Sunday 13 March 2005

A low-tax SNP?

The forthcoming general election campaign in Scotland may turn out to be a bit more interesting than I had expected. Mike Russell used to be the SNP's chief executive and was an MSP until he was de-selected by his own party at the last Holyrood election.

Russell writes:

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.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Stuart Dickson
Young Irelander, 
from a youngish Scotlander. 
I like your blog, esp article re idiotic Sinn Fein: 
"... It seems that finally, Irish America is starting to realise what the majority of Irish people have known for some time - that there is nothing romantic about the IRA.The truth about Sinn Fein/IRA has been revealed." 
When I can get time for admin I will read it further and probably put a link in my blog.

16 March 2005, 10:37:17 GMT
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Young Irelander
I think the SNP are finally starting to make themselves a credible option for Scottish people.Are Scottish people inteerested though?

16 March 2005, 02:44:53 GMT
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David Malloch
I welcome the SNP's adoption of this common sense policy, but no sensible person can ignore the fact that the SNP generally sound more like Old Labour than Labour does. In other words they are part of the same failed social democratic consensus. Is there much that the SNP thinks cannot be solved by higher public spending? 
The SNP previously had the slogan 'Enterprise, Compassion and democracy'. Ignoring the last one, the first two are the problem in that 'Enterprise' is perfectly tangible and easy to measure, 'compassion' is deeply intangible and difficult even to define let alone measure.  
Its ridiculous to hear wee Nikki Sturgeon attack the disaster that is healthcare in Scotland when you know fine well that she opposes the sort of reforms necessary to improve it!

15 March 2005, 13:23:05 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Everything that Neil just said.

14 March 2005, 20:37:39 GMT
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Neil Craig
That Mike Russell, who is normally on the SNP left is saying this (he is basically taking the sensible "cut corporation tax" line to the more populist position of applying it to all taxes) shows that the SNP is now solidly for cuts. As you point out so do some Tories & in the long term they are unlikely to be able to allow themselves to be outflanked on this. I still have some hopes for the Lib Dems. It wouldn't take much for Wendy Alexander, who understands economics, to take on Jack. 
I am not saying all this is bound to happen but it is quite clear that the generations long logjam in Scottish politics is shifting. 
If so it will be because of devolution - to achieve political maturity it helps to actually have some power.

14 March 2005, 19:23:27 GMT
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David Farrer said...

Alan Thomson
Sorry, spelling bad again.

14 March 2005, 14:38:51 GMT
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Alan Thomson
The SNP taliking sense? I never thought I would see the day! Well only a few of them are taling sense, but hey, it may be contagious!

14 March 2005, 14:38:02 GMT
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dave t
Can someone explain why we should bother with the snide comments from Dear Don whose site features 'white pride online' etc? He is obviously to "One Scotland Many Cultures" what Attila the Hun was to diplomacy....current discussions include 'what are Asians like in Australia' Answer: a 'yellow tide' and various other rather extreme topics. Oh and a webcast from David Duke, Red Ken Livingston's newest friend....

14 March 2005, 00:20:19 GMT
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Andrew Ian Dodge
It will be fascinating if the Scots actually go down this road. The Lib-Dems already seem to have go socialist for no apparant reason.

13 March 2005, 22:54:47 GMT
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Don Black
Dickson's leaden and platitudinous contributions to political discussion remind us why he is to blogging commentary what Ronnie Corbett is to basketball.

13 March 2005, 22:17:43 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Surely you are not saying that Irene Adams, Anne Begg, Russell Brown, Desmond Browne, David Cairns, Tom Clarke, Michael Connarty, Brian Donohoe, Frank Doran, David Hamilton, Tom Harris, Jimmie Hood, Iain Luke, John Lyons, Tommy McAvoy, John MacDougall, David Marshall, John McFall, Anne McGuire, Anne McKechin, Rosemary McKenna, Lewis Moonie, Martin O'Neill, Sandra Osborne, Anne Picking, John Robertson, Ernie Ross, Frank Roy, Mohammed Sarwar, Malcolm Savidge, Jim Sheridan, Rachel Squire, David Stewart, Bill Tynan, Tony Worthington and Jimmie Wray are "political talent"! 
Puhleeese... !

13 March 2005, 21:03:40 GMT
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It mystifies me why the Labour/Lib Dem 
numpties haven't twigged that high levels of taxation result in economic sclerosis. In the long term a depressed level of economic growth results in a lower tax take. 
Under devolution we are effectively lumbered with a one party state. All political talent in Scotland takes the road south to Westminster.

13 March 2005, 20:46:14 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Good stuff.

13 March 2005, 19:42:31 GMT