Wednesday 17 October 2012

Wonderland Two: the benefits of the union

A couple of days ago I came across the image below on the Better Together website, showing that Scotland gets more back from the UK than it contributes in taxation.

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Scotland gets a full £10 billion a year more from Westminster than we delivere in taxation.

The SNP has just published what it apparently thinks is a refutation:

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So: Scotland gets 20% more in spending than we pay in tax..... and that's a reason to break up the union which delivers this result?  

As the immortal philosopher Homer Simpson is wont to cry in moments of vexation: Duh!!

I mean...

What would they prefer? 10% more? 20% less?What can it mean when the No To the Union Campaign advertises this great benefit that befalls us by our membership of the very union they despise?

Is there a mole in their rapid rebuttal department?

We used to hear a lot about "Alex in Wonderland Economics". 

Is this the return? 

"Wonderland Two: the benefits of the union"
See the great 20% gift. ...Luxuiriate in the spectacular generosity of the benificient Union! 
Learn to love your fellow islanders!

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Nationalists, the EU Membership and hidden advice, No. 99

There has been much controversy about the Nationalists and the advice they have bought, with our money, on the status of an "independent" Scotland vis-a-vis membership of the EU and the Euro.

Broadly speaking those who oppose the break up of the UK have been suggesting that EU membership would not be automatic for a newly independent Scotland and we would be forced to join the Euro, while the Nats have  been claiming that it's a foregone conclusion that the EU would welcome us with open arms and we could still be part of a "Sterling zone".

There has been legal opinion sought on these matters by the Nationalists, but they seem reluctant to publish it.

So, thanks to the Better Together website for this little image.....

....which gives a simple precis of all the public advice from the top experts.... ....all of which contradict the Nationalist politicians.

Whether it contradicts their legal advice, who knows?

Maybe they will let us, their constituents and paymasters, see it some day....

Friday 5 October 2012

A "promise them anything" coalition cannot prevail

Last month Jim Sillars branded the SNP the most totalitarian party... his contention being that the lack of any challenge, dissent or protest from its active politicians, particularly MSPs, and their kowtowing to the Party leadership, was a sign of weakness in the party and a sort of cowardice by its members.

 He has reurned to the theme in Holyrood Magazine, and is again attacking the lack of backbone evident in SNP MSPs

Jim Sillars berates SNP MSPs for failing to address openly the many policy questions that will require answers in an "independent" Scotland.

The problem for Mr Sillars and others who may be exasperated by the SNP's lack of opennes and challenge on policy is that the SNP has promised so many things to so many disparate groups that any honest discussion of policy would be poisonous to party unity and alienating of the various tranches of voters they have managed to attract by promising them whatever they wish.

It's all very well telling Nat MSPs to break ranks, but every time they do they reveal, not just that they have promised one constituency a particular thing, but that they have promised other constituencies conflicting even opposing, things.

So business friendly tax cutting to North East Tories, tax raising left-wing service deliverers to Central Belt working class voters, anti-nuclear to CNDers, pro-Nato to pragmatic defence realists, conservative Christans to the Archbishop's flock, supporters of gay marriage to liberal sentiment...right-wng in Tory constituencies, left wing elsewher. It's a balancing act that can only be maintained by never acknowledging that you are on the high wire in the first place. Even glance down once and you topple into the abbyss.

Any honest challenge or critical discussion of any of these positions and you alienate at least two groups and lose their votes. What's more you show the splits and dishonesty at the heart of the SNP project the more discredited the party becomes and the more tarnished its only real policy looks. 

Sillars is right that SNP MSPs are supine. But how could they be anything else given the contradictions inherent in their pro-independence coalition and the penalties in revealing those contradictions?