiations of "critical importance", according to Philip Rycroft, the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Exiting the EU between 2017 and 2019.

HeraldScotland:

Read his analysis here.


What are the economic consequences of a post-independence international border?

Scottish independence would create an international border cutting across Britain from the North Sea to the Solway Firth.

Here, Dr Thomas Sampson from the London School of Economics examines the economic consequences of introducing a border between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full exclusive piece here.


Nine key SNP independence White Paper quotes on the EU

Of all the lines in the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence, perhaps the one rendered most contentious in light of Brexit appears in the Q&A section as question 267.

HeraldScotland:

View that, and eight other key White Paper quotes, here.


How long would it take an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU?

One of the big questions about Scottish independence is how and when an independent Scotland could rejoin the European Union.

Graham Avery, an independent analyst based in Oxford, examines that question.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full story here.


Why rejoining the EU isn't the unmitigated positive some Yes supporters believe it to be

Roz Foyer, STUC General Secretary, looks at the implications for workers' rights.

She argues that whilst the Scottish public supports re-entry to the EU, it may be less keen on the policy measures required to do so.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full story here.


'Why employment and workers' rights unlikely to be SNP priority after independence'

"The 'elephant in the room' so far is the SNP. Under an independent Scotland, which the SNP would dominate for some time, employment and workers’ rights are unlikely to be its priority for two reasons."

HeraldScotland:

Read the full expert's analysis piece here.


SNP's independence White Paper promised 'fairer economy' in the EU

THE Scottish Government White Paper on independence talked of a bigger, better, fairer economy within the EU.

HeraldScotland:

View some more key points from the 2014 document here.


Independence 'even more complicated' than Brexit for Scotland's fishing, expert warns

Independence would be “even more complicated” than Brexit for Scotland’s fisheries, an expert has said.

Dr Bryce Stewart, a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist at the University of York, said it could become “quite a heated issue” in areas such as Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

HeraldScotland: Independence 'even more complicated' than Brexit for Scotland's fishing, expert warns

Read the full comments here.


Future of farming under independence would depend on a good deal with UK

Regardless of independence, Scottish farmers are on a very different trajectory to those farming south of the Border, but lessons from Brexit should send a firm warning that any future friction at the Scottish Border will have grave consequences for the UK’s highly integrated food supply chains.

HeraldScotland: Farming

Read the full comment piece here.


Jim Sillars: SNP needs to recognise the danger devo max poses to independence

NICOLA Sturgeon is hopelessly “ill-prepared” for an independence referendum and shouldn’t even try to have one next year, a former deputy leader of the SNP has said.

Jim Sillars said “delusion” dominated the SNP-Green administration, and its shortcomings had left the Yes movement lacking the material it needed for victory.

HeraldScotland:

Read Jim Sillars' full comments here.


What the economic case for independence 'must show' ahead of Indyref2

Mairi Spowage, the director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, examines how Scotland’s future trading relationships are key to the economic case for independence.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full analysis here.


How Brexit casts doubt over Scotland’s future population

Scotland is the only part of the UK whose population is expected to fall over the next 20 years. 

David Bell, a Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, examines the impact of Brexit on Scotland's population.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full piece here.


'Scots are being failed by two governments obsessed with division'

The Herald’s Scotland’s Future series is looking at the issues affecting the nation as part of the constitutional debate.

Now it's time for Scotland's political parties to weigh in.

HeraldScotland:

Read comment from Angus Robertson, Donald Cameron, Sarah Boyack, Ross Greer and Alex-Cole Hamilton



Part 2: Oil, Gas and Energy



Scotland must 'accelerate push away from North Sea oil' despite rising energy prices

POLITICIANS have been urged to reduce the demand for oil and gas – as the impartial adviser to both the UK and Scottish government has insisted that burning more North Sea fossil fuels will do nothing to reduce energy prices for consumers.

HeraldScotland:

Read the comments of Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, here.


How can Scotland reach net zero targets but also cut rising energy prices?

Both the UK and Scottish governments are firmly committed to the energy transition with legally binding targets to reach net zero CO2 emissions already in place.

But inadequate attention has been given to the concept of an integrated energy policy in the context of climate change targets.

HeraldScotland:

Read the full expert analysis from Alex Kemp, Director of Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance, here.


Two key oil and gas challenges facing Yes supporters since 2014 referendum

The role of oil and gas represents a clear difference between the debate in the run-up to the 2014 referendum and the economic battlegrounds in any future debate about Scottish independence.

HeraldScotland:

James Black from the Fraser of Allander Institute outlines the key differences here.


'It's Scotland's oil' Nationalist frustration over oil profits set for renewables repeat

“It’s Scotland’s oil” was the simple – but effective – three-word slogan which propelled the SNP to breakthrough electoral success when the party won 11 constituencies and over a third of the Scottish popular vote at the October 1974 General Election.

The discovery of oil deposits in Scottish waters within the North Sea fundamentally altered the economic case for independence.

HeraldScotland:

Here, Dr Ewan Gibbs examines how Scotland could 'lose out again' over renewables.


Scotland can reap huge rewards from tidal energy — we just have to own it

The waters around Scotland’s northern and western coasts contain gigawatts of energy and the race to harness this rhythmic and unending flow of energy is well and truly on. 

HeraldScotland:

Here, Neil Kermode, Managing Director at the European Marine Energy Centre, highlights Scotland's tidal energy potential.


Renewables boom wasted chance without 'urgent investment in infrastructure'

Net zero is not just an environmental decision; increasingly it is a rational economic one as it builds our energy security, keeps costs down and creates jobs. Now’s the time to drive it forward.

HeraldScotland:

Read Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of SSE, as he looks at the impact of net zero on the economy here.


How keeping Scotland plugged in remains a huge challenge

Three months on, the buzz around COP26 might finally have died down, but for those charged with delivering actions to avert the worse impacts of the climate crisis, the real hard work has only just begun

HeraldScotland:

Read Professor Karen Turner, Director at the Centre for Energy Policy, University of Strathclyde, here.


Why new Scottish nuclear power stations would be 'catastrophic' financial decision

IT has been suggested that new nuclear power stations should be built in Scotland, but this would be a catastrophic financial decision, especially if Scotland became independent.

HeraldScotland:

Read analysis from Dr David Toke, the Reader in Energy Politics at the University of Aberdeen, here.


Why oil and gas production remain key in Scotland's move to net zero future

Oil and gas have been central to the UK’s energy needs for over 50 years, and the industry still employs around 200,000 people indirectly and directly, up and down the UK.

HeraldScotland:

Read the analysis from Deirdrie Michie, Chief Executive Officer of Offshore Energies UK, here.


How Scotland could 'go it alone' with carbon capture project after Westminster snub

THE climate crisis requires new methods of creating and delivering energy which is reliable, low carbon, low cost, and local.

HeraldScotland:

Read Stuart Haszeldine, the SCCS Director and Professor of Carbon Capture & Storage, University of Edinburgh, here.


'Independent or not, Scotland's future does not lie in its oil-fuelled past'

Oil and gas have always loomed large in Scottish politics, though perhaps never so contentiously as now: four months after Glasgow hosted COP26 and announced its opposition to new oil extraction at Cambo, gas and petrol prices are at record levels and Putin’s war in Ukraine has highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

HeraldScotland:

Read Dustin Benton, policy director at Green Alliance, here.


SNP’s lack of enthusiasm for climate intervention means workers need more convincing

If Brexit was the trigger for a renewed debate over a second independence referendum and a major democraticand economic challenge for those on both sides of the argument, climate change and just transition is the most important future issue that Scotland faces over the next two decades.

HeraldScotland:

Read comment from Roz Foyer, the STUC's General Secretary, here.


We're facing fuel poverty crisis ... hard facts and policies must come before identity rhetoric

The fact we are facing a fuel poverty crisis is undeniable. This winter is harsh, the cost of living is increasing, energy prices are rising exponentially, and things are set to get worse, not better.

HeraldScotland: SUPPORT: The Survivng Winter Appeal helps older people in fuel poverty

Read analysis from Kirsten Jenkins, a lecturer in energy, environment and society at the School Of Social And Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, here.



Part 3: Transport



How can Scotland's turbulent state-run CalMac ferries get back on even keel?

The Caledonian MacBrayne/CMAL system has become a byword for poor service, and eye-watering costs to the taxpayer. Annual subsidies have risen from £5.8 million in 1992 to £150m today, signifying abysmal productivity.

HeraldScotland:

Actually, the CalMac fleet is two fleets. The smaller ships that shuttle between slipways, function well enough. The problem lies with the “big ships”.

Read the expert analysis from a consultant on maritime transport, Roy Pedersen, here.


Five reasons why a state service drowns in a sea of ineptitude

What is the secret to successful corporate strategies in the ferry business, and what might it tell us about the travails of public sector ferry operations?

HeraldScotland:

Read the expert analysis from Alf Baird, Professor of Martime Business at Edinburgh Napier University's Transport Research Institute.


CalMac’s services are failing to meet the year-round needs of island communities

Leaving aside the recent Covid-related disruptions and the impact of inclement weather, there is no doubt that CalMac’s ferry services are failing to meet the year-round needs of the island communities.

HeraldScotland:

More and more justified criticism from the islanders is being levelled at those responsible.

Read the analysis from Gordon Ross, the managing director of Western Ferries (Clyde) Limited, here.


How Scotland's cities can become world leaders of transport and mobility

Why are some cities successful and others not with respect to transport and mobility?

HeraldScotland:

Here, Dr George Hazel, a former chairman of the advisory board of Scotland’s largest and longest established transport research group, the Transport Research Institute, outlines the "three very important principles" that drive success.

Read his full analysis here.


The key hurdles facing an independent Scotland's motorists if we re-joined the EU

With Brexit still settling down and the pandemic and Ukraine situation ongoing, it’s hard to be certain what the impact of re-joining the EU might have on Scottish drivers.

HeraldScotland:

Read Neil Greig, director of policy and research with road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, as he sets out the key hurdles that motorists could face.


Scotland's lifeline roads need to adapt to climate emergency to avoid failures

Climate change is pushing our roads to the point of failure, and this has a real impact on road users, communities and indeed the wider economy. High profile issues, such as landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful have captured political attention.

HeraldScotland:

Analysis commissioned by ICE Scotland showed that for every day the Rest and be Thankful is closed to traffic the Argyll economy loses £55,000.

Read Hannah Smith, the director of ICE (Institution for Civil Engineers) Scotland, as she analyses the future of our country's roads.


'SNP need to embrace radical transformation of Scotland's rail network'

The trains need to go where people want, when people want and at a reasonable price. This in essence is our approach to rail travel and should surely be the “mission statement” of those in charge of it.

HeraldScotland:

However, ScotRail, due to come under public control from tomorrow, is going ahead with cuts to its services and one has to ask whether that is likely to encourage erstwhile railway passengers to return to trains, particularly those with access to a car.

Jane Ann Liston, the Secretary of Railfuture Scotland, sets out her vision here.


Scotland's railway use may need to double pre-Covid levels to achieve net zero

There is no credible pathway to achieving net zero in Scotland without much more use of the railway, perhaps as much as double pre-pandemic levels. 

HeraldScotland:

That's the view of Professor Iain Docherty, Dean for the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Stirling. Read his full analysis here.


Scotland needs a linked bus, train, tram and subway network to hit climate goals

If the Scottish Government is to hit its ambitious targets of 20% less car travel by 2030 and net zero by 2045, a dramatic resurgence will be needed in public transport usage.

HeraldScotland:

Continuing with the current transport framework will not achieve this. 

Read the full analysis from Dr John McCormick, chairman of the Scottish Association for Public Transport, here.



Part 4: Health



Why our current GP system is widening health inequalities?

Affluent patients in Scotland spend longer with GPs than deprived patients, research has shown. 

HeraldScotland:

If healthcare is not at its best where it is needed most, inequalities in health will widen, as some groups benefit while others do not.

Graham Watt, an Emeritus Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at Glasgow University, writes about lessening that gap. 


What's happened to rural general practice in Scotland?

Over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic decline in the proportion of medical students planning to be GPs – some sources suggest a fall from 50 per cent to as little as 11% of medical graduates choosing this career as a first choice.

HeraldScotland:

Phil Wilson, a Professor of primary care and rural health at Aberdeen University and acting chair of the Rural GP Association of Scotland, writes about how we can improve the access to health care for our remotest areas. 


Is it time to make most GPs salaried NHS employees?

Every year, Scots have more than 25 million appointments in general practice. 

HeraldScotland:

Think tank Policy Exchange argues that the remit of GPs has become too broad amid growing demand from an ageing population. 

Read the full analysis from their head of health and social care Robert Ede calling for GPs to be freed from business administration.