For the last month or so, the Unionist parties have briefly enjoyed the opportunity to taunt the SNP in the Commons over Full Fiscal Autonomy, challenging the party to bring forward proposals and accusing it of being afraid of the policy it campaigned and won on in the election. The Nats called the bluff, and today got the unsurprising result.
The reason given by Secretary of State David Mundell – who declined to appear on today’s edition of “Good Morning Scotland” to defend or explain the decision – was that FFA “would cost every family in Scotland £5,000”.
And we thought that figure had a rather familiar ring to it.
The video above is a Labour election broadcast from 2007, which the Guardian reported at the time by saying “a panic-stricken Labour Party will deliver its most negative attack yet on the Scottish National Party tomorrow in a television broadcast that paints a doomsday scenario if Alex Salmond wins power in next month’s Scottish parliamentary election”.
It’s a fair summary, as you’ll see when you watch the clip. Indeed, it may be something of an understatement. (Readers may also be amused in passing to note from the Guardian story that the video was revealed to feature senior Labour officials in the role of “ordinary members of the public”, later made famous by Clare Lally.)
We don’t recall that £5000 tax bill coming to pass when the SNP did in fact win the election. But the apparent belief of all three Unionist parties in the mystical power of the number in tackling the Nats seems undiminished.
“With nearly 5,000 staff at its handsome sandstone offices around Edinburgh, the very suggestion that Standard Life might leave is enough to send shivers through the Scottish capital where it was founded 189 years ago.“
We look forward to the next outing, with only the slightest of yawns.