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Wings Over Scotland


Matters of life and death

Posted on December 02, 2014 by

Of all the powers that Labour were reportedly responsible for keeping reserved to Westminster, abortion law is perhaps the most revealing about Labour’s true attitude towards Scotland and devolution during the Smith Commission’s deliberations.

It’s one of a handful of issues, including embryology, xenotransplantation (that’s transplanting a cell or organ from one species to another) and surrogacy, which would otherwise fall to the Cabinet Secretary for Health had Labour not specifically reserved them when creating the Scottish Parliament in 1997.

abortionloonies

(In fact, it was Tony Blair who personally insisted that abortion law remain reserved to Westminster. Donald Dewar was apparently in favour of devolving it, but we all know who wins in a battle between Scottish Labour and London Labour.)

If the Smith Commission was nothing else, it was an opportunity for unionists – Labour in particular – to prove their commitment to devolution by relinquishing their hold on powers previously considered too important to fall within the Scottish Parliament’s remit. Unsurprisingly, they declined it.

The main point of devolving abortion law was not so that Scotland could use it to increase or lower the limit (something inconceivable under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership) – it was simply to prove that Scots were trusted enough to be able to decide for themselves what that limit should be if they so chose. And Labour’s view is plainly that they’re not.

Maria Eagle, UK Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (a portfolio which is devolved, incidentally), was apparently furious at the idea of abortion being devolved, saying “This is outrageous. What we’ve got is a bunch of men deciding on women’s rights to abortion.”

(Ironically, it was the two non-Tory women in the Smith negotiations, the Greens’ Maggie Chapman and Linda Fabiani of the SNP, who were reportedly the strongest proponents of devolving the law, but it was “a bunch of men” – Ed Miliband, Gregg McClymont and Iain Gray – who ultimately blocked it from being devolved.)

A revision of Margo McDonald’s Assisted Suicide Bill is currently being considered in the Scottish Parliament. This means Scotland is in the bizarre situation of being allowed to decide whether an adult human being can be euthanised, but not whether a foetus can be aborted. If that bill gets passed, it would mean doctors north of the border would be allowed to assist suicide, but not south of the border – the very situation Labour claims to be behind their refusal to allow abortion law to be devolved.

Women having to cross the border to get an abortion, then, is unacceptable (unless it’s from Northern Ireland, where UK citizens have only very restricted rights to terminations), but a Parkinson’s sufferer from Cornwall having to make their way north to die in dignity at the hands of an unknown doctor would be totally fine.

(We have to assume this to be the case as euthanasia isn’t a reserved issue. It was Labour, after all, who chose which powers to devolve when they created the modern Scottish Parliament, and they were happy to let Holyrood decide.)

Labour claim to be concerned that Brian Souter’s supposed influence over the SNP would lead to a more conservative abortion limit, yet Souter – who was far more active in opposing gay rights than abortion –  failed to exert any such influence to prevent the SNP from passing one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world.

Labour’s message to Scotland is clear: they’ll decide which issues we’re responsible enough to have control over (which is precisely why further devolution is always decided through unionist-led commissions, rather than giving Scots a direct say).

It’s a message that strikes at the very heart of the attitude taken to both the Calman and Smith Commissions, namely that Scotland needs to justify why it should have control over powers rather than Westminster having to justify keeping them.

Perhaps it’s because ever since it’s been run by the SNP, it’s clear that Labour sees Holyrood – with its constant demand for new grown-up responsibilities – rather like a child it wishes it had never had.

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    51 to “Matters of life and death”

    1. Rod C says:

      I thought it was in case we introduced retrospective abortion for Murphy & Brown….

    2. Macart says:

      Good post Doug.

      Trust and reciprocity, they haven’t made the connection in Westminster politics.

    3. Kenny says:

      I’m actually strongly pro-life, so the prospect of a more empowered Scotland liberalising abortion law is a concern to me. Then again, in 1997, one of the real fears was that Scotland would become more like the north of Ireland and England would end up picking up the strain. I think that’s less likely now.

      However, I’m pretty certain that one of Labour’s bigger concerns then and now is that the Catholic Church in Scotland would have to come out explicitly against Labour’s pro-abortion stance. Labour has relied strongly on the Catholic vote (such as it is or was) in Glasgow and the west of Scotland for a long time. Protection of Catholic schools has always been a bit of a shibboleth in Glasgow. But given the apparent support for independence amongst Scottish Catholics, that core, unchangeable vote seems to have weakened substantially. If the Church were forced to come out against the “Scottish” Labour, it would surely weaken further, no matter how many times Jim Murphy tries to remind us what team he supports.

    4. Morag says:

      further devolution is always decided through unionist-led commissions, rather than giving Scots a direct say

      This is something all the independence-supporting parties need to keep banging on about. We’re never trusted to make decisions for ourselves, and even the decision about what decisions we might be allowed to make is taken out of our hands.

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      “no matter how many times Jim Murphy tries to remind us what team he supports.”

      You mean to say Jim Murphy likes football? He should think about mentioning that sometime…

    6. desimond says:

      Abortion devloved…what and possibly upset the fragile Catholic heartlands….heaven forbid! Cant have priests ranting from the pulpits at the red rose now!

      Heaven help Scottish Labour if they only had the Orange Order on side!

    7. Doug Daniel says:

      Actually Kenny, the chances of the gestation limit ever being increased is unlikely, given that in the EU, only Cyprus (28 weeks) allows abortions past the 24 week limit the UK imposes.

      Although we are rather out of step with the majority of the continent in requiring justification for an abortion, rather than simply allowing them on request. But that’s a debate for another day…

    8. Muscleguy says:

      Note too that with the generosity of the Weirs and 92,000 (and counting) subs paying members the SNP have even less need for Mr Souter’s money. So his influence, minor on such matters as you detail, is now even smaller than before. Didn’t stop someone elsewhere advancing his views as a reason why Holyrood would restrict abortion in some way.

      I agree though that good reasons need to be advanced (which do not include party advantage) for powers to be retained at Westminster rather than the other way around. The problem is Westminster meant the devolved parliaments to be solutions. To keep the various nationalisms quiet and distracted. Not noisy and ever demanding more and more competences.

      They do indeed increasingly look like problem children trying to grow up instead of content infants happily playing in their new sandpits.

    9. Swami Backverandah says:

      “Labour sees Holyrood – with its constant demand for new grown-up responsibilities – rather like a child it wishes it had never had.”

      I imaging that same sentiment is also the current feeling of the “British” Labour Party to their unruly Scottish spawn.

    10. Lollysmum says:

      Good post Doug & it does show up Westminster for what it is-UNACOUNTABLE to the electorate. Feet dragging by WM for years means that I’ve decided to go to Switzerland (Dignitas)when dementia hits me. It runs in my family & having cared for my father with dementia, I couldn’t & wouldn’t expect my family to do the same for me. I am impressed by Scotgov’s stance on this & only wish WM would do the same instead of pandering to the vested interests. It is my choice to make not yours.

      As for abortion-yes women should be deciding not three male party leaders who don’t have a clue. The fact that Scottish parties wanted this power devolved is to be commended not blocked for no good reason other than a tenuous statement that it would lead to a two tier system in the UK. If you had but noticed we already have that with the differences in Northern Ireland so the argument doesn’t stack up.

      This was clearly about WM saying it’s our power & you are not having it. Reminiscent of a school playground more than anything else.

    11. Luigi says:

      I cannot understand why unionist politicians seem to be so bloody mean-spirited when it comes to devolution. If the Red Tories in particular, are so reluctant to devolve even a few meaningful powers, then why the hell did they bother with devolution in the first place?

      Message to the Red Tories – don’t start something you don’t believe in.

    12. galamcennalath says:

      …. the very heart of the attitude taken to both the Calman and Smith Commissions, namely that Scotland needs to justify why it should have control over powers rather than Westminster having to justify keeping them.

      Yes, specific issues aside, that is the main point!

      I would go further and say powers should in general be held as locally as possible. The case should be made for reserving powers to a higher level, not the other way round.

      However none of that should surprise us. The UK is all about sucking power centrally and then only grudingly devolving. I suppose it goes right back to the whole question of where sovereignty lies.

    13. Proud Cybernat says:

      “…it’s clear that Labour sees Holyrood – with its constant demand for new grown-up responsibilities – rather like a child it wishes it had never had.”

      And whenever Labour’s Scotland branch office has the chance of being the baby itself in Holyrood, it always does exactly what mummy tells it.

    14. chalks says:

      @Luigi

      They didn’t really have a choice with devolution though did they?

      Was it not UN pushed? They just turned themselves into the party of devolution….

      They want no new powers given to us as it continues to separate Scotland from England.

    15. Grizzle McPuss says:

      Good post Doug, showing up yet more banality of attitude in our alleged “grown up” politicians in the south.

      The objection in not allowing MSP’s to decide on matters of life, yet permissible in the subject of death throws up such blatant contradictions. If anything, euthanasia has been far more a contentious subject area in the past few years than abortion.
      This is not in any way me advocating a diminishing of the abortion issue.

      So, why the disparity in attitude of our Masters?

      Here we have exposed yet more accountability deficit to our local elected representatives.

      This post reminds me of one of the bigger questions that I often put to No-buts; why not be a more significant voice as ‘one in five million’, as opposed to a non-existent squeek as one in sixty-five million?

    16. steveasaneilean says:

      Slight point of pedantry Stu – Margot’s bill is NOT about euthansia – it’s about assisted suicide which is something quite different.

    17. MochaChoca says:

      It’s one thing think for Labour to petulantly claim that an SNP party donor could influence government policy, but it would be something entirely different for Smith (or the UK government) to actually take that on board as an express reason for withholding a power which should be devolved.

      Is that really how it panned out?

    18. Robert Louis says:

      Excellent article Douglas.

      This really gets to the point, in that those in Westminster simply think Scots are incapable of making rational choices on important matters. It is, in every way, very very insulting to the people of Scotland.

    19. jimnarlene says:

      Labour really do think that, we are children and we need to be guided through life. We have grown up and it’s long past the time, to cut the apron strings or umbilical cord.

    20. jake says:

      We’re not genetically programmed to make decisions like that…about genetics an’ stuff.

    21. WillieG says:

      Actually where we are as a society is drifting further away from politics in general.
      It is a social decision and a very personal one at that on both euthanasia ans abortion.
      What the politicians are afraid to do is take a position because they know they will offend a large facet of society whatever they do.
      So they do nothing.
      At least the Scottish parliament are prepared to investigate and legislate…….
      Westminster are shit scared to do either.

    22. Alan Mackintosh says:

      @steveasaneilean, not Stu’s article, Doug Daniel penned it.

    23. joe kane says:

      Excellent analysis as usual Rev. The same goes for devolving welfare and the DWP to the Scottish Parliament.

      We all know the SNP government, which is going to be around for a wee while yet, would completely reverse all of neoliberal Westminster’s attacks on the Scottish welfare state. Given that the so-called welfare reforms are costing an absolute fortune (and have only resulted in the deaths of thousands of sick and disabled people, foodbanks, forced labour workfare schemes, people simply refusing to register as unemployed due to sanctions etc etc) it can’t even be argued that a devolved welfare state wouldn’t be affordable. We’d save money by reversing these untested, unproven and unscientific welfare reforms and the poorest and most vulnerable wouldn’t be treated like a criminal underclass by the state.

      Yet Labour does not want welfare devolved. They’re quite happy to see the pain and suffering wrought by IDS and Festher McVile on the Scottish working class whose interests they claim to represent.

    24. handclapping says:

      @joe kane, and everybody else
      Stop using their language its not “welfare” its social security. Welfare is that lady of the manor stuff that Rachel Reeves wants Labour to stop. Social Security is look after the low or you will hang high.

      If you keep on grinding our faces you eventually get to the iron in our soul and sparks fly. In such cases burning London seems like a good idea. So keep reminding them by using social security and not “welfare”, and definitely not “benefits”.
      [/rant]

    25. Davie Reynolds says:

      Good piece Doug,

      “Labour sees Holyrood…. like a child it wishes it never had”

      If only Donald Dewar had given away more of the North Sea we might have more devolved power. Then again, maybe not.

    26. manandboy says:

      I think we’ll find with the passing of time – if not sooner on Wings – that the Smith/Cabinet Commission had nothing to do with Devolution.

      It was a political football kicked onto a rugby park pretending to get the game going.

      Or feeding Scottish voting fish by inserting a big hook into the bait.

      Any other thought process which in any way seriously links Smith with devolution is to confuse helping with hindering.

      The quick way to understand the British Government
      is to listen to someone who is a lot further – shot 7 times further – down the road in their dealings with Westminster than we are.

      Bernadette McAliskey is not someone I’ve heard before, but
      where she comes from, there is NO connection between Democracy and Westminster.

      Listen in if you haven’t already done so, at 10.00 mins in for 30 seconds.

      http://www.bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/11/27/bernadette-mcaliskey-ric-2014/

    27. joe kane says:

      So much for the British welfare state then.

    28. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Labour getting upset over abortion being devolved is as ludicrous as having the yellow tories lecturing others on women’s rights and equality while Lord Rennard is still at the heart of their party.

    29. CameronB Brodie says:

      Labour claim to be concerned that Brian Souter’s supposed influence over the SNP would lead to a more conservative abortion limit, ….

      I smell something unpleasant, which is no surprise at all.

      A YouGov poll in January found that of the 37% of Britons who favoured a lowering of the 24 week limit (34% supported the status quo) the majority were women. In total, twice as many women as men (49% as opposed to 24%) wanted to see a lower limit. There was also an interesting age difference: among the younger age group (18-24) support for a lower limit stood at 43%, whereas in the two older age groups it was 35%. Strikingly, support for a reduction to 20 weeks or below was highest among people who expressed a preference for Labour rather than the two other main parties – which again fits ill with the concept of a “Tory war on women”. – Nelson Jones, New Statesman, 2012

      http://godandpoliticsuk.org/2012/10/08/only-labour-stand-in-the-way-of-the-abortion-limit-being-reduced/

    30. fred blogger says:

      our welsh cousins always boost my moral.
      listen to this, esp 60secs in, with that wonderful counterpoint.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM4mIlYKG9s
      love to hear them sing freedom come all ye.

    31. manandboy says:

      @fredblogger
      Is there a nation that sings better than the Welsh?
      I wonder if they have a British unionist problem down there – it sure doesn’t sound like it.
      When the Welsh sing their anthem they tell me they know who they are.
      Pity we don’t.

    32. Lollysmum says:

      @ manandboy

      Thanks for the link to Bernadette McAliskey’s speech-yes inspiring. She certainly impressed the RIC audience.

      If you listen right through to the end she talks about who Scotland should send to negotiate with WM on Scotlands future. As she gave the description of the type of person needed for that job I immediately though of Alex Salmond & also Stu. Listen to it for yourselves & see what I mean. She described both to a tee.

    33. Legerwood says:

      I believe it was a Scottish MP sitting for a Scottish constituency who introduced the Abortion bill in the form of a Private Member’s Bill. David Steel was the MP. Therefore it is somewhat ironic that we are not to be trusted with it now.

    34. Dinnatouch says:

      Labour’s message to Scotland is clear: they’ll decide which issues we’re responsible enough to have control over (which is precisely why further devolution is always decided through unionist-led commissions, rather than giving Scots a direct say).

      It pains me to say it but Scots were given a direct say on the 18th of September, so maybe Labour is right not to trust us with any meaningful powers.

    35. fred blogger says:

      manandboy
      they let everyone know who we all are, beautifully sung and in pure defiance.

    36. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      Slightly off thread but related to the NI link.

      I was surprised to see that NI are going to be given control of corporation tax tomorrow?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-30286450

      Related to Nicola Sturgeon and on BBC NI but not mentioned on BBC Scotland – funny that ?

      What happened to pulling and sharing and how can Scotland and Wales now compete against Northern Ireland if they reduce corporation tax?

      Whatever next ?

    37. Stoker says:

      Kenny says @ 3.29pm:

      “However, I’m pretty certain that one of Labour’s bigger concerns then and now is that the Catholic Church in Scotland would have to come out explicitly against Labour’s pro-abortion stance. Labour has relied strongly on the Catholic vote (such as it is or was) in Glasgow and the west of Scotland for a long time. Protection of Catholic schools has always been a bit of a shibboleth in Glasgow. But given the apparent support for independence amongst Scottish Catholics, that core, unchangeable vote seems to have weakened substantially. If the Church were forced to come out against the “Scottish” Labour, it would surely weaken further, no matter how many times Jim Murphy tries to remind us what team he supports.”

      10 out of 10, Sir!
      😉

    38. Taranaich says:

      Labour claim to be concerned that Brian Souter’s supposed influence over the SNP would lead to a more conservative abortion limit, ….

      This, right here, is exactly why New Labour in Scotland goes beyond contemptible into downright evil, in my eyes – it’s stirring sectarianism.

      From the Catholic point of view, it’s saying that the rest of the people of Scotland are “against” them, and so cannot be trusted to make the “right decision” – only Westminster can be trusted. Same reason they scaremonger about the SNP being “anti-Catholic” and warn about the impending abolition of Catholic schools.

      From the non-Catholic point of view, it’s saying the Catholics have undue influence on the Scottish government’s policies by way of one of its biggest donors. Same reason they constantly scaremonger about an independent Scotland turning into Ireland during the Troubles.

      Either way you look at it, it’s creating division between Catholics and non-Catholics. The SNP are accused of being anti-Catholic to Catholics, yet also too concessional to Catholics to non-Catholics. Classic New Labour two-faced scummery.

    39. Martin says:

      I’m not as bothered about abortion either way as I maybe once was, having now seen a bit of life. I think 24 weeks is pushing it (but then a friend of mine was born at 22 weeks 27 years ago…) but I think the issue, as the rev points out, is about the paternal “you’re not responsible enough for this” attitude that it demonstrates.

      Typical Labour.

    40. ben madigan says:

      To be quite honest I have no idea what the current abortion legislation in Scotland is.
      I thought the 1967 law applied but am willing to admit I may be mistaken.
      I was shocked when it was brought up as a bargaining tool – it never crossed my mind that it was even an issue – I live and learn!!

      To help clarify the irish position for everyone here’s an over-view of what the abortion issue in Ireland North and South.

      Please bear in mind that NI has always refused to implement the 1967 legislation from the orange state monoply, through direct rule from Westminster right up to the latest power-sharing Agreement.

      Remember also that the Republic of ireland was heavily influenced by catholic doctrine until very recent times (and still is) https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/abortion-on-demand-now/

      Having said that,pulling the question of protection/non-protection of Catholic schools into the abortion issue has always been a bit of a red herring –

      under EU law I think parents are entitled to choose where/how their children are schooled and if some prefer catholic schools, so be it. there’s no point complaining about freedom of choice.

      The question of state funding for these religious/ private types of schools (whatever denomination they are) is another kettle of fish which is rarely addressed.

    41. Onwards says:

      Of course, it’s because each and every power devolved is seen as another crack in the foundation of the UK.

      Brit Nats are terrified that it could reach a tipping point, and people could begin thinking:

      “Why don’t we just upgrade Scotland to ALL powers – and then get all the extra benefits that come with being a normal country ?”

    42. ben madigan says:

      @ Dr JM Mackintosh who said

      “I was surprised to see that NI are going to be given control of corporation tax tomorrow?”

      The stormont assembly has been hankering after this for quite some time – at least a couple of years.
      Westminster justifies changes in the NI corporation tax because of land border with the republic of ireland (tax 12.5% if I’m not mistaken) – competition, let the markets decide etc
      Another argument is that there is no reason why devolution should be evenly distributed throughout the UK

      I can fully understand and support Scotland wanting a similar reduction in corporation tax but an argument along the grounds of “They’ve got it Why can’t we have it” doesn’t seem to me the best way to go.

      Please remember the current NI set-up is the fruit of international agreements involving the ROI, UK and the USA so what happens there is not at all applicable in the rest of the UK.
      Also from my reading of history the Uk has been trying to dump NI since the 1920 Govt of ireland Act – won’t go into historical details here!
      Finally some Secretary of State for NI declared the British govt has “no selfish strategic or economic interest in NI. They may sound like weasel words – but no UK govt has ever said anything remotely similar about Scotland –
      Indeed Scotland was love-bombed during the referendum campaign.

      Just sayin’ like – you can’t compare oranges with apples!!
      even though the powers that be try to tell you those oranges are really apples!!

      I am confident scotland will find more convincing/pertinent arguments to support its position on a lower corporation tax – and here’s to every success!

    43. tartanpigsy says:

      @Manandboy

      “the Smith/Cabinet Commission had nothing to do with Devolution.

      It was a political football kicked onto a rugby park pretending to get the game going”

      Exactly that.

      Great article by the way Doug.

    44. keaton says:

      @Taranaich
      From the non-Catholic point of view, it’s saying the Catholics have undue influence on the Scottish government’s policies by way of one of its biggest donors.

      Is Souter a Catholic? I always assumed he was Wee Free or some other ultra-Presbyterian faction.

    45. Natasha says:

      As a (sometimes) practising Catholic, I can assure you that what the Church says and what the laity think on issues such as contraception and a woman’s right to choose are usually poles apart. If the Labour party are worried about offending the Catholic Church, then it’s only the hierarchy they’ve been speaking to, and given the severe shortage of priests and religious in the Church, they are talking to precious few voters.

      Most ordinary Catholics quietly practise contraception and, while being genuinely distressed for sincerely held reasons at the fact of abortions taking place, would not impose their views on others and would defend a woman’s right to choose. They also understand that it is better to have safe legal abortion facilities than backstreet abortionists butchering women. However, you never hear the voices of ordinary Catholics in Scotland, because it’s only the bishops and cardinals who sound off about it in the media (and look how the last one turned out! Bet he wished he’d kept his mouth shut).

      There’s an interesting parallel here; the hierarchy would like the laity to sit down, shut up and do as they’re told, like good little children. Remind you of anything?

    46. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      @ben madigan
      Thanks for your comments – mine were a bit tongue in cheek.

      I am quite happy that NI have control over corporation tax – this is what devolution is all about and I hope it boosts their economy and lets them compete with Eire on a more even footing. (Not sure why it not called a race to the bottom when applied to Ireland- though?)

      My real point is the contrast between NI and Scotland where devolution of corporation tax would be a REALLY BAD thing.

      Also it is interesting to see the “devolution” of broadcasting to BBC NI where they seem to report issues that are too sensitive for us Scots to see or read.

      Guess who reported on the OO march in Edinburgh pre-referendum and who did not?

    47. @ben madigan
      “Indeed Scotland was love-bombed during the referendum campaign.”
      The No campaigns battle plan was codenamed `project fear`

      Pensioners told they would lose their pensions.
      Scottish children not getting access to Great Ormond Street Hospital
      Polish and other migrant communities told they would have to leave
      if Scotland became Independent.
      Organ transplants at risk
      Walls and guard posts across the border.

      This is a small sample of `project fear`
      There was also the scaremongering by big business that they would leave Scotland and that we would be thrown out of the EC.
      All this and more with no rebuttal from an Establishment controlled media especially the lickspittle British Broadcasting Corporation.
      You obviously were not in Scotland during the Referendum campaign and if your source of information about it was through the BBC you certainly did not get the true story.

    48. Epiphyta says:

      @Natasha:

      A woman of my acquaintance, speaking about a current uproar here in the States over an Arizona biology textbook, said this; I wondered if you found it consistent with your experience? I’m not Catholic myself, but I’m curious.

      … there needs to be a boilerplate tag at the bottom of every article like this noting that, although Catholics are *told* not to contracept, studies on contraceptive activities have consistently shown that around 95% of USian Catholic women have used artificial contraception at one time or another (no numbers on how many currently, actively use it, but as one of ’em I’d guess at least 50%), and another tag about the fact that an awful lot of Catholic couples use NFP as contraception – they may handwave around the “c” word and it may be ineffective, but somewhere deep down they know perfectly well that’s why they’re doing it), and then another tag for theology geeks to note that according to official Catholic doctrine it’s debatable whether artificial contraception is a grave sin, since any doctrine that 95% of the body of the faithful has rejected is officially Not Received, and therefore officially Not Doctrine.

    49. chalks says:

      @ben madigan says:
      2 December, 2014 at 9:42 pm@ Dr JM Mackintosh

      I believe a better response from the SG would be regarding APD and if that is good enough to be devolved then why not the other taxes?

      Devolving APD effectively puts us in competition with London, this is where we could shove their free market, neo-liberalism up their arse….’let the markets decide’ where best for business

    50. ben madigan says:

      @ scott finlayson – yes there was indeed project fear but there was also an attempt at sweet talking.
      Mr cameron and others repeated how much they really loved Scotland,and wanted it to remain in the Union . They asked people to ring scottish friends and tell them how much they were appreciated and valued within the UK, The “Vow” promised everything scotland could possibly wish for except independence.

      I cannot remember either type of propaganda ever being directed at NI

    51. Chic McGregor says:

      @ben madigan

      Let’s be clear here. It is the Westminster government, and Cameron in particular, who use the concept of regional parities of various kinds along with his EVEL ‘justification’.

      If it were truly based on a principle of level playing field then fair enough. But of course, it is not, the WG will always put what is to the advantage of those they are most beholding to first, if they can. Whether that is lower CT in NI to counter lower CT in Ireland, perhaps even entice corporate relocations from there, or the creation of satellite tax havens or regional diversity in welfare entitlement. No moral principle involved. I suspect his machinations are designed to be anti rather than pro devolutionary.

      At least the SNP politicians are open and honest in the reasons they would want lower CT for Scotland, whether independent or not. No sickening moralising veneer from them.



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