For the SNP, therefore, it is not enough to argue that independence will solve everything. In order to be credible on this matter, it needs a more robust set of policies which anticipate harder times ahead and which determinedly eschew the traditional opposition solution of throwing cash at any problem that can be exploited at the ballot box. In short, the politics of the pork barrel have to stop.He even criticises the holy of holies:
Those politics are at their most obvious, and most dangerous, in the health service. Total health spending is now rising at more than 8 per cent a year, yet the public believes that services have got worse, and the statistics largely bear out that impression.Calling for a reduction in Scottish taxation, Russell says:
Strangely, even the Tories in Scotland seem unable to grasp this thistle. If the SNP did, however, it would not only have to implement that much-needed, smaller and more efficient government in which it should believe, it would also have to accept, once and for all, that spending a higher percentage of GDP per head on government services than any other European country, save the Vatican state, is no way to create the fleet-of-foot, highly motivated and strongly competitive new country Scotland needs to become.Of course some Scottish Tories do understand and call for a smaller state but that's not yet the mainstream Conservative position.
What's even more surprising is this:
Last night Mr Russell’s bold move, which would allow the SNP to outflank the Tories on tax in the 2007 Holyrood elections, won broad support from senior Nationalists.Any more of this sort of thing and I'll be fantasising about Jack McConnell quoting Hayek, but being outflanked by a Misean ultra-capitalist Colin Fox. For old times' sake we can always retain the LibDems as a token socialist opposition.