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Wings Over Scotland


Mork calling Orson, come in Orson

Posted on April 04, 2014 by

Our email inbox this week has been packed with people sending in their Labour MP’s or MSP’s responses to our questions about the party’s proposals for the devolution of taxation (aka “Devo Nano”) in the event of a No vote.

morkmindy

With the exception of the very first reply – an arrogant, rude, dismissive effort from Tom Harris – until this evening all of them have been the exact same text except for minor variations in the introductory sentences, with some members choosing to insert little digs at this site but others being more polite to their constituents.

But tonight everything changed.

We hadn’t previously heard of Tom Clarke CBE, MP for Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill, but interestingly the letter he sent to an alert Wings reader was completely different to the others. Steel yourselves while we walk through it, because something goes KABOOM! near the end.

“Subject: RE: Labour’s Devolution Commission proposals
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 16:32:16 +0000

Dear […],

Thank you for your email and I will try to answer your concerns about the Scottish Labour Party’s proposals for the devolution of income tax to the Scottish Parliament. There is a growing consensus that powers which are best placed within the Scottish Parliament should be devolved to it whilst those best placed at a UK level remain in the Houses of Parliament.”

Um, for certain values of “growing”, we suppose. Specifically, negative ones.

“In order to create a more financially accountable Parliament the Labour Party will give the Scottish Parliament the power to alter the rate of income tax by 15 pence.”

This is only sort-of true, as we’ll find out.

“Given that we believe Scotland is better within the United Kingdom we do not seek to compete with different parts of the UK. If we consider the argument that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to lower income tax below the rate set in the rest of the UK and if we applied that proposal to Scotland it would be found to be unhelpful for the Scots from the central belt to the highlands and islands.”

So, fine for the Borders, then?

“Economically Glasgow would be better off if it had the power to lower its income tax rate to a level below Edinburgh but it would either result in a weakened Edinburgh economy or a reciprocal reduction in Edinburgh which would result in less tax revenue for both Edinburgh and Glasgow. This race to the bottom would benefit no one in the long term.

That same principle applies within the United Kingdom, if Scotland could lower income tax below the level set by the UK then we would be undercutting the economy of the North of England.

It is a perfectly reasonable position in that economic competition promotes efficiency and provides economic opportunities but the interpretation of this argument and that position is dependent upon an individual’s view on Scottish independence.”

We’re pretty sure it doesn’t. We’re pretty sure that an individual’s view on tax competition between neighbouring countries or regions is essentially a left-right or socialist/neoliberal ideological debate which is applicable the world over, rather than being in any way Scotland-specific.

“Having the power to raise income tax by 15 pence on the UK base rate would allow a Scottish Government to invest the extra funds which would result from that into Scotland’s hospitals, schools and infrastructure.”

And here’s the meat.

Right then, let’s knuckle down and see if we can understand this once and for all. In so far as we can make any sense of Labour’s plans at all, the “UK base rate” would remain at 20p. The new Scottish base rate would be 5p, with the other 15p then having to be raised by the Scottish Government. That of course doesn’t create any EXTRA money, it just restores what the revenue was before.

(Actually slightly less, because of the increased cost of bureaucracy.)

Labour’s “Devo Nano” paper isn’t very expansive about its proposals, stating only that “We will [widen] the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p to 15p. This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.”

That doesn’t help us much in working out how much the rate could be raised to produce extra money for spending. But, a letter sent out last week by Richard Baker, and subsequently by scores of other Labour MSPs and MPs, asserts that it WOULD also be within Holyrood’s power to increase the basic rate: “it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.”

There’s no mention in either Mr Baker’s letter or the “Devo Nano” report of there being a limit of 15p on the size of that increase. Mr Clarke’s assumption to the contrary appears to rest on the widespread belief that the Scotland Act 2012 provides for the Scottish rate to be up to 10p higher than the UK’s.

But we can’t find a single word in the Act which actually stipulates that limitation.

It’s remarkably difficult to find a clear summary of the ramifications of the Scotland Act 2012 in this respect. We’ve scoured the Act itself and it’s incredibly vague on what the Scottish Parliament’s powers will actually be with regard to taxation when the Act is implemented in 2015/16, saying only “The Scottish Parliament may by resolution set the Scottish rate for the purpose of calculating the rates of income tax to be paid by Scottish taxpayers”, with no mention anywhere of an upper limit on that rate.

The “Devo Nano” report, meanwhile, also says that Labour would introduce NEW “Scottish Progressive Rates” which would enable the upper bands ALONE to be raised even further. Again, no limit is specified. So as far as we can gather, under the proposals Scottish tax rates could be basically anything. Scotland could have a basic rate of 55p and a top rate of 95p, or even 120p. Which would, of course, be insane:

“This would de-incentivise the wealthiest Scots from residing in Scotland however this is the tension within every country, higher taxation results in more Government spending but it also increases pressure on the wealthiest who, in a globalised and interconnected world, can decide to move somewhere else or it can result in recruitment issues for Scottish corporations.

The Scottish Government would be able to keep the Scottish income tax rate in line with the UK and the outcome of that rate would be faced by the entire UK rather than the only Scotland.

I believe that many in Scotland would welcome a higher income tax rate upon the highest earners in order to pay for public services and that is why it is right that this power is devolved. However I also believe that many would find that having a higher income tax rate could result in Scotland becoming less competitive than the UK economy. This question would be answered in an election by the people of Scotland.”

Labour’s stated policy is to keep tax rates uniform across the entire UK. So we’re still not entirely sure, that being the case, what the point (from Labour’s point of view) of devolving powers they won’t be using is.

“In terms of Westminster setting the base rate of tax this is a result of an election by the entire people of the United Kingdom of which Scotland is a part. Based upon current polling the majority of Scots are not in favour of independence so they do not view the elected Government of the United Kingdom as dictating.

Some may wish an election may have had a different outcome but the consensus amongst the majority of Scots is that the UK Parliament is the legitimate Parliament of the United Kingdom, of which Scotland is a part, and that the Scottish Parliament is the legitimate Parliament of Scotland, both share power which has the support of the majority of Scots.”

Hare Declares Victory Over Tortoise Midway Through Race.

“Having this system ensures that the UK cannot undercut the Scottish economy and it ensures that Scotland cannot undercut the economy of the UK. It is a position based upon shared challenges and mutual benefit.

Given that the UK Government has the power to lower the income tax rate for the United Kingdom which occurs during a budget statement. Under this procedure given that the base rate of income tax would be lower the Scottish Parliament would have to alter their income tax rate to incorporate this changes base rate of tax.”

What if the UK government cut the basic rate to 14p? Would Scotland start with a rate of -1p? For every £500 you earned, the government would actually have to GIVE you an extra fiver? If we were David Cameron we’d do that just for the laughs.

“The Scottish Parliament could still maintain a higher rate of income tax but this could only be higher by 15 pence so a correction would have to take place.”

So are we to assume, even though it doesn’t say so in the “Devo Nano” paper, that Labour WILL be applying an upper limit on the variability of the Scottish rate? That would seem like a REDUCTION in power compared to the Scotland Act 2012, which doesn’t appear to set any upper limit.

“This would ensure that the Scottish Government would not become locked into a permanent disadvantage compared to the UK since the income tax rate would not be defined in the legislation granting this power.

In terms of the basic rate and the higher rates, all income tax bands would be variable by plus 15 pence, theoretically the Scottish Parliament could vote to increase each band of income tax by 15 pence beyond the UK level or leave each income tax rate the same as the UK rate.”

Sounds that way. We’re going to add some emphasis in the next bit.

“However, I must point out that given these plans outline the Labour Party’s thinking on this issue and our commitment to a stronger Scottish Parliament the actual implementation planning would be conducted in more detail at a later date. A likely solution will be that the income tax bands will be individually variable by 15 pence above the UK base rates but not below them.

Woah there, cowpoke! Richard Baker told us a mere few days ago that “The Scottish Parliament could […] choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.” You appear to be telling us that that’s cobblers.

“I hope this answers your concerns about our proposals”

Yeah, not so much, poppet.

“and I would hope you accept that the Scottish Labour Party would not advocate a policy which would permanently place Scotland at an economic disadvantage towards the rest of the UK and that the implementation plans for our ambitious devolution strategy will be published in more detail at a later date.”

Hang on. You don’t want to put Scotland at a disadvantage by having higher rates than the rest of the UK, but you’ve also just told us that you don’t want it to be able to have LOWER rates than the rest of the UK.

So what you’re proposing is that… Scotland should continue to have exactly the same tax rates as the rest of the UK? And that’s what you’re selling us as a radical increase in powers for Holyrood? Right.

“Best Wishes,

Tom Clarke MP”

Blimey. So what can we make out of all this? Cling on, readers, we’re nearly done.

—————————————————————————————————

So far as we can pick our way through a tangled web of vagueness, assumption and outright contradiction, Labour proposes to drastically REDUCE the flexibility available to the Scottish Parliament over taxation, both in theory and in practice.

– The imminent Scotland Act 2012 allows for Scotland to undercut UK rates by up to 10p and for Scottish rates to be increased apparently without limit. If we discount rates over 100p, that effectively gives Holyrood a theoretical maximum range of 65p within which it can alter the basic rate of income tax.

(The lowest it can make the basic rate is 10p. But it can’t move just one band, so the basic rate always has to be 25p below the top rate, so if the top rate was 100p the basic rate would be 75p. And 75 minus 10 is 65, giving us our range.)

– But under Labour’s plans, the ability to undercut on any rate (basic or higher) would be entirely removed and a new 15p limit would be placed on the ability to increase the basic rate. That slashes the effective range of variance available to Holyrood for the basic rate from 65p down to 15p.

– Only the higher rates could still be increased freely, under Labour’s new Scottish Progressive Rates, but they couldn’t undercut the UK rate. Scotland would have the power to disadvantage itself, but not to advantage itself.

– Except that the higher rates COULD undercut the UK higher rates, so long as the Scottish basic rate was cut by the same amount (if you believe Richard Baker and the numerous other MPs/MSPs who sent out the same letter).

– Except NONE of the rates are allowed to undercut the UK under any circumstances (if you believe Johann Lamont and Tom Clarke), so in fact they couldn’t.

– All of this is moot anyway, because it requires Labour to be in government, and if Labour is in government it’s already pledged not to use the powers at all, ie to keep Scotland’s tax rates the same as the UK’s. So there’ll be all the costs of a whole new layer of tax-collection bureaucracy, but for no purpose.

– And finally, in an attempt to stop anyone noticing any of this, Labour won’t actually reveal its specific plans for enacting the proposals until AFTER the referendum.

Phew! We’re glad that’s all cleared up! Anyone for cake?

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118 to “Mork calling Orson, come in Orson”

  1. James Kelly says:

    “We hadn’t previously heard of Tom Clarke CBE, MP for Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill”

    Really? Poor guy, he was Donald Dewar’s successor as Shadow Scottish Secretary in 1992. Admittedly, he was a total disaster area in the job and was replaced by George Robertson the following year.

  2. Marker Post says:

    Is it true that Mindy was Jack McConnell’s sister?

  3. The Water Beastie says:

    Would that be Victoria Jam tomorrow Sponge Cake, Stu?

    Obfuscation through contradiction inthese subtly mixed messages from different representatives – so perhaps allow people looking desperately for a reason to support this stunting ‘policy’, by only selecting the parts of the mixed messages that they want to hear.

    sigh.

  4. Clootie says:

    Smoke and mirrors (with a few squirrels thrown in).

  5. seoc says:

    Rather than fiddle with local plus and minuses, why don’t we demand a ‘Scotland Allowance’ to enable us to also balance local discrepancies?
    After all a great many receive this perk in England – they know it as the ‘London Allowance’ although it is levied on poorer people.

  6. Marker Post says:

    Is this part of what Labour means when it talks about the sharing and pooling of resources?

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/03/culture-secretary-maria-miller-ordered-apologise-mortgage-expenses

    MP for Basingstoke? It’s about 50 minutes on a fast train to London. Why does she even need a second home, let alone claim it on taxpayers’ expense?

    David Cameron of course “immediately moved to shore up the MP for Basingstoke’s position by issuing a statement saying that he had offered her his ‘warm support'”.

  7. M4rkyboy says:

    It’s kind of like pacifying a child with a toy toolkit.

  8. orkers says:

    Fuck all this complexity!

    Lets have Independence and in the course of time do away with all the whys and wherefores with an easily understood Tax system where everyone pays their whack, not just most of the poor buggers on PAYE.

    Lets have an end to the tax dodging/avoidance that presently takes place in the UK system where the well off and big business can escape their responsibilities.

    Enough.

  9. Nation Libre says:

    Sorry for going off topic but I’ve been tracking betting on the result at Ladbrokes over the past few weeks and things have definitely been moving in our favour. Don’t know if that’s a result of increased betting or political analysis. Just noticed this morning that the over 55% YES vote has been suspended. Curious

  10. Vincent McDee says:

    Que?

  11. Grendel says:

    “and I would hope you accept that the Scottish Labour Party would not advocate a policy which would permanently place Scotland at an economic disadvantage towards the rest of the UK and that the implementation plans for our ambitious devolution strategy will be published in more detail at a later date.”

    Wahey! Even MORE jam tomorrow! Topped off with squirrels, shiny paper and beads for the natives. Cancel the referendum and sign me up to the union!

  12. heedtracker says:

    “Scotland would have the power to disadvantage itself, but not to advantage itself.” Meanwhile business as usual, Scots oil revenue flows south and gets pumped into super heating south east of England. Thanks Labour in Scotland.

  13. john king says:

    James Kelly says
    “he was Donald Dewar’s successor as Shadow Scottish Secretary in 1992. Admittedly, he was a total disaster area in the job and was replaced by George Robertson the following year.”

    Wow ,what is it with Labour and that death wish if theirs?
    first you have disaster, then Armageddon sheesh!
    Mind you the do have form in this department McConnell to Alexander,
    Grey to Lamont (sic)

    Marker post says
    “Marker Post says
    “Is it true that Mindy was Jack McConnell’s sister?”

    Naw I don’t think so I cant recall Mindy spending squillions on a train set and having a hissy fit when bad old uncle Alex tried to take it away from her”

    Oh I hate this no video thing, at this point I would have had Steve McQueen being led to the “cooler” and throwing his baseball against the wall,
    lets not talk about wee shughie McPhee dissolving like an antacid tablet (embarrassing)!

    orkers says
    “Lets have an end to the tax dodging/avoidance that presently takes place in the UK system where the well off and big business can escape their responsibilities.”

    Seems so obvious, why didn’t anyone think of it before,
    orkers for firts Scottish Chancellor

    Nation Libre says
    “Sorry for going off topic”

    dammit now Im really getting restless
    “The Green Mile”
    Dead man walking 🙂

    Vincint McDee says
    “Que?”

    se se se se se se scorchio.

    Grendal says
    “Wahey! Even MORE jam tomorrow! Topped off with squirrels, shiny paper and beads for the natives. Cancel the referendum and sign me up to the union!”

    I knew it show em some mirrors and fill em up with firewater and they’ll give you Manhattan!

    Sorry if I missed anyone out,
    my porridge is going cold.

  14. john king says:

    Marker post says
    “David Cameron of course “immediately moved to shore up the MP for Basingstoke’s position by issuing a statement saying that he had offered her his ‘warm support’”.

    Euchh thats gross.

  15. JLT says:

    It is too early in the morning to try and work all these figures out in my head, but I can see what you are saying, Rev.

    My god! Does the Scottish Labour party, or even the main body of the Labour party actually know what it is doing, or even saying?
    Rev, I’ll give you kudos. Each time you’ve asked, or got a response from these people, they all have a different take on it. There appears to be no balance or cohesion of the facts within their financial manifesto.

    It is of no surprise then, when Lamont had to do a series of interviews at the time of the Scottish Labour conference, that she was absolutely scattergun with her responses. Apart from the fact that she did not have a clue as to what she was talking about, it is becoming more apparent, neither do the Labour party.

    God help us if we vote ‘no’. We will get royally hammered by the Tories should (and most likely) retain power in 2015, but if it’s Labour …I have visions of borrowing levels as at the early part of the new millennium and a couple of idiots in Miliband and Balls with the anti-Midas touch with everything that they ‘touch’ …in other words, whenever they touch something, it turns to poo-poo…

  16. thomas says:

    Labour…….talkin pish as usual while floggin a dead horse.

    This mob will still be greetin aboot independance years after its all done and dusted.

    If the scottish people are no awake to these scaly back reptiles in labour by now , they never will be and will contiue to being taken for mugs.

    Remember Mr Clarke , the three golden rules aboot getting old.

    Never go past a toilet without usin it.

    Never waste an erection.

    Dont trust a fart.

  17. Simon says:

    Amazing how people are so easily distracted by minor tweaks to income tax, which is regressive (only paid by ordinary workers not by super-rich who live off assets and land rentals).

    Hopefully a progressive tax policy can be built that asks people to pay for their share of the national resources they use – land, energy, etc. rather than paying for the privelege of earning a wage.

  18. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    I sent a second reminder to my local MP Katy Clark, as she appears to have not noticed my previous two regarding this matter. She must be very busy so far?

    ….

    “Hello once more,
    I sent a an email containing a few questions to you on the 27th of March this year, and as yet have had no reply, even after a polite reminder a few days ago. I do appreciate you have a busy schedule, but at present, I am not sure if you have simply not seen my emails, are getting round to dealing with the questions asked, or are simply not going to reply. I do understand that certain politicians, when pushed, feel that certain questions are not worth being dealt with or are unimportant in the greater scheme of things, but these questions raised are important to me and many others who in fact make up the voting public, and at present there is confusion and uncertainty of which we were warned would harm the country.

    Again, I repeat this IS a serious request, regardless of the origin of the questions, and I would be very interested to find out your response, or if there is any sort of official line that you could respond with in order to clarify this. If you are unable to fully deal with my query online, I am quite happy to attend your surgery, as a local voter, if this would facilitate matters, but an acknowledgement of my email would be a start.

    Thank you for your attention in this matter. I am sure this query will meet with a response at your earliest convenience.

    Peter Mirtitsch.
    —–Original Message—–
    From: lancetyrell1
    To: katy.clark.mp
    Sent: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 16:40
    Subject: Questions
    Hello,
    A couple of days ago, I sent an email containing some questions. I appreciate you have a busy schedule, but am curious to see if you have had a chance to see about addressing any of them. Thank you..

    Peter Mirtitsch”

  19. At least Tom Clarke answered, all be it in the same meandering nonsensical way I remember from his time as Shadow Scottish Secretary. All I’ve had is an automated response from my MP and a request for my postal address from my MSP.

    My two seem to hope that by not answering we’ll all go away.

  20. Alastair Wright says:

    Surely this devo nano nonsense is contrary to the Treaty of union?

  21. Giving Goose says:

    I wonder if part of Labour’s intention is to create a tax-collection bureaucracy that they can then use to trumpet to anyone who will listen that they are bringing public sector jobs to Scotland. You’d need an army of civil servants and legal people to run this. Labour have often created jobs in an effort to shore up a local vote. They do this at a council level, so in their thinking Scotland is just an overblown council, so the same thinking could be taking place. If so, then it demonstrates the limited vision that Scottish Labour are capable of, or it demonstrates the way they are shackled by their London bosses. Either they think of Scotland as a council, or they are being instructed by London to treat Scotland as a council. Both scenarios show that Labour are committed Unionists and care nothing about more meaningful powers. It’s all about a London-centric view of the world. It’s frankly an insult to Scotland.

  22. Malc says:

    @nation libre, The bookies change their odds based on money placed so they have a balanced book. So recent changes will be down to bets being placed and depending on the size of the book even small bets can cause them to change their odds.

  23. Fortbill says:

    I have a far far better Idea

    Why dont we do it all ourselves? sounds like a plan to me 🙂

  24. john king says:

    JLT says
    “in other words, whenever they touch something, it turns to poo-poo…”

    Dont you mean skitt— oh!

  25. Macart says:

    OFFS, this is simply ridiculous now.

    All tax levers in Holyrood and presto the problem is solved. No dancing round the edges, no disingenuous speeches on economic competition, and no more double speak bullshit about making the Scottish parliament more accountable. To whom by the way? If accountable to the Scottish electorate then fine give us all the powers. You don’t get any more accountable than that. If its more accountable to Westminster and the devolution journey, then plainly and with the greatest of respect they can take their pitiful, restrictive tax powers and stick em where the sun don’t shine.

    Tax powers work in balance any half wit knows this. You require full access to all resources, all tax powers to develop economies. They truly think we button up the back. Devo nano is yet another pitiful attempt to pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes and please oh please let people see it for what it is.

    Tax is set by the treasury to suit the UK not Scotland and even then, lets be perfectly clear when they say UK they mean that successful bit of it in London and the south east. They don’t mean the midlands, they don’t mean Wales, they don’t mean northern England. Christ there is as much economic carnage there as here. No, tax for the ‘UK’ is the seat of empire and the south east. That’s cool, that’s fine. Nothing wrong with making the best of what you’ve got.

    How and ever don’t piss on my back and tell me its raining. The rest of us in these islands would LIKE to be able to compete. To control our assets and set tax conditions which suit our particular needs, benefit and grow our local economies. And yeah that does mean the city will get a bit of competition and not before bloody time. If Scotland becoming independent leads to an overhaul which benefits the regions of rUK even better.

  26. Ian Brotherhood says:

    FFS Rev, you must feel as if you’ve just completed a Rubik’s Cube using only your middle toes.

  27. Desimond says:

    Mindy was played by Pam Dawber..which seems very apt.

    Pure and utter shazbat

  28. patronsaintofcats says:

    I believe it was the great WC Fields that said “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Labour in a nutshell.

  29. seanair says:

    I didn’t know Clarke was still an MP, but my memory of him is him being a typical Lanarkshire Labour product, with a special penchant for serving on Westminster Committees which took him to sunny places abroad (with a special preference for the USA?).
    Someone from that area might correct me if I’m wrong. He was never the sharpest knife in the box but I have some sympathy for him trying to decipher Labour’s tax proposals.
    At FMQs next week perhaps an SNP MSP can be prevailed upon to ask an innocent question about these proposals and let AS or NS tear them to bits.

  30. Charlie says:

    Hi Stu
    Just to give you some more light reading here’s the reply I received from Johann Lamont last night.
    Itz purportedly an answer to the questions posed by WOW yet all it does for me is confirm the confusion within the Labour party in Scotland re taxation.

    Dear Mr Chrystal
     
    Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.
     
    The Labour Party is the Party of devolution.  Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament.  In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act.  And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.
     
    In spring 2012, I established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further.  Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March.  The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.
     
    Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared  across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need. 
     
    Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:
     
    •             Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.
    •             Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.
    •             Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.
     
    The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.
     
    On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further. 
     
    •             Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.
    •             We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.
    •             This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament. 
    •             The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.
    •             Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.
    •             Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.
     
    Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
     
    Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.
     
    Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission.  If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report.  If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission
     
    Regards,
     
    Johann Lamont
    MSP for Glasgow Pollok

  31. Doug says:

    Got a standard reply, answered none of my questions (with respect to corporation tax, APD, rationale for the ‘a variety of good reasons’for not devolving certain powers).

    Not surprised.

  32. Linda's Back says:

    O/T Great stuff from Anderson Construction on BBC Radio Scotland GMS this morning on how independence will help the oil industry on Bank of Scotland report that 36,000 new jobs being created over next two years.

    However Labour MP could rubbished independence by saying Scotland didn’t have he resources and expertises to run the oil industry and couldn’t rely on oil.

  33. Robert McDonald says:

    Huh! All I got in the end from Michael McCann was, “I agree with Tom Harris, now feck off and don’t bother me again.” (Paraphrased)

  34. caz-m says:

    Just heard Frank Doran MP for Aberdeen on GMS.

    He had just heard the good news that nearly 40,000 jobs will be created in the Oil and Gas industry within the next year or two.

    But according to the Labour MP, we don’t have the skills or expertise to handle all this investment.

    He says most of the skills are based in London and Scotland couldn’t afford to bring in this highly skilled staff.

    His plan is for Scotland to roll over and leave all this big thinkin stuff to London.

    He sounded as if we were going to lose 40,000 jobs, instead of grasping what will be a fantastic opportunity for the Aberdeen area and Scotland.

    He came over as a doom-laden, resentful guy and it makes you wonder who exactly is voting these people in as their representative.

    You MUST be able to choose someone other than these people, who really do believe Scotland is Too Wee, Too Poor, Too Stupid.

  35. SquareHaggis says:

    An excerpt from a study in 1974-1975 available from the National Archives @ http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/s/res?_q=T%20319%2F2929

    “Scottish devolution and North Sea oil including economics of Scottish independence

    Two files dealing with the economic aspects of North Sea Oil and whether Scotland could claim independence and rely on the oil even for a short period to keep their economy going. Suggestions that the Scottish Pound would need to be devalued by about 25%. Deals also with countering the appeal of the Scottish National Party. 23 April 1975 the question of where to draw the boundary between Scotland and England was raised as it is not a straight boundary and Scotland might lose in the water boundaries in south-west border region. Suggestion that Scotland could receive an inflow of currency as people might use Scotland as a safe haven in financially difficult times. Document T 319/2930 indicated (30 May 1975) that Scotland might benefit from leaving the Union and becoming independent.”

    I don’t have an account therefore can’t access the full document but it may be relevant.

  36. Giving Goose says:

    Frank Doran MP probably looks in the mirror and assumes everyone is just like him, an idiot.

  37. Les Wilson says:

    They think we are stupid, this lot is so confusing we might think we actually are.
    That is of course until you know this has all been constructed to confuse in the first place.Something Labour has form on.

    As I repeat, just take anything the Unionists say as lies, then you will know all you need to know.

  38. Linda's Back says:

    Following Lamont’s smears at FMQs the disgraced John McTernan in Hootsman is back on about Scottish government using civil service over White Paper etc.

    How anyone gets paid for this nonsense beats me.

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/john-mcternan-white-paper-damns-civil-service-1-3364065

  39. Training Day says:

    Tom Clarke, ‘battling’ Scottish Secretary of Daily Record lore has been forgotten? Is nothing sacred?

    Heard the interview with Doran – volatile, couldn’t survive, etc. This was followed by a Labourfest with Michael Kelly and Patricia Ferguson – it’s fine, cos Labour must be the majority government to warrant such saturation, right? – talking about the Red Road flats. Up popped a ‘campaigner’ who, obviously through ignorance, tried to pin down Patricia Ferguson on how blowing up the Red Road flats would have ‘them’ looking forward to independence. ‘I’m not looking forward to independence’ said Ferguson. ‘Aye but THEY are’ said the campaigner, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it’s Labour which has wrought devastation in Springburn and North Glasgow over decades.

    All very sad.

  40. jim mitchell says:

    Iam still waiting on my reply from Gordon Banks MP,so given the time it has taken , I guess it’s going to be a comprehensive one!

  41. Desimond says:

    This is shocking, truly truly shocking!

    I cant believe the Rev didnt go with a DEVO-NANU headline!

  42. Iain says:

    Re Frank Doran: does anyone remember the stushie he was involved in years ago, at the beginning of his parliamentary career – something about misuse or misappropriation of funds? It looked pretty bad, and I was surprised that he escaped, but to be fair, it may have been the local Labour party officials who were the untouchable culprits, as is so often the case. It was prominent news at the time, but all record of it seems to have vanished.

  43. cavalier says:

    I’m still awaiting Sarah Boyack’s reply with baited breath… after 10days my face is starting to go purple and the few brain cells i own are beginning to die of.

  44. Helena Brown says:

    No replies as yet from Cara Hilton, but then she would need someone to open the computer and read it to her. Nor surprisingly for the MEP Catherine Stihler, who I have received replies from in the past. Perhaps they think that because it has the hallmarks of a group intervention they think they do not need to reply. Well Cara and Catherine, we pay your wages, and they are pretty generous, so we deserve the decency of a reply.

  45. john king says:

    I think Gordon Brown smelled a trap because I haven’t heard a word from him

  46. Blair paterson says:

    Bt stands for better together it can also stand for bloody treachery ot but I was telling my old mother about mr. Munro of Barrhead travel do you know she said nothing changes the munros fought against Bonnie prince charley at culloden and they fought under the union flag for Cumberland against Scotland Vote yes

  47. Helena Brown says:

    @ Linda’s Back, I am utterly disgusted at what Lamont is getting away with at FMQ. Time for the Presiding Officer to toughen up her stance on the language used. You could take these people to court if this sort of thing was said outside.

  48. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Cavalier, after 10 days mebbe the bait is a bit off. That’ll be why you’re going purple. Best refresh it

    Could this be the new clarion call Labour reps will be greeted with… Nano-Nano

  49. Macart says:

    The latest offering from Mr Gardham.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/dispute-over-first-minister-making-case-for-independence-on-us-visit.23871303

    Apparently Labour are complaining that the FM is making a case for independence whilst on his visit to the USA.

    What short memories they have.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/scotland-secession-could-lead-to-re-balkanization-of-europe/2014/01/05/df076e94-578e-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

    Or are they merely hypocrites?

    You decide.

  50. Brian Powell says:

    I wonder why every think tank and ‘respected and independent’ accountancy company in the land isn’t pouring over this and delivering their ‘independent’ assessments to the 37 national and daily newspapers serving the Scottish public, so that they can have ‘unbiased and independent’ information to make their decisions in the Referendum?

    I also see that failed ‘dambuster’ attack from Osborne, Ball and Alexander will be having a propaganda makeover. They are being called before the ‘Scottish’ Commons Committtee, to discuss the the currency union.

    The entirely Unionist make up of Labour, Conservative the other Party members in the committee, will give a ‘considered and unbiased’ hearing of the arguments.

  51. Macart says:

    And then of course…

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/foreign-office-caught-asking-spanish-press-to-undermine-scottish-independen.23387895

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron-accused-trying-recruit-3016343

    But hey if the Scottish government openly promotes independence that’s a crime. If UK gov and Labour Lords slope off to undermine independence with the international set that’s just peachy.

    Naw, definitely hypocrites.

  52. Desimond says:

    Having now logged into a PC, I can actually mouse-over the picture and see Stu’s Nano Nano reference. As ever he didnt let us down!

  53. Desimond says:

    @Macart

    Brilliant, hats doffed!

  54. bunter says:

    Just watched the state broadcaster a few mins ago covering the Davis Cup match, which of course has Andy Murray playing.
    The headline was Italy v England. I kid you not!

  55. Aucheorn says:

    You have to love Wee Ginger Dugs description of Labours plans, “Devo-diddlysquat”.

  56. Capella says:

    They haven’t mentioned National Insurance, which, since it is just spent and not invested wisely for our health, education and future pensions as the name “Insurance” implies, is just a tax. Should we go back to them and ask if National Insurance will be included in these ambitious plans?

  57. Dcanmore says:

    This a typical Labour fudge and deliberately so. It is designed to make Labour sound as if they are going to do something but in reality it is one step forward and two steps back politics… ‘we won’t give you a house but here’s the wallpaper for it’.

    If there’s a NO vote Labour will be consumed into tearing down the Scottish parliament, because it will take down the SNP with it. MPs would ensure that devolution will be rolled back through Westminster, enacting their skewed version of parliamentary democracy to ensure Scotland will get nothing and we will pay a heavy price for all of this nothing.

  58. The Rough Bounds says:

    Yes, I know this is OT, but it is important that younger readers are made aware of the following:

    On Radio Scotland this morning the phone-in concerns the destruction of the Red Road flats in Glasgow. Labour Councils just love blowing up and knocking down buildings. It’s like some kind of drug for them.

    Back in 1973 the Labour council in Refrewshire destroyed the building known as William Wallace’s House. The basement was 12th century. The actual house itself was a rare example of an early 17th century building which could have been repaired and turned into a museum.

    Despite an outcry by the local people and others, Labour decided that they knew better and furtively knocked it down at 3 o’clock in the morning. Utterly disgraceful work by the disgraceful Scottish Labour Party. Let’s finish them in September.

  59. Well done, Rev. You deserve a medal for trying to decipher the indecipherable. As has been said before, pure B/S from a Labour Party who hopefully will never be in power ever again.

  60. Marcia says:

    I remember Tom Clarke winning the Coatbridge & Airdrie by-election back in 1982. Typical Labour MP, rather dull, just voting fodder at Westminster. Won’t be missed following a Yes vote

    o/t seen in a Glasgow shop window;

    http://michaelgreenwell.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/in-a-glasgow-shop-window/a-o2zsccaaaalip/#main

  61. Macart says:

    @Desimond

    Not hard to kick holes in their guff these days Desimond. 🙂

  62. Desimond says:

    @Macart

    Thats the beauty of Wings and kudos to you and all here. The Media and Better Together feel they can put up any old nonsense and it will be duly accepted and swallowed hook line and sinker.

    Then someone on Wings puts up clear counter arguments, providing hard facts, links and irrefutable evidence to show their paltry efforts for what they truly are.

  63. tris says:

    If they are so determined to ensure that no economic advantage or disadvantage can be gained or lost from income tax, why do they allow local councils to set their own council tax levels?

    And why were they so against a system where local income tax would be set at a Scotland-wide level by Edinburgh siting lack of local democratic accountability?

  64. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ John King

    New e-mail sent

    lets not talk about wee shughie McPhee dissolving like an antacid tablet (embarrassing)!

    Wot, Shuggie frae the Lang Toon?

  65. Triangular Ears says:

    Tom Clarke gets something like 60% of the vote, one of the highest, if not the highest, in the UK. But it is Coatbridge, which would vote in a red rosette not even pinned to ANYTHING, let alone a monkey/chair/square sausage.

  66. Desimond says:

    Plenty of alternative versions of this possible, I reckon:

    First they came for the Poor
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not poor
    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist
    Then they came for the Scots
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Scot
    Then they came for Labour MPs
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me

  67. Steve B says:

    @John King

    I fully agree as I’m still waiting on a reply from Gordon Brown as well.

    Or maybe as he’s an “ex-politician” he doesn’t answer constituents mail any more?

  68. Macart says:

    @Desimond

    Modern communication. the internet and access to record and countless alternative POV. They really don’t have the press to hide behind anymore. We can look for ourselves, cross reference and disseminate information as fast as they can knock up their guff in the first place. Every single person on this site does it and we’ll keep on doing it till they get the message.

    Keep it clean and honest, because we CAN and WILL check your facts.

  69. Andrew Brown says:

    To date I’ve not received a single reply from any of the 8 Labour representatives I contacted. Not from my MP, MSP or any of their 6 European Parliamentary candidates. A Kakistocracy indeed.

  70. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    reply from anne mcguire ref the wings questions on scot lab tax nonsense.

    Dear Mr Morgan

    Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

    The Labour Party is the Party of devolution. Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament. In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act. And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.

    In spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March. The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.

    Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need.

    Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:

    · Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.
    · Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.
    · Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.

    The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.

    On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

    · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.
    · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.
    · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
    · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.
    · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.
    · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

    Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

    Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

    Yours sincerely

    Anne
    The Rt Hon Anne McGuire MP
    Parliamentary Advice Office
    22 Viewfield Street | Stirling | FK8 1UA
    t: 01786 446515 | f: 01786 446513
    e: anne [dot] mcguire [dot] mp [at] parliament [dot] uk
    w:www.annemguiremp.org.uk

  71. Nick says:

    I’m with Orkers’s on this – Fuck all the complexity – got for independence, unify our tax base, take control of Scotland’s money in Scotland for Scotland.

  72. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    hope mrs mcguires response is of help stu.

  73. mogabee says:

    Dear, dear Labour trying to hide, unsuccessfully, that there’s not a chance of giving a Scottish Parliament anything which will produce benefit to the people.

    They use gobbledegook until eyes glaze over and we tune out, so kudos to Stu. for delving in and making sense of their “speak”.

    I have just finished watching the last FMQ’s and was fascinated at the facial expressions of an MSP sitting behind Lamont. Something bothered her and I got the distinct impression she was unhappy with something. Was it Lamont? Or is my imagination running riot!

  74. The Man in the Jar says:

    I received a standard reply from Michael McMahon (MSP) and Siobhan McMahon (MSP list).

    I am yet to receive a reply from my MP Jimmy Hood. I guess he is too busy “not caring if the people of Scotland are better off under independence” to reply.

  75. Vronsky says:

    It’s really quite staggering: a political party has produced a tax policy which none of its MPs understands.

    But I’ve cracked it. It’s the political analogue of the Riemann Hypothesis: everything adds up to zero, but it’s hard to prove it. It should be called DevoNada.

  76. The Man in the Jar says:

    Labour love all this complexity and confusion. Reading one of their documents must be like navigating Hampton Court Maze in a thick fog.

    I am positive it is so that when it all goes tits-up. Which inevitably it does. Nobody gets the blame because anyone trying to make sense of it inevitably gives up in total despair.

  77. gerry parker says:

    Tom Clarke is my local MP, I stopped writing to him because his replies were to say the lease, unhelpful.

    No reply yet from my MSP Elaine Smith, but then she never answered my last question on Media bias either.

    O/T. I popped in to see Ronnie this morning, everything’s fine. Some Computer problems have prevented him posting. He’s going along to the counting house tonight (full of surprises)

    Hope it all goes well, I won’t be able to attend due to domestic circumstances.

  78. Les Wilson says:

    O/T Terrible news today that there will be up to 40,000 jobs created in the gas/petro Industry North Sea related.
    However the negative spin from BBC et al, is that we will not be able to handle it. Not enough trained staff etc etc.
    Well they had to play it down somehow.

    Having worked at one stage in that industry, what I do know is that people go where they are well paid, these will be well paid jobs. People will appear.

    Again, too wee, too stupid etc etc.( oh and most of the jobs WILL be in Scotland!)
    What a terrible problem Scotland has with the oil diminishing!!

  79. caz-m says:

    The only sure thing to happen to Scotland after a NO vote, no matter who wins the 2015 GE, is that we are going to get hammered financially with our share of the £25Billion pound of cuts that have still to come down the line.

    o/t
    Gardham of The Herald is a Fuckwit!

  80. CameronB says:

    The man is apparently an imbecile, with no appreciation of economic development of strategic planning.

    The case has been proven beyond doubt – the level of economic activity a nation enjoys, is dependent on the level of parliamentary activity within the nation.

    As this is FACT, why are British Labour doing everything in the powers to undermine the Scottish parliament?

    As I alluded to before, it is NOT possible to achieve positive results when the conditions will not allow for such to happen. The RTPI has responsibility for guiding the UK’s development and it is their guidance that ensures Scotland is always at a structural disadvantage. Given this, it is remarkable what Scotland has managed to achieve.

    Devolved powers will achieve nothing until Scotland’s planning system responds to Scotland’s needs, rather than protecting the value of the pound through housing policy and such.

    Vote YES

  81. Doug Daniel says:

    “Having this system ensures that the UK cannot undercut the Scottish economy and it ensures that Scotland cannot undercut the economy of the UK. It is a position based upon shared challenges and mutual benefit.”

    What he’s saying there is that Scotland shouldn’t be allowed to have a lower tax rate than the rest of the UK, and the rest of the UK shouldn’t have a lower tax rate than Scotland. So we should have a uniform tax rate across the whole UK… Yet they’re wanting to create some complicated system to achieve this rather than simply saying “no, we’re not devolving income tax.”

    These people are fucking idiots.

    This is not “handing power to the people”. If Labour truly believed in such a thing, they would simply devolve a power and let us decide how to use it. But no, Labour know better than everyone else, so they have to make sure that powers can only be used the way they want them to be used.

    MORONS!

  82. CameronB says:

    OR strategic planning.

  83. Wp says:

    Les, Totally agree, they seem to hate good news. I commented on this story that if we discovered gold we would it would be terrible for Scotland.

  84. Desimond says:

    Ian Murray MP was televised proudly sitting front and centre in the House of Commons whilst Chukka Unumma questioned Vince Cable on the Royal Mail sell-off.

    If anybody can clarify our confusion over this Tax suggestion, I bet our Ian could do it. After all he must be an expert in such things to have gotten so far in the Labour Party!

  85. Doug Daniel says:

    Incidentally, I reckon Tom Clarke simply doesn’t have a clue what he’s on about. I think he just doesn’t understand how the 15p thing is supposed to work. Still, that in itself should be newsworthy – “Labour MP spreads misinformation to constituents.”

  86. heedtracker says:

    Still nothing from Willie Young here in Aberdeen. He is around as local rag worships Willie. I’ll try my MP Anne Begg. A bit wary as Begg’s the only MP I ever actually wrote too, Iraq war protest. I know it was pointless but I was a young lifelong Labour voter back then. Unlike Willie, Anne did reply though, in one sentence, “If think you can do a better job, why don’t you stand for office? Yours sincerely Anne Begg MP.

  87. caz-m says:

    O/T

    Rev, I wish you would hurry up and spend that money so we an get another fundraiser up and running.

    I’m right in the mood for battering Better Together all over the place.

  88. Murray McCallum says:

    I have an open mind on the existence of a planet on which the life forms refer to it as Ork.

    I am not prepared to believe that Scottish Labour’s Devo Nano proposal offers any effective devolution of income tax.

  89. TheeForsakenOne says:

    I’ve heard of him mostly because he’s my MP. Recently he gave up campaigning where I live and now concentrates entirely on Coatbridge. So unless you live there he tends not to bother much about you.

    In my communications with him, he does tend to not quite follow the party line. That’s likely because he’s not exactly a young man and so he doesn’t have to worry about ruining his career prospects by not robotically parroting the standard lines.

  90. Caroline Corfield says:

    Wp

    re: Gold in Scotland. We actually do have gold, the Honours of Scotland contain Scottish gold, and a company was wanting to set up a mine quite recently in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, can’t recall the outcome of the matter, but know lots of reassurances were flying about regarding the landscape etc. not being affected by the mine. I’m sure you can pan for gold somewhere in Tayside.

  91. AnneDon says:

    I had the cut-and-paste answer from my MSP. However, although not an answer, I received this odd enquiry from my MP, Alastair Darling, despite having my address and postcode on the original, polite, e-mail.

    “Thank you for your email of 27 March. In order to respond appropriately, I shall be grateful if you would clarify if this was sent to Alistair Darling in particular or was he copied into an email?”

    That was on 1st April. I replied, politely, that he was my MP and I would like a response from him.

    Nothing since.

  92. CameronB says:

    cavalier
    The next time Sarah Boyack contacts you, or visa versa, ask her what she thinks about these apples. I hope she will be able to understand its significance, a she does have a brief history in the planning profession (teaching)

    http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1298573.files/Parliaments.pdf

  93. heedtracker says:

    Its certainly value for money house prices in Clarke’s Coatbridge, £60k 2 bed ex council flat http://www.s1homes.com/Houses-for-sale/2014040210540665.shtml

    But this is the actual teamGB economic wonderland/freakshow thanks to the Brown/Darling supremacy. Christ knows why the English whine about Labour. They’ve made lots of them rich for being Londoners. Half a million quid for an ex council flat.
    http://archive.is/ZmPji

  94. CameronB says:

    Vronsky
    No need for a reply. Re. the Madness link to their song “The Prince”. I hoped you might have appreciated the Machiavelli reference, and how with a little add von Clausewitz, the meek can inherit the earth. Or something like that. 🙂

  95. Inbhir Anainn says:

    Last week out of 3 Emails sent – Elaine Murray – Constituency MSP, Claudia Beamish & Graeme Pearson – Regional MSPs all Scottish Labour a grand total of 1 reply back so far from (EM) and like many others, turned out to be the standard type of reply that many of us have received.

  96. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Caroline Corfield. Not only tayside. We had a goldrush up in the highlands near Helmsdale, in the Strath of Kildonan. A small town sparang up there called Baile an Or. You can still pan there.
    http://www.baileanor.org/index.php
    Theres more value in a bucket of gravel from the burn there than there is in Labours proposals

  97. heraldnomore says:

    Oh what a wheeze. Shame I have to stay in and stick needles in my eyes instead. Look forward to more photos of empty seats.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/04/eddie-izzard-scottish-independence_n_5089071.html

  98. heraldnomore says:

    And on MPs I did ask Michael McCann after he copied the Harris letter, why the views expressed were diametrically opposed to those expressed by his Leader. Of reply there has come none thus far.

    Perhaps I should forward Clarke’s wisdom to see if that produces any clarity of thought.

  99. alexicon says:

    Now this is how you write an article based on the truth.
    At least the Japanese are getting the truth.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/04/04/commentary/scotland-a-nation-not-a-region/#.Uz6V9xRwbIU

  100. a2 says:

    It’s just a headless chicken argument to look as if they are doing somthing. It dosn’t really matter about the content as long as it looks kind of important. We are the only people that have actually read the thing anyway.

    Run about daft and people will think you are busy.

  101. Phil Robertson says:

    Does anyone have any information about the SNP plans to alter taxes post-referendum other than the vague generalities offered thus far? The only indicator would their inaction during their term of government where they have changed nothing from the UK norm.

    Post above is also spoiled by the heavy syntactic and semantic analysis of the ONE exception before the analysis of the majority of responses.

  102. alexicon says:

    Phil, I very much doubt if the SNP will change the tax after the referendum.
    It would cost somewhere in the region of £50 million to HMRC for the pleasure of using their tax system and that’s just for starters.

  103. Frank Lynch says:

    Cor! My heid’s bangin’ noo. Anyway, I submitted your letter to my MP. Apart from querying my existence despite having met me on several occasions, I’ve not heard a word back.

    This Labour tax race to the bottom drivel: Why isn’t the UK competing to lower its rates to that of the Isle of Man and Jersey. Capped rate of 20% for both, no VAT in one and 3% purchase tax in the other; not to mention a whole raft of mainland taxes not payable in these independent, sterling using islands.

  104. AlbaYes says:

    Mork was funny…mcbully isnae

    Salmond No Match For Scotland’s Women http://wp.me/p2GWpJ-3G

  105. Desimond says:

    Phil

    SNP plans…do you mean the Scottish Government plans?

    To cover all bases, are you also asking for other individual parties plans following a YES vote as im sure everyoe would like to hear those for sure?

  106. Red Road Flats?!?! says:

    And no reply from my current MP Anas Sarwar. Anyone else have any joy? I say current since my ex-MP was one Tom Clarke.

    In order to gain the full benefit of his prose and the rambling nonsense therein, please read allowed, slowly, in a rather nasal yet somehow pretentious honest-I’m-not-trying-to-hide-my-accent manner.

    Rather appropriate really since Mr Clarke verbally attached a friend of mine at a hustings meeting some years ago on account of his rather well spoken manner (and eloquently phrased question), demanding to know where he was from. The meeting took place in St Augustine’s Church Hall, Coatbridge. The friend in question was rather prominent member of St Augustine’s Church, Coatbridge

  107. Desimond says:

    @heraldnomore

    How did Blair McDougall say this with a straight face

    “There is something badly wrong if we can’t poke some fun at both campaigns.”

  108. Morag says:

    I always thought that under the Calman proposals the idea was that income tax in Scotland would be cut by a certain amount and then Holyrood was expected to raise it back up to the original level by using its tax-varying power.

    This is course forces Holyrood to use the damn power even if it doesn’t want to have income tax different from England, and incurs all the expense and bureaucracy even if nothing actually changes. Gosh what a great move.

    I was assuming that if the overall rate of tax in Scotland stayed the same as in England, there would be no adjustment to Barnett, and all that would happen would be that Scotland would lose money through having to pay for this inordinately complicated collection system. What I never understood was, if Holyrood decided to put the tax up a penny above that in England, would Barnett remain as it was and Scotland get to keep the money, or would Barnett be adjusted?

    It kind of sounds as if Tom Clarke has the same handle on it as I had, but I really don’t know if that’s right or not because everyone is now busy obfuscating like mad. What’s the use of having powers to vary the tax hugely away from England’s rate anyway? Nobody would ever do it. It would be a penny or two at the most.

    It all sounds like a really complicated and expensive way to do what the Red Queen was so fond of doing: running as hard as you can to stay in the same place.

  109. Phil Robertson says:

    “SNP plans…do you mean the Scottish Government plans?

    .. following a YES vote”

    No, the SG/SNP policy following a No vote! Note the opaque answers about the SNP support or otherwise for the tax threshold increase in the recent budget. Actual numbers seem to worry them following the woeful arithemtic about the tax consequences of their childcare plans.

  110. The Man in the Jar says:

    @alexicon
    at 12:26

    That article in the Japan Times disnae miss!

    Oh to see something like that in the British MSM!

    Heres the link again.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/04/04/commentary/scotland-a-nation-not-a-region/#.Uz6vivldWJd

  111. CameronB says:

    Phil Robertson
    Hi, now I don’t know if I am a danger seeker, but I rather trust a Scottish government to set our taxes, over an imperial overlord.

    Imperialism, as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is “an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperialism

  112. msean says:

    Designed by committee for drones. If you lost an election in 2011,shouldn’t you have formed some policies for the 2016 election by now that doesn’t aim to hamstring and tie in knots that which you are trying to win?

    One thing that is clear that some just don’t get even now,is that this upcoming referendum, whether yes or no prevails,has actually got the electorate mobilised into thinking and examining policies in more depth.You must at least make all of your colleagues be able to simply put over your policies coherently.Policy wishes like this only occur when a party goes unchallenged.

  113. john mclean says:

    justheard that Margo Macdonald has passed away.RIP

  114. Red Road Flats?!?! says:

    RIP Margo. You will most certainly be missed. A brave and committed human being. We could do with a few more.

  115. Free at 63! says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news. She will be sorely missed by many in Scotland. A feisty fighter for what she believed in.
    Condolences to her family and friends.
    RIP Margo.

  116. North Chiel says:

    For Blair paterson’s information one third of the
    Forces opposing prince Charlie at culloden
    Were scots (including clan Munro and other highland Presbyterian
    Clans ),who were opposed to the catholic Stewart
    Dynasty returning to the throne .this was never the simplistic
    Scotland v England battle so often simplistically portrayed.
    Let me assure you Blair that there are plenty munro’s ( surely the name should be
    A big enough clue Blair) a famous clan
    Synonymous with the very foundations of Scotland
    Will be “fighting for” a yes vote
    In September
    North chiel



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