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Wings Over Scotland



Anything you can do 102

Posted on April 09, 2014 by

If it’s Wednesday, Labour must have changed their position on their future-devolution proposals again. Following our latest highlighting of the glaring contradictions in the shambolic “Devo Nano” plans, responses have started arriving to your letters.

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If you’ve been listening closely, you’ll have heard that the position on whether the Scottish Parliament would be able to reduce taxes below the UK level has see-sawed from “No you can’t” (Johann Lamont MSP, 18 March) to “Yes you can” (Richard Baker MSP, 28 March) and back to “No you can’t” again (Tom Clarke MP, 4 April).

Well, guess what?

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Devo Nano no-show a-go-go 89

Posted on April 08, 2014 by

Alert readers can’t have failed to spot that we’ve been devoting quite a bit of attention on Wings to Labour’s devolution proposals, chiefly because they’re by default the closest thing to the “more powers” option that’s so conspicuously missing from the referendum ballot paper at the insistence of the Unionist parties.

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We’ve established that the party itself doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what its own proposals are, and we’re still in the process of trying to get to the bottom of it. But as our latest Panelbase poll was “in the field” fairly hot on the heels of the launch of the “Devo Nano” paper, we thought we’d see what the Scottish people made of it.

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Just the brass tacks 92

Posted on April 05, 2014 by

We appreciate some of you have been struggling to keep up with our investigations into Labour’s devolution proposals. So we’ve boiled it right down.

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Once more unto the breach 103

Posted on April 04, 2014 by

Sorry, folks, but it looks like we’re going to have to do this all over again. In the light of last night’s bizarre revelations about Scottish Labour’s shambolic “Devo Nano” proposals, even the barest semblance of coherence in the party’s plans has disintegrated, with Coatbridge MP Tom Clarke flatly contradicting the form letters sent out by numerous other MPs and MSPs over the last few days.

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So once more we may have to ask you to drop your elected member another wee line and see if we can’t get this properly cleared up once and for all.

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Mork calling Orson, come in Orson 118

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.

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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.

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Through the fog of war 197

Posted on March 29, 2014 by

Some readers didn’t fully grasp the meaning of our post yesterday evening which shed light on the full tangled horror of Scottish Labour’s proposals for “extended” devolution if Scotland votes No this September. We don’t entirely blame them, because trying to make sense of both the proposals and the godawful leaden writing in which the party’s document explained them is no easy task.

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So we’re going to see if we can simplify it all a bit.

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The Devo Nano Policy Explosion 469

Posted on March 28, 2014 by

We’ve had a second response from a Labour elected representative to a reader, regarding our six simple factual questions about the party’s “Devo Nano” proposals for the Scottish Parliament. This one’s from Richard Baker, regional MSP for North East Scotland and Labour’s former Shadow Finance Secretary.

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We were extremely surprised by its contents. You can read the reply, stripped only of two paragraphs of introductory waffle about Keir Hardie, below.

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Devo Nano Watch, 26 March 103

Posted on March 26, 2014 by

So, who wants to play a wee fun quiz game over how many responses we’ve had from the members of Labour’s Devolution Commission to our polite request for clarification of some issues regarding their post-No taxation policy?

(a) None, still not even a single form acknowledgement of our email?

(b) Oh, you got it already.

It’s almost as if they wanted to pretend it didn’t exist, isn’t it?

Devo Nano Watch, 24 March 80

Posted on March 24, 2014 by

So far we’ve had no replies – not even automated form ones – from any of the members of Scottish Labour’s “Devolution Commission” we emailed these questions to. They’re fair and reasonable questions, asked politely on behalf of 200,000+ Wings readers and all Scottish voters, and there’s no conceivable excuse not to answer them. We’ll be keeping on at this until we get some. The email we sent is below.

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The Red Squirrel Papers 78

Posted on March 23, 2014 by

Earlier this week we noticed the curious lack of media coverage of the “Devo Nano” report. As the document spelling out Labour’s “more powers” offer to Scotland in the event of a No vote, its release was ostensibly the most important milestone so far in the independence debate, so we found it very strange to see it get such a muted reception, particularly from the Daily Record.

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Two days later the explanation arrived, in the form of the so-called “Red Paper”. Described by some journalists as a “mini-manifesto”, it was a 64-page uncosted wishlist of vague feelgood notions like reducing child poverty. (A brave, daring and controversial step there to be sure.) And this time the papers were all over it.

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Help for Scottish journalists 165

Posted on March 22, 2014 by

Alert readers will know that one of this site’s key themes for the last several months has been examining the true meaning of Labour’s pledge to “pool and share resources” within the UK if Scotland votes No – pointing out that as Scotland is one of the wealthiest parts of the UK due to its oil resources, “pooling and sharing” means diverting more Scottish money to poor parts of England and Wales.

(Northern Ireland already gets the biggest share of UK spending.)

And those same readers will also have noted our ongoing puzzlement at the continued failure of any Scottish reporters or broadcasters to question Labour on that point. But is it possible to solve this unfathomable mystery?

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A small exaggeration 103

Posted on March 20, 2014 by

The SNP has made hay with the damning appraisal of Scottish Labour’s “Devo Nano” plans which was delivered this week by charity think-tank Reform Scotland, and in particular its rejection of Labour’s claims that the proposals would mean Holyrood raising 40% of its own budget.

(As we’ve noted before, we’re not very sure why anyone’s meant to find that exciting anyway. You don’t make a difference to society by changing the address of the tax office, you make it by changing what you spend your money on.)

Because it looks, not for the first time, as if Labour’s got its sums wildly wrong.

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