Thursday 7 October 2004

In search of prudence

It's no great surprise to read that our council taxes will be going up again. The Tories are speaking out:
David McLetchie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: "We warned when the spending announcement was made that council tax was set to soar once again. "We would use planned increases in the budget to make substantial reductions in council tax of up to 45 per cent."
So can we look forward to tax cuts when the Conservatives take control of our town halls? Perhaps not. In today's Scotsman there is an interesting anecdote from ex-councillor George Kerevan:
WHEN I was a local-authority committee chairman, there was a little ritual that happened every year: the Tory opposition would denounce me for financial incompetence. My sin was systematically to underspend the departmental budget. This used to perplex me, as I thought the whole point of financial prudence was to deliver on goals as cheaply as possible, and that Tories - of all people - should know that. Silly me! Welcome to the wacky world of public finance, where sensible financial accountability is as rare as a Tory in Motherwell.
So the Edinburgh Conservatives used to blame the Labour city council for spending too little! Some of us have a sneaking feeling that nothing much has changed. Listening to the Tories at their Bournemouth conference doesn't fill me with confidence that spending would be cut by a future Howard government. I think I'd rather have Mr Kerevan's "financial incompetence".

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

David Malloch
Sadly through their support for pretty much all of Scottish Labours outdated socialist nostrums they - The SNP - intend to keep Scotland in the political dark ages, should they ever win power. 
My vote is also up for grabs too, and if I could find a single party advocating sensible grown up politics I would gladly give it to them. But there isn't.

9 October 2004, 20:29:13 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
I've just re-read David McLetchie's column in The Scots Independent of 1 Oct. 
I had completely missed the significance of this gem: 
"...Independence is a holy grail which may never be attained and that practical co-operation within a federal or semi-federal system is what people now expect of their political parties." 
I thought British federalism was the exclusive preserve of the Liberal Democratic Party? Is this a change in Tory policy? When can we expect the opening of the re-convened English Parliament and a written, federal constitution? 
If federalism is so fab, why does Mr McLetchie oppose a "semi-federal" Europe? 
He has even less of a leg to stand on when he asks if the SNP "is willing to break free from this statist consensus and come up with new ideas on how to improve our public services and strengthen our economy based on experience in other western European countries." 
The SNP wants Scotland to re-emerge as a normal European country. The Conservatives want it to remain an insignificant colony.

8 October 2004, 17:17:02 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Duffin
I'm glad to hear the SNP is a broad church. I have often wondered what they would do AFTER achieving their alleged main objective. Socialism, I supposed, and still suppose. 
I say "alleged" main objective because of course, they still keep going on about "Independence within Europe", which is a pretty stunning oxymoron. 
My vote's up for grabs too, but I don't see anybody out there who looks like inspiring me.

8 October 2004, 12:42:09 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
I am not privy to the SNP's membership database, but I do know that he is claimed as one of the very few nationalists to have a prominent journalistic position. Up until its re-vamp 3 months ago The Scots Independent (monthly nationalist newspaper) had a regular column on the "goodies" and "baddies" among Scots media figures. Kerevan was always claimed as an SNP supporter. 
He was definitely a member in the late 1990's because I can quite clearly remember the joy that his defection from Labour created at a local branch meeting in Glasgow Kelvin. We even wanted to nominate him to stand in the National Executive election, but when asked he declined. 
(The Scots Independent re-vamp was much needed. It is now much more detatched from the official SNP, embracing the wider nationalist movement and non-nationalists. David McLetchie wrote quite a good column last month!) 
In my experience his liberal economic views are supported by a surprisingly large minority of SNP members and senior office-bearers, but they tend to keep their heads down due to the power of the social democratic core of the party (and the small but vociferous socialist wing, which is in gradual decline due to the rise of the SSP and SGP.) 
As befits a party which aspires to be national, the SNP is a broad church.

7 October 2004, 14:47:52 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Is he still a member? I know that he once was a prospective candidate. How widely are his economic views held in the SNP? 
My vote remains up-for-grabs!

7 October 2004, 13:18:44 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Mr Kerevan is a member of the Scottish National Party. Have you seen the light and committed your vote to Scottish independence?

7 October 2004, 13:15:41 GMT+01:00