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Wings Over Scotland


Least said, soonest mended

Posted on March 19, 2014 by

Yesterday, as the full (lack of) magnitude of Labour’s feeble devolution proposals became apparent, we wondered how they’d go down with the Union’s supporters in the media. We’d been detecting a certain anxiety over the last few weeks, a feeling that those in the press who back a seriously beefed-up settlement were uncomfortable with what it was becoming increasingly clear was going to be delivered.

So we were genuinely unsure which way the newspapers would leap. Would they flog Devo Nano for all it was worth, hyping it to the heavens as the only thing they had to go with, or would some be so dismayed at Labour’s quivering, lettuce-limp absence of ambition that they’d turn on the party in disgust?

The truth was somewhere in between.

The biggest shock for us was that the proposals didn’t even make the front page of the Daily Record. The most loyal Labour cheerleader in the land didn’t have so much as a little flash referring to Lamont’s big reveal. The four front-page leads were a Ned Crime story, the suicide of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, an English lottery winner and – most surprising of all – a major interview with SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon.

devonanorecord

The politics section of the website doesn’t so much as mention it today. A dutiful, half-hearted Record View yesterday had attempted to put a brave face on the commission’s report, but even that was pretty non-committal and wishy-washy, vaguely noting that it wasn’t the powers but what was done with them that mattered.

devonanosun

The Scottish Sun also didn’t consider it worthy of the front page. Inside a single story proclaimed Lamont’s plans to “hammer the rich” if Scotland voted No, though we’re not quite sure how a No vote would be a requirement for that – presumably if Lamont was First Minister of an independent Scotland (don’t have nightmares, readers) she could pursue the same agenda, and if she’s not First Minister her plans are irrelevant no matter what the referendum result.

The same applied to the Scottish Daily Express’ low-key coverage, in one small and restrained piece – it’s only the 12th story down on the page – entitled “Johann Lamont and Scottish Labour want to hike taxes on higher earners”. The Telegraph was almost as relaxed in a very similar vein (“Labour unveils devolution plans to tax better-off Scots”), and only Labour’s erstwhile bosom buddies at the Scottish Daily Mail made any real effort at putting the boot in.

devonanomail

Columnist Peter Duncan delivered a pretty scathing assessment:

“The outcome was not pretty. Johann Lamont, after marching her troops up to the top of the hill last year with an interim report hinting at the devolution of significant new taxes, marched them back down again with a report that is timid and incoherent. Rightly, it has been roundly criticised, not least by some inside the Labour Party itself.

Labour […] is effectively proposing to tinker around the edges of further devolution. That tinkering must be a massive let-down to many in its ranks who made the case for something game- changing. Among them, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Douglas Alexander wanted Labour’s devolution commission to ‘range widely, act boldly’. He must be sorely disappointed this morning.

However, what is even more corrosive is that these proposals seem to be a politically motivated antidote to those of the SNP.

Who would have thought the Tories in Scotland would be presented with such a massive opportunity to leapfrog Labour as the party of devolution, reversing the situation whereby they have been behind the curve of Scottish constitutional aspirations for 30 years? They could seize the gap Labour has left – or once again drop the ball with the try line approaching.”

One might, if one credited Scottish Labour with that much wit, posit that the paper was a deliberate attempt – much as with the formation of the fake front that is “United With Labour” – to elicit just that response, distancing Labour from its toxic Tory allies in the No campaign. But it seems a desperate move indeed to leave the job of satisfying the desire of Scots for enhanced devolution in the hands of the Conservatives.

And what of Scotland’s own “quality” press? The Herald went with a referendum-related front page, and a splash for a 20-page “Scotland Decides” supplement inside, but neither was about Labour’s devo plan. The website did lead for a while with a Magnus Gardham piece attempting to make the proposals sound as exciting as possible, but it was balanced by a rather broader-ranging Iain Macwhirter column uncompromisingly entitled “More powers for Holyrood? Don’t believe the hype”.

It concluded:

It is just possible that a common commitment to minor tax-raising powers and the guaranteeing of the constitutional status of Holyrood might survive this process. As I say, the LibDems and Labour will probably commit to something along these lines in May, and it is possible the Tories could endorse it. After all, a few pence on income tax and a bill of rights hardly amounts to the break-up of Britain. But even if this made it to the legislative stage it would not amount to devolution max, and might actually be a step backwards.

Oil revenues would not be included, without which the fiscal numbers for Holyrood don’t add up. Welfare would still be a UK responsibility. Business taxes would not be devolved, nuclear weapons would remain in the Clyde, UK immigration controls would still be imposed on Scotland.

Any new tax-raising powers proposed by the Conservatives will almost certainly form part of a plan to reform the Barnett Formula and will serve to cut public spending drastically in Scotland. This is because more is spent here than is raised in direct taxation. Scotland would need business taxes and crucially oil revenues to balance the books. But on this basis the Tories could put their signatures to a three-party pledge to devolve more tax.

This is why the decision that Scots will make in September is such a difficult one. Most are not nationalists and want to salvage something from the UK, which they helped to build. But the old UK isn’t on offer, and after a No vote, there is a risk that Scotland will fall off the Westminster map, as it did after 1979. It’s a tough call.”

Macwhirter, as he hints in the final paragraph, has long been considered a federalist, and the sense of disappointment in the article is palpable. We suspect it will only grow stronger when the Tories finally come up with their own plans in May – assuming they don’t delay them, as Lord Lang suggested last week, until after the referendum.

Which leaves us with the only Scottish paper which DID put Devo Nano on its front page (and as the lead story to boot) – the Scotsman.

devonanoscotsman1

The main article went, as one might expect, with the right-wing “Labour to hammer the rich” line, but weirdly the text inside appeared to conflict with the print edition’s sub-head, which warned that “New powers aimed at wealthiest will also cover those earning £41,000”. The copy, however, had a different view:

“Last night, Labour sources indicated that the party planned to use the new tax system to extract more revenue from the 14,000 or so people in Scotland who earn more than £150,000 by raising the rate from 45 per cent to 50 per cent.

There were no plans, however, to use the proposed powers to hit those earning more than the £41,451 threshold.

The front-page piece had a neutral tone, but an editorial tried to talk the report up:

“If there is a No vote in September these parties – plus the SNP – will have to sit down and form a consensus as to the way forward for Scotland within the UK.

If and when that moment comes, the weaknesses in this Labour proposal would be unlikely to survive the negotiations, but its strengths could provide a solid basis for a deal. This is not a fully-formed template for a new Scotland in the event of a No vote. But it may prove a useful starting point.”

And thus, implausibly if by default, the Scotsman became Labour’s new best friends. But its assessment is a bizarre one that reeks of anti-independence straw-clutching.

Labour introduced devolution in 1999 as the “settled will” of the Scottish people. That will remained settled until the SNP won the 2007 election, at which point the Unionist parties suddenly decided devolution needed a bit of a buff-up.

The result was the Calman Commission, which opened the following year and delivered its underwhelming final package of minor tweaks and twiddles in 2009, which became the Scotland Bill and began a long journey through Westminster.

The electorate’s response was to give the SNP a landslide, at which point the referendum became an unexpected reality and the Unionist parties hastily concluded that even though the Scotland Bill was still some way off becoming law, it had already been rendered obsolete and once again required a major revision.

Labour announced a new devolution commission in February 2012, just nine months after the SNP’s victory (although it didn’t then meet for the first time until that October). Just two years of agonising later, it delivered what amounted to Calman 1.01, except this time written by idiots.

But we’re rambling. Our point is that historically, enhanced devolution has only ever been undertaken as a response to an increased threat from the SNP. The notion, then, that Devo Nano could possibly be a “starting point” is a completely irrational one.

If there’s a No vote in the referendum, the SNP has already pledged that the subject is off the table for “a generation”, said by Alex Salmond to mean somewhere in the region of 15-20 years. So the parties of the Union will have no impetus to re-examine the devolution settlement for several elections to come.

Also, while the SNP remain comfortably ahead in the polls, the chances of them achieving another overall majority at Holyrood must be rated slim. Three years into their majority rule, familiarity dulls the recollection of what an unlikely achievement the scale of the 2011 victory was, and all governments are wearied and their popularity worn down by office. Even if they wanted to hold a second referendum in 2029 should they lose this year’s, it’s very far from certain that they’d have the ability to.

When we spoke to the Scotsman’s Kenny Farquharson this morning, he insisted the mere threat of the SNP winning in 2016 would be enough to keep Labour alive to the need to build on devolution. But that seems so far along the path of wishful thinking as to veer dangerously close to outright delusion. Because what have Labour to fear?

The Scottish party has all but conceded the 2016 poll already. But how much worse could it possibly do? The proportional electoral system at Holyrood almost certainly ensures it of a “floor” of 30+ MSPs, so with just 37 currently in situ most if not all of its incumbents can count on job security. If there’s a No vote, they also needn’t be concerned about ousted Westminster MPs coming after their seats.

With a highly challenging fiscal future ahead for any devolved Scottish governments, with funding already being cut and the end of the Barnett Formula surely looming, the opposition benches will seem a very attractive place for Labour to stay. Why endure all the stress of actually having to do things yourself in difficult times, when you could just pick up the same wage for sniping from the sidelines and wait for things to get better?

So the idea of “Devo Nano” as a start, rather than an end, is a fantasy. Johann Lamont has already explicitly said it represents the absolute greatest amount of devolution up with which she is prepared to put. The Scotsman is fooling nobody but itself. But interestingly, it seems to be the only paper in Scotland still clinging on to a shred of hope for the mythical “devo max”.

Pretty soon now, everyone else is going to have to pick a side.

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53 to “Least said, soonest mended”

  1. themadmurph says:

    I was saying in work today!

    I went for a coffee this morning to a shop that I know buys the Record (I refuse to buy it myself). I couldn’t believe it had not a whisper about their flagship devo nano offering.

    I was really looking forward to see how they would spin it as a positive!

  2. kalmar says:

    I’m surprised, I expected more of the press to pretend that it didn’t happen and carry on campaigning undeterred!
    Maybe this is a turning point.

    Another one…
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/19/scottish-labour-party-home-rule-unionists-nationalists

  3. Steve B says:

    This was a another great article about Scottish Labour, the gift that just keeps on giving. You just have to wonder what the polls would be like if there was a half-credible opposition to independence?

    However Stu I’ve just a small clarification to make – I think Iain Macwhirter’s article you link to is from the Sunday Herald rather than from today. I guess he may have had a good inkling on what Labour’s report said before he wrote it though as what he said came to pass.

  4. Croompenstein says:

    Can’t wait till they ask Flipper about this..wonder what Millibland is saying about it…ha ha

  5. lumatrix says:

    I am sorry but you’re just being silly now. Claiming to know what the situation on September 19th 2014 is quite unlikely but claiming to know what it might be like in 2029 is completely risible. Also on the day the SNP gains another point advantage over the opposition after 7 years in government does not seem to herald a lack of SNP support. Also the absolute lack of ANY coherent intelligence in Holyrood APART from the SNP bodes very well for their future. I also note the DR saying that Nicola wants to be First Minister – bad move Nicola the correct title is PRIME MINISTER.

  6. haartime says:

    The press get a second bite of the cherry on Saturday when it gets debated/accepted at the conference. Will they feast or starve. Probably starve but the full report should be available then and the academics will munch over Johann’s maths.

  7. farrochie says:

    “the SNP has already pledged that the subject is off the table for “a generation”, said by Alex Salmond to mean somewhere in the region of 15-20 years.”

    The Good Friday Agreement requires at least 7 years between Irish border referendums. Why should Scotland wait 15-20 years if there’s a No vote? I say 7 years is far more sensible.

  8. bookie from hell says:

    Mince & In Tatties

    would be my tabloid headline on labours home rule bill(can’t say other word because it’s now toxic)

  9. sneddon says:

    I agree with the main part of your article. But if AS thinks this will be a once in a generation referendum he’s talking nonsense. Independence will not go back in the bottle. If the NO’s win I’ll be campaigning for the SNP for the WM GE in 2015 and for them in the scottish GE and in between giving the unionist drones a hard time whether in Westminster or Holyrood. Maybe it’s a tactic of AS but the membership and all the other supporters of a fairer Scotland have other intentions in the event of a NO win.

  10. Croompenstein says:

    This is exactly why WOS is so important, the newspapers just ignore it and hope it goes away but Stuart expertly analyses and pulls their house of cards down, also not a mention on disreporting Scotland tonight already moved on to Gideon’s budget. Where would we be without WOS and others

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    Labour’s proposals are a damp squib.

    Nasty Putin, Etonian Toffs in power, Jagger’s dead “lover,” Pistorius’s dead lover, Eddie Izzard in a Union Blizzard, celebrity delights are of greater interest.

    Bring back pound notes!

    Americans scoff at Brit pockets weighed down by heavy coins. Guys with wallets have nowhere to put them. Scots use a sporran for ritual or ceremonial events. Coins are good only for parking meters .. which will need altering.

    Lawson gave us coins to save printing the cost of paper money, and guess what, they Conservatives are back again minting another set of £1 coins at great expense.

    It’s 1984 jargon: coins are cheaper than notes, so lets have coins. Hey, they can be faked so lets have more coins.

  12. turnip_ghost says:

    Saw a customer reading the Daily Mail reading the Labour article this morning. He commented by pointing and saying “they’ve lost it now”

    Excellent.

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    To be candid, the Labour Group in Scotland consists of nothing more than a bunch of harpies.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Here’s Ian Hamilton QC “Tyranny and a hostile Westminster Government – what has Scotland done to deserve this?”

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=221905321350913

  15. heedtracker says:

    “This is why the decision that Scots will make in September is such a difficult one. Most are not nationalists and want to salvage something from the UK, which they helped to build. But the old UK isn’t on offer, and after a No vote, there is a risk that Scotland will fall off the Westminster map, as it did after 1979. It’s a tough call.”

    What exactly is MacWhirter’s up to? I think he thinks the people of Scotland are as dumb as journos like him and BetterTogether take us all for. Keep it simple stupid. We want our country back.

  16. The Rough Bounds says:

    Hey folks, sorry to go OT but has anybody else seen what is happening in Italy? Just do a google search for:

    Veneto. referendum. independence from Rome.

    It’s the referendum that Europe is pretending isn’t happening and BBC is ignoring. You will be surprised.

  17. Thanks for the link, Elizabeth. Common sense from a great man. I too dread what will become of us, especially my great grandson, if we don’t get a Yes vote.

  18. CameronB says:

    Following on from Elizabeth’s link to Ian Hamilton QC and still banging on about imperialist history. Operation Jock Scott was only 22 years before the state suppression of the McCrone Report in 1974. That’s only 5 or 6 parliaments?

  19. fairiefromtheearth says:

    And thats why im voting liebour if Scotland is stupid enough to vote no 😉

  20. heedtracker says:

    @The Rough Bounds, your right, none bar one have reported the Venice result http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/from-the-grand-canal-to-juliets-balcony-a-yes-from-veneto-to-cutting-ties-with-rome-can-blaze-a-trial-for-scotland-9194820.html

    From the Grand Canal to Juliet’s balcony, a ‘Yes’ from Veneto to cutting ties with Rome can blaze a trial for Scotland

  21. Taranaich says:

    This is why the decision that Scots will make in September is such a difficult one. Most are not nationalists and want to salvage something from the UK, which they helped to build. But the old UK isn’t on offer, and after a No vote, there is a risk that Scotland will fall off the Westminster map, as it did after 1979. It’s a tough call.”

    Perhaps it’s because I AM a nationalist (in that I believe Scotland is a nation rather than a region), but I really cannot understand this idea of the “old UK.” Do they mean the UK of the post-war years, which gave us the NHS, welfare, social justice, all that stuff? That accounts for a fraction of the UK’s history: the rest of the UK’s history is one of imperialism, war, manifest destiny, white man’s burden, slavery, and all manner of horrors only marginally alleviated by the positive developments “civilization” brought to other places.

    As has been brought up on this very website (I believe), this idea of the UK as a “force for good” and a “moral creation” is a fiction. The post-war years of Bean, Macmillan and Attlee are an anomaly brought about by the devastation and ruin of World War 2: why is that the “old UK,” but the monstrous Victorian period which our coalition seem desperate to emulate down to the very appearance of our coinage is not? The old UK is the UK which invaded 9 out of 10 countries on the planet, which gave the world the concentration camp and the workhouse, which have caused at least as much turmoil as they have ended. In what other period of UK history can you compare the post-war years in terms of revolutionary socialism, power to the people, wealth redistribution, and improving the lot of all men?

    THAT’S the “old UK,” Ian: the post-war years were a whim of circumstance. The Federalist dream simply won’t come to pass until the people of England get their act together.

    @farrochie: The Good Friday Agreement requires at least 7 years between Irish border referendums. Why should Scotland wait 15-20 years if there’s a No vote? I say 7 years is far more sensible.

    That’s the SNP: I dearly hope the likes of the RIC won’t take a 15-20 year gap lying down. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t. The genie’s out of the bottle now. That said, I do think it’s a tactic from SNP & the FM, since I’m pretty sure they at least are confident they will win.

    @Grouce Beater: Americans scoff at Brit pockets weighed down by heavy coins. Guys with wallets have nowhere to put them. Scots use a sporran for ritual or ceremonial events. Coins are good only for parking meters .. which will need altering.

    I can’t be the only one who laughed riotously at the news of the new £1 coin. How many times have we heard Alistair Darling bleating about how the SNP “can’t even guarantee what money will be in their pocket,” that the SNP cannot offer us any certainty on what our coins look like? And here we are, the Conservatives CHANGING THE MONEY IN OUR POCKETS.

    This coin change is complete and utter insanity. Coin-operated machines across the country – trolleys, vendors, payphones, parking metres – will need to be recalibrated at significant expense, blind people will have to get to grips with the feel of a new pound, to no longer have the iconic British Pound which has kept its general shape for 31 years. And for what? Preventing counterfeit coinage – as opposed to the stuff the banks make up?

    God almighty, these people VEX ME.

  22. cynicalHighlander says:

    @Taranaich

    This coin change is complete and utter insanity. Coin-operated machines across the country – trolleys, vendors, payphones, parking metres – will need to be recalibrated at significant expense,

    Bankers rule Britain as we only vote for MPs to carry out the money mens agenda as it has done for all time past.

  23. haud on the noo says:

    The new pound is hugely symbolic both to London “money-men-rule” and a direct challenge to Independence as well. Its not our pound remember.

  24. chicmac says:

    So their bringing back the thrupenny bit. Well, not quite, but it was worth about the same in PP when I were a lad.

  25. Krackerman says:

    The level of fake 1 pound coins in circulation is huge – the government estimates 3% … having been passed many of them over the years I think that’s a little low…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-502292/Counterfeiter-jailed-making-14-million-fake-1-coins.html

  26. tartanarse says:

    Not mocking the actual meaning of the headline but if you look closely at the Sun front page you can clearly see the word DEVO.

    Subliminal?

  27. AnneDon says:

    I didn’t realise the SNP were saying it was “off the table” for a generation. What happens if there was a NO vote, a Coalition victory in 2015, and then parties that supports independence win a majority?

  28. Peter says:

    The FM states that we had 1979 then 18 years to 1997 then 17 years to 2014, so one referendum every generation or so. I don’t think he’s ever said what an actual generation would be. After all you can have thatcher, major then blair despots all within a 7 year span.

  29. Robert Kerr says:

    I cannot understand how the “threepenny coin” is harder to forge than the round pound. (not so sound)

    Can anyone clarify for this sad retired engineer?

  30. GrabTheThistle says:

    Lamont had a makeover, looked like Frankenstein monster. Newsnight interview was uncomfortable to watch, she was struggling, great. Very strange for the BBC to give their masters a hard time! Pray London Labour continue with her, YES sure to win. All peoples have the right to self-determination(UN). Keep up good work Rev. Its time, GrabTheThistle.

  31. schrodingerscat says:

    thought you might want to pick this up in the morning stu

    newsnetscotland.com/index.php/referendum/8907-referendum-on-knife-edge-as-yes-closes-gap-to-five-points

    The independence referendum has been blown wide open with a new poll showing support for Yes now just five points behind that of No.

    The poll, conducted by Panelbase, has revealed that support for independence is now sitting at 40%, its highest mark since campaigning began in earnest, with those against sitting at 45% and Undecided on 15%

  32. Doug says:

    Apart from a rather surprisingly balanced analysis by Brian Taylor, I see no other mention of it on the BBC News site. I sense a lot of disappointed pro-unionist journalists shaking their heads and thinking “FFS!”.

  33. john king says:

    Croompenstien says
    “Can’t wait till they ask Flipper about this..wonder what Millibland is saying about it…ha ha”

    Millibland damn it damn it 🙂

  34. john king says:

    Oh well at least I was first in with Forage 🙂

  35. bjsalba says:

    I think it needs to be publicized by the Yes Campaign activists on the streets and as they go round the doors.

    There is a good article on Aye2014Wordpress entitled “Vote No and get what exactly?” which would fit well on a postcard.

    If, as I suspect will happen the MSM will bury the Labour proposals in a pit of silence, Labour die-hards will go to the polls thinking “Vote No and we’ll get devo-max”.

    We – and that means everyone – needs to get this information out.

  36. Grouse Beater says:

    With Labour showing its real political ideaology by siding so enthusiastically with Osborne and his Orwellian, “You walk away from the pound” – meaning, it’s our ball – no one had any room to believe the Labour group in Scotland had the freedom to offer generous “devo-max” promises.

    I trust federalists such as Macwhirter now understand how much the English government wishes Scotland to remain subservient, and intends to impose it will by any means at its disposal.

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    More ideological nonsense: the report of the House of Commons Constitutional Reform Committee recommended NO further devolution powers be offered to Scotland until Westminster has resolved devolution for England.

    England first, foremost, and for all times.

  38. call me dave says:

    Robert Kerr

    Wish I knew the answer to that too. Little hints here, and an opportunity to suggest what will be on the obverse side of the new coin.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26632863

  39. TheItalianJob says:

    @Elizabeth

    Yes I’ve seen this before and a few others from Ian on YouTube.

    Worth viewing.

  40. Desimond says:

    The Scottish Daily Mail covers Labours Proposal alongside an advert for razors…co-incidence?

    Question….If SNP unlikely to get another majority…why not change the current Labour devised system whilst having a majority?

  41. chalks says:

    Salmond is saying that re a future referendum to keep the fire in the belly of us all.

    Let’s get it now, not in 20 years or 7 years.

    It’s within our reach.

  42. An Gille Ruadh says:

    I have neither the time nor the resources to undertake the scientific analysis of media coverage done recently by John Robertson, but does it seem to the rest of the readership here that there has been a change of late in the media’s attitude, particularly following the aforementioned report….not to mention the ever improving poll results? I think the term ‘hedging your bets’ is the one that springs to mind.

  43. Linda's Back says:

    Even Labourite Catherine MacLeod in Herald isn’t dwelling on the detail of Johann’s suicide note.

    btw Johann £10 million a year will only pay for around 300 to 350 fully qualified nurses.

  44. Claire McNab says:

    bjsalba says:

    There is a good article on Aye2014Wordpress entitled “Vote No and get what exactly?” which would fit well on a postcard.

    Good thinking. I have been wondering about the possibility of a few rallies in support of DevoNano.

    What do we want? Bugger all!

    When do we want it? When pigs fly!

  45. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The news items are all about the lost airplane at the moment.
    I am rather more intrigued by the lost Scottish Tory conference which has disappeared without trace since last week – particularly the suicidal prescription charges initiative.

    We had a flurry of press puffs, led by nonsense from Gardham in the Herald , about a current revival of the Scottish Tories preceding this debacle of a conference (there was nearly several people at it) then it sank.

    Labour’s devo con proposals are now similarly being hastily removed from public scrutiny,

    Even the hardened ranks of unionist mercenaries in the Scottish media are finding it difficult to stand firm in the face of ridicule.

    BTW I think “devo con” is the most effective way to describe the risible attempts to divert attention away from the real choice

  46. The Rough Bounds says:

    Here’s a great quote:

    They would gladly see this country burned to the ground just so they could be lords of the ashes.

    Funny how the Scottish Labour Party springs to mind isn’t it?

  47. Grouse Beater says:

    My wife went out to dinner with some work acquaintances from Aberdeen. Almost at the end of the meeting one she’d known for years said she was voting, “No.”

    She added as justification, “I can’t stand Sturgeon and I hate Salmond.”

    My wife, ignoring the character abuse, tackled her by countering, had the woman understood what Westminster has in store for Scotland if she insisted on a No vote winning?

    The woman – a friend of Eddie Stark, (am unsure if that relationship has a bearing on the woman’s outlook) – then determined her taxes would go up if Scotland siezed its autonomy. From my wife she got the answer taxes will rise savagely because that’s what London has in store for us, and worse. “That’s what happened when we signed the Treaty, and there’s nothing Labour can do about it or indeed will want to do about it. Scotland must be “tamed.””

    Balancing a depressing exchange, one of the men there said he was very worried about a No vote.

    “It’ll leave Scotland weaker than before because we bottled out when we had empowerment in our grasp.”

    Good man.

  48. Leslie Ross says:

    For those who don’t know the effect of increasing the highest rate of income tax:

    14,000 highest rate taxpayers in Scotland x £50,000 income in the highest band x 5% increase in rate = £35 million more revenue.

    Out of a total block grant revenue of £28 billion?

    I can hardly contain my excitement!

  49. Leslie Ross says:

    Re the last comment – got my median and average mixed up!

    Figures should be:
    14,000 highest rate taxpayers in Scotland x £120,000 income in the highest band x 5% increase in rate = £85 million more revenue

    Definitely all Scotland’s problems solved in one easy measure.

  50. CameronB says:

    Leslie Ross
    In early April 2005 there was considerable debate in the UK media about whether ‘average’ incomes had gone up or down. The Institute for Fiscal Studies produced a report in which they stated that the mean ‘real household income’ fell by 0.2% over 2003/04 against the previous year. This sounds very authoritative, but it is worth pausing to consider if the mean is really the most appropriate measure.

    http://www.conceptstew.co.uk/PAGES/mean_or_median.html

  51. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    @lumatrix

    For prime minister, I prefer the term Toisich like the Irish Taoiseach.

    No need to follow rUK terminology when we can copy our independent celtic cousins.

    (Any relationship to my surname is purely coincidental).

  52. Craig says:

    Leslie Ross, Johan Lamont touted a figure of £100 million and was reminded by STV that was the figure for the whole of the UK, the figure for Scotland would be more like £10 million (Ten million pounds per year).

    To which Lamont could only say she didn’t think it was £10 million – she either didn’t have a clue of what it would be like, or was more likely deliberately quoting a false figure.

    I think you are grossly overestimating the increase. If the increase only applies to earnings OVER 150,000, then the 5% increase would be on a much smaller amount.

    So if the average earning of those 14000 high earners is say £160,000, the increase in tax would be:

    14,000 x 10,000 x 5% = £7,000,000 (Seven million pounds).



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