Alert readers can’t have failed to notice a certain reticence on the part of Scottish Labour to clarify key aspects of their shambolic proposals for further devolution in the event of a No vote.
(In response to our latest enquiries, genetically-programmed Central Scotland list MSP Siobhan McMahon sent a Wings reader a letter at the weekend directing them to the “Devo Nano” report – which doesn’t address any of the issues that were actually raised by her constituent – and saying “I believe that I have now adequately responded to your queries and have nothing further to add.”)
But it turns out there ARE people they’re prepared to tell the truth to.
Those lines come from an article yesterday in County Durham and Teeside local newspaper the Northern Echo. And in sharp contrast to the type of interviews she gives for a Scottish audience, Ms Lamont was keen to be absolutely crystal-clear on the matter:
“Scotland has a fixed budget. Our choice is about how we spend it. I can understand people in the North-East hearing about the fantastic things going on in Scotland, but that other side of it is never spoken about.
Scotland will not be getting more money, it will simply be accountable for raising more of its money. I hope that dispels some myths.”
It’s particularly interesting to read that line in the context of the “Devo Nano” report, whose executive summary states on page 6 that:
Now, that phrase doesn’t actually, in the strictest technical sense, conflict with what Ms Lamont told the Northern Echo. But the phrase “around £2 billion more in revenues” seems hard to interpret in any other way than as an implication to Scots that the Scottish Parliament would have more money to spend under Labour’s plans, when what Ms Lamont’s comments to her English audience make plain is that it would have the same amount of money as now, but would simply be raising it in a different way – direct from Scottish taxpayers rather than via Westminster.
This, of course, won’t be news to readers of this site, as it’s precisely what we’ve been telling you for over a year now – namely that the “more powers” being hinted at by the Unionist parties in return for a No vote aren’t “powers” at all, but merely an increase in bureaucracy and administrative costs (leading to inevitable cuts in public services), with no benefit to either Holyrood or the people of Scotland whatsoever.
Labour’s increasingly panicky attempts to evade close scrutiny of their proposals, and the media’s dogged determination to turn a blind eye to the double-decker-bus-sized holes in their logic and coherence, serve only to highlight that reality.