Sunday 8 April 2007

Midwinter v Simpson

The two protagonists are fighting again.


SCOTLAND'S leading public finance expert has issued a savage attack on the SNP, accusing it of "lacking the fiscal competence necessary for governing", and describing its plans for tax cuts as "a nonsense".


The language and tone of Mr Midwinter’s comments on the SNP’s financial plans are more appropriate to a press release of a political party rather than a balanced analysis.
We're in danger of losing the big picture here. Instead of arguing about 1.5% or 3% efficiency savings, we should be asking this:
Is there a case for voting SNP so as to give Labour a bloody nose?

Answer: Yes

Is there a case for voting SNP because you think Scotland should be independent?

Answer: Yes. But if you believe this there's no point in being drawn into arguments about the financial minutiae.

The real question is whether the country should be independent or remain in the UK. It really isn't a matter of money; it's an emotional thing. The Nationalists are quite correct to say that Scotland could thrive as an independent country, and that would be true even without the oil. Our per-capita GDP is only just below that of the UK as a whole and is close to the European average. What we would need of course is some decent politicians - most of the present lot would have to go.

I gave my views on the question of the Union here (Scroll down if necessary.)

One of the things I wrote was this:

Anyone knowing history can only be impressed by the overwhelmingly positive things that have come out of the UK. I'm not convinced that the Union's time is up.
But I'm beginning to wonder, as are others. For the first time in my life I am approaching an election without knowing for whom I shall vote.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

You could vote SNP on the Constituency and Scottish Voice on the Regional list (?) 
Gus @

14 April 2007, 22:21:08 GMT+01:00
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Neil Craig
Hadrian an alternative way in which Alex salmond could be your best hope is that we Scots & the SNP in particular have noticed that Ireland has achieved spectacular growth by cutting business taxes 7 free marketism. This has not penetrated the westminster village. The SNP want to intorduce similar policies here, though in a tamer way. If they do so & it works this will undoubtedly be noticed down south & it will become a popular issue in UK politics. By comparison with economic success whether we are one state or 2 is of limited relevance though I would prefer a confederal union.

12 April 2007, 13:06:59 GMT+01:00
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Sam Duncan
Not all Scots, Hadrian. I sure as hell wasn't. Then again, I do sometimes feel like a Saudi Arabian Christian. Which is why, although I sympathise, the last thing I want is independence, real or the SNP's EU province version: it would, for the foreseeable future, at least, lead us (further) into socialist hell. 
But as I said, don't think Wee Eck will save you. He doesn't want to be independent of your money. If you really want to stop subsidising Scotland (while continuing to subsidise the north of England to very nearly the same extent, it must be said), you'll have to get out of the EU, which I assume is what APL is alluding to. 
It might well be that the Nats' kid-on independence would push English opinion in that direction, like devolution has, but I wouldn't bank on it. The money trail is less obvious. The fact that Ireland receives almost exactly what the UK contributes to the EU is a big deal amongst UKIPpers, but I don't think it's drawing many people into the fold. 
Sure, you'd have a permanent Tory majority (although don't bank on that either: Labour thought they'd have one in Scotland, and - largely thanks to that complacency - they're about to get slaughtered), but you'll have a job on your hands convincing that lot to embrace independence, Cameron or no Cameron. 
The English "democratic deficit" is a problem, though. I think UKIP's idea of Westminster sitting for three weeks out of every four on UK matters, with the various nations' MPs going their seperate ways for the fourth is eminently sensible. It doesn't stand a chance. Two or three hundred MSPs, MAs and what not out of their "jobs"? Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

9 April 2007, 17:31:23 GMT+01:00
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As an Englishman I regard Alex Salmond as our only hope of English independence. England is prosperous, more so without Scotland. I do not think Scotland is likely to be prosperous in the shorter term since Scots seem to regard Adam Smith as anathema and all Scots are raised on socialism with their mother's milk. It therefore follows that Scottish economic success is an oxymoron without a change of fundamental political thinking. 
England's weakness is a complete lack of leadership, a situation which may correct itself, though any Englishman currently writing to his MP to complain about disenfranchisement is certain to be rebuffed, since all party politicians at Westminster have clearly decided that enforced union is in their own personal interest..

9 April 2007, 16:41:13 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Sam Duncan: "They want Scotland to remain dependent on English taxpayers, the money laundered via the EU. They want to swap one Union, a proven success for 300 years, for one that has yet to prove itself capable in any endeavour it has ever undertaken." 
Yes absolutely, and they can have it. When Scotland gets its "independence within Europe" (Ha ha!). The Scottish MPs in Westminster will be expelled. Viola a Tory majority in an English parliament. 
All that needs to be dealt with then is the prat Cameron.

9 April 2007, 09:01:23 GMT+01:00
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Sam Duncan
I'm tired of all this talk of "independence" and "going it alone". 
The SNP don't want to "go it alone". They want Scotland to remain dependent on English taxpayers, the money laundered via the EU. They want to swap one Union, a proven success for 300 years, for one that has yet to prove itself capable in any endeavour it has ever undertaken. 
Frankly, I don't see the point. Vote SNP if you like, to give Labour the kicking it so deserves, but don't glorify it with hogwash about "independence". For what it's worth, I pretty much agree with David: independence might well be workable given the right conditions. But it's not on offer.

8 April 2007, 21:50:47 GMT+01:00
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Richard Havers
I think Mr or Ms Moss is spot on. Labour's game is up, but at the same time I'm not sure I want The Salmon & Little Nicola running the show. Not because I don't think they're smart but I think they're short of capable playmates. 
This election is just like when Labour ousted the Conservatives. It's all about what has happened, not what might be about to happen.

8 April 2007, 18:31:03 GMT+01:00
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We need Scottish independence in order to save England. 
DF: "I'm not convinced that the Union's time is up." 
I think it is an imperative that Scotland recovers its independence. If you think there may be such a thing as the 'Anglosphere', then the political division along geographical or ethnic lines are irrelevant. For that reason I am going to vote SNP. 
The Union as a living thing is dead, partly because of the menial people that infest public life. It had much going for it when it was alive, but we ought to give it a decent burial.

8 April 2007, 18:02:27 GMT+01:00
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Anon A Moss
If the whole Devolution experiment is now beginning to backfire on Labour then it is not without justice. 
Devolution was never about governing Scotland better or governing the UK better, it was about consolidating the power of already existing Labour establishment drones. Holyrood was a place that Scottish Labour could send its legion of lackeys and time-serving cronies that had for decades polluted Scottish local government. 
That men like Gordon Brown thought they could do this AND continue to govern the UK as if nothing had changed demonstrates just how poor their judgement is. 
The reason so many businesses are championing the SNP is not because they agree with their politics, which are almost identical to the failed social democratic consensus of Scottish Labour, but because they are so fed up with implicit anti business attitudes of Scottish Labour that Alex Salmond’s pro business agenda seems like their only hope. 
Lets hope history will show the Scottish Labour establishment cut their own throats in 1997.

8 April 2007, 13:15:33 GMT+01:00