sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


Round-up, 23rd Jan 2012

Posted on January 23, 2012 by

We’ve had our hands full in the real world for a few days, so let’s catch up on what’s been worth reading recently. Iain Macwhirter is on the money as usual as he ponders why Unionists cling to the “scare story” [paywall link] tactics that have proven so spectacularly unsuccessful over the past decade or so and propelled the SNP into power, while Alex Massie in the Spectator eloquently expresses his frustration with the idiotically negative approach of his fellow Great Britain fans in the right-wing press. Kenny Farquharson takes a related line in Scotland On Sunday, excoriating the FUD camp’s ludicrous attacks on Sir Peter Housden.

Jackie Ashley, one of the Guardian’s more thoughtful commentators on Scottish affairs, takes an interesting angle on how the Scottish situation relates to and impacts on the centre-left in England, while Socialist Worker demolishes the lie still being implausibly peddled by Labour that the Union serves the interests of the left, by openly advocating independence for Scotland.

In the blogosphere there’s a really good piece on BaffieBox, spinning off a theme we’ve been shouting about for a while – the fact that independence is in essence merely an administrative change to the electoral register, with post-independence policy being a matter for the Scottish people, not just one party. Better Nation covers a very similar point in less detail and with less insight, but does see an excellent debate in the comments section, with numerous posters eviscerating Labour’s recent dismal smears and sneers about an independent Scotland’s defence policy.

And finally, if you’re having trouble sleeping this evening, try penetrating this vision of a more fully devolved Scotland by Labour activist Ian Smart. It’s a commendable attempt at a positive argument, describing in some detail where devolution could go rather than sticking to the “LABOUR SAYS NO” party line, but if you can get all the way to the end of it you’re a better blog than us.

Enough to keep you going until lunchtime there, we reckon.

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1 to “Round-up, 23rd Jan 2012”

  1. DougtheDug says:

    Rev Stu:

    It's a commendable attempt at a positive argument, describing in some detail where devolution could go rather than sticking to the "LABOUR SAYS NO" party line, but if you can get all the way to the end of it you're a better blog than us.

    Well Ian Smart's article is certainly an effort. If you manage to wade through:
    His, "Godwin's law moment", where he equates the SNP to the Irish independence movement before swiftly moving on to De Valera signing a book of condolences at the German Embassy on Hitler's death and the arrest of Arthur Donaldson and Douglas Young in the Second World War.
    His, "North Korean moment", where he asserts, 

    "…that there remains a part of the SNP membership, too large to confront, who do still believe that Independence means cutting ourselves off from the world."

    His absolute belief that Alex Salmond wants Devo-max not independence and that the referendum won't happen.
    And finally his, "Erich von Däniken moment", where because Alex Salmond never announced at the SNP conference in Inverness that he would definitely put a devo-max question on the ballot paper then that is irrefutable proof that that he was going to officially put a devo-max question on the ballot paper until just before his speech.
    …then here's what he proposes. This isn't a summary, it's the full proposal as laid out his article.
    He proposes that VAT, Fuel Duties, Excise Duty (Drink and cigarettes), Vehicle Excise duty, Corporation Tax, Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Air Passenger Duty, Income Tax (and CGT), National Insurance and Petroleum Extraction taxes should be raised in Scotland and then apportioned in some ratio between the UK and Scotland so that the Scottish Government has the revenue which matches its expenditure.

    He adds a qualifier that Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Air Passenger Duty are probably too small to make it worthwhile to apportion and it would be more cost effective just to give them 100% to Scotland.

    Of these taxes Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Air Passenger Duty, Income Tax (and CGT), National Insurance and Petroleum Extraction taxes should be devolved to Scotland. i.e the Scottish Government can set the rates and bands on these taxes.

    Apart from the taxes, the benefits system should be devolved to Scotland apart from Civil Service pensions and others which are paid directly by the UK Government. The apportionment should should also take the devolved benefit system into account.

    Borrowing powers should be as they are set out in Calman and for infrastructure only.

    That's it.

      



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