DoofersDad

The Holyrood Election thread

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Elections to the Scottish Parliament take place on 5th May.  That is not far away now.  There is an assumption that the SNP will coast back into office with an increased overall majority and therefore attention seems to be focussing rather more on the EU referendum and the continuing independence debate.

But the latest YouGov poll shows support for the SNP at below 50% for the first time since the general election.  They put SNP support for the constituency seats at 49% and for Regional List seats at 43%.  Is this a trend that will continue when the SNP's record in Government is examined a little closer?  Whilst it seems inconceivable that the SNP will not be the largest single party, is it possible that other parties could gain enough support to prevent an overall majority?

The Scottish Government Budget has increased by 10% in the last 4 years from £33.8 billion in 2012/3 to £37.2 billion in 2015/6.  How well has the SNP Government spent this money? Should they have used their devolved powers to raise additional money via the Council Tax and, this year, through income tax?

Both Labour and the Lib Dems have pledged to raise income tax rates to support essential services.  Is this a vote winner or a vote loser?  What other issues will affect the way people vote?

Be assured that as the election is now just 7 weeks away, this debate will be a short one.

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Not been on here in a while, I see every thread still blends in to one :lol:  Polls can certainly be cherry picked and unreliable DD but a big SNP win still remains pretty much a formality. Recent Lord Ashcroft

https://mobile.twitter.com/LordAshcroft/status/710964953193304068

Even the Labour leaning Daily Record is on board 

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/election-2016-poll-exclusive-survey-7587595.amp#

'Who will finish second' seems to be the prominent unknown 

*edit. Noteworthy are the figures surrounding trust in government in the last two days highlighted by John Curtice from What Scotland Thinks on the radio yesterday morning. 2nd highest score for any eu government

https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/public-trust-scottish-government-three-times-higher-uk-counterpart

"The 2015 SSA survey found that 73 per cent of people in Scotland trust the Scottish Government, the highest level since the Scottish Parliament was established, compared with 23 per cent who trust the UK Government"

Interesting given the backdrop with some quite forensic scrutiny for the snp government who firmly remain the bête noire of the larger media (only one daily newspaper backs their cause) 

 

Edited by bobbyjag
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Infamy, infamy! They've still got it in for you!

And it's great to see that the oil the SNP banged on about from the 70s until the backside fell out of it so spectacularly suddenly doesn't actually matter after all. Then there's the £15 billion deficit, which will miraculously disappear just as long as Scotland gets to wave its own (hitherto scrupulously unspecified) magic wand at it. Presumably when that deficit gets even bigger for the current year as the backside falls even further out of the oil, the same totally unsupported assertion will be applied yet again.

But most of all......isn't the term "Gers" - which are the Scottish Government's OWN figures! - just deliciously and ironically appropriate to define yet another financial basket case here?!

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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It looks to me that media attention is going to be focussed on the Tories down south tearing themselves apart over both the EU and the budget.  Given that they are the party of Government in the UK, this is bound to play straight into the hands of the SNP who will argue (and with some justification) that such a divided and divisive government is not good for Scotland.  The Tories in Scotland have been picking up quite well in the polls and it will be interesting to see whether they are able to maintain their push north of the border in the light of what's happening elsewhere.

Much of the debate up here on the election will probably be on the extent to which the Conservative and Labour parties here distance themselves from their shambolic parties down South.  It will give the SNP the opportunity to gloat when what should be happening is that their record in office be debated.

I have received a first pamphlet from Kate Forbes, the SNP candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch (in which my bit of the Black Isle apparently sits).  It's pathetic.  There's little about what the SNP have achieved in their lengthy period in office but full of the kind of wish lists things which we would all like to have (better healthcare, education, rail links, roads, broadband etc) and which she will campaign for.  But she fails to state that these are things that the party she is a candidate for has failed on over a number of years.  She states she is "utterly committed to increasing investment in our education, transport and health care".  In that case, I wonder why she doesn't join either the Labour party or the Lib Dems.  They at least have the guts to propose a tax increase to pay for these essential services whilst the party she is standing for follows the Tories austerity policy and then whinges about not receiving enough money from the UK Government.  Hopefully these are some of the issues which can be aired a bit more fully in the coming weeks.

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I'm only now realising that "The Argyll Conspiracy" was actually a JOINT effort involving both MI5 AND the BBC!!! I think I must have missed reading that bit after going to change my pants, having wet myself laughing at the first part of a diatribe which is just about as verbose and paranoid as Mein Banff.

I am now waiting for 007, with The Queen in tow, to abseil out of a helicopter into Beaut House, armed with a box of Milk Tray labelled "All Because The Lady Lost!"

Surely even the most obtuse Nat must now realise that there are no further levels of gullibility left for them to exploit.

I think I also got the same SNP leaflet as DD, but it was quite glossy so had rather too hard edges to use as toilet paper. My big regret is that no SNP canvasser has yet knocked on my door so I can wind  them up. Never mind, there are always a few Saturday morning Natbaiting sessions coming up on the High Street. They never fail to rise to it, which is always hilarious!

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If I was an SNP canvasser and seen a big Jag in the drive with the registration CB**RUN I wouldn't bother to knock on the door, just shove the leaflet through the letterbox and RUN :lol: 

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53 minutes ago, IBM said:

If I was an SNP canvasser and seen a big Jag in the drive with the registration CB**RUN I wouldn't bother to knock on the door, just shove the leaflet through the letterbox and RUN :lol: 

Which wonderfully explains how the Argyll and Bute canvassers got the "result" they wanted. You only knock on the doors that look promising to you, with seriously faded "yes" stickers in the windows, Andy Stewart songs blasting from within and saltires recently replaced by European flags in the garden.

There you may well find people who are prepared to believe that Unionist MI5 supplemented postal referendum votes by 77% and everything was institutionally covered up by the BBC.

On the basis of mince like this, you really do have to wonder how many SNP/yes votes are products of the Nats cynically taking the total p!ss out of the cerebrally disadvantaged lumpenproletariat.

Heroes ofthe working classes? Merciless, opportunist exploiters more like.

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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14 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

Infamy, infamy! They've still got it in for you!

And it's great to see that the oil the SNP banged on about from the 70s until the backside fell out of it so spectacularly suddenly doesn't actually matter after all. Then there's the £15 billion deficit, which will miraculously disappear just as long as Scotland gets to wave its own (hitherto scrupulously unspecified) magic wand at it. Presumably when that deficit gets even bigger for the current year as the backside falls even further out of the oil, the same totally unsupported assertion will be applied yet again.

But most of all......isn't the term "Gers" - which are the Scottish Government's OWN figures! - just deliciously and ironically appropriate to define yet another financial basket case here?!

Mr Bannerman, the only person banging on about the 70s is you....when you are not banging on about the 18th century....

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9 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

Which wonderfully explains how the Argyll and Bute canvassers got the "result" they wanted. You only knock on the doors that look promising to you, with seriously faded "yes" stickers in the windows, Andy Stewart songs blasting from within and saltires recently replaced by European flags in the garden.

There you may well find people who are prepared to believe that Unionist MI5 supplemented postal referendum votes by 77% and everything was institutionally covered up by the BBC.

On the basis of mince like this, you really do have to wonder how many SNP/yes votes are products of the Nats cynically taking the total p!ss out of the cerebrally disadvantaged lumpenproletariat.

Heroes ofthe working classes? Merciless, opportunist exploiters more like.

Dismissing those with which you disagree, over 50% of the population very many of whom are sophisticated, well informed, intelligent and educated as 'cerebrally disadvantaged' is no substitute for debate.

With the coming of additional powers, these are the most important Holyrood elections ever likely to have a significant impact on the course the country takes over the next five years and beyond.

I get the impression that, despite much evidence to the contrary, you yourself are not altogether unintelligent. Are you going to seriously engage in this debate in any meaningful way or merely stick to your usual diatribes in the absence of any coherent argument to back up your position ?

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4 hours ago, Kingsmills said:

Dismissing those with which you disagree, over 50% of the population very many of whom are sophisticated, well informed, intelligent and educated as 'cerebrally disadvantaged' is no substitute for debate.

Unpalatable as reality often is to the Politically Correct, the unfortunate fact is that there is a substantial body of poor souls out there - probably around a third of the population - who, through no fault of their own, are simply not able to grasp what the issues are here. And, by way of their standard vacuous sloganising and baseless assertions which they know won't be too critically assessed, this is exactly the sector of the population that the SNP have cynically exploited and currently have on board in a big way to vote yes in a referendum and SNP in Holyrood elections.

However, even without the gaping cracks which are currently opening up before the SNP's eyes, this kind of support doesn't hang around for long. For instance this was what gave Labour their 1945 landslide but, despite delivering a welfare state, they were down to a paper thin majority by 1950 and the following year, Atlee was out.

However here in Scotland it's a bit different. When the electorate got fed up with post-war Labour, they deposed them after six years but the SNP are trying on this dodge in a situation where a single referendum poll could change things forever. The aim therefore is to hold enough of them to get lucky once.

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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We've been waiting quite a while now to learn to learn what progressive plans the SNP have for using the newly devolved tax powers. And now we know.  There aren't any.  They aren't going to adjust the bands or the rates and there is a pledge that no taxpayer in Scotland will pay a penny more of income tax.  Nothing remotely progressive in that.  Instead it is a cynical appeal to the selfishness of voters to put their own pockets ahead of the interests of the nation.  Put simply, the SNP are scared that by raising any income taxes they will lose votes.

Where they differ slightly from the Tory Chancellor is that they will not increase the threshold for 40% tax  payers to £45,000.  Nothing wrong with that, but what is wrong is Sturgeons assertion that by not making this change  "we could generate more than £1bn of additional revenues, enabling us to protect the public services we all rely on."  What nonsense!  Surely even the  SNP can understand that by making absolutely no change you are not going to get any more revenues.  The point here is that if the Tories go ahead with the proposed tax break for the better off elsewhere, they will generate less revenue.

To generate more revenue from income tax, people have to pay more tax.  This is why both labour and the Lib Dems actually want to use the new powers so that they can pump a bit of money into public services which have been underfunded during the SNP's tenure of office.

The Greens' Partrick Harvey summed up the situation very well when he said  "In the independence referendum, and in the Smith Commission, the Scottish Greens argued alongside Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney that Scotland needed the power to build a fairer, more equal society and an economy that protects our vital public services and invests in our young people's future. To finally win these powers and then not use them is extraordinary." 

 

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More food for thought from What Scotland Thinks

http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2016/03/what-difference-did-the-referendum-make-to-scotlands-constitutional-debate-2/

39% in favour of independence, a historical high for the SSA figures. Some 21% below the SNPs 60% favoured threshold, that's a wide margin, though given the direction of public attitudes, it would be ingenuous to read this as unattainable over the coming years 

More interesting though are the figures for Devo Max. 51% favour Scotland making all it's decisions, 12% status quo and a tiny 3% for a return to direct uk government rule. So even the majority of people not voting SNP but Con/Lab or Lib want Holyrood to govern pretty much everything even though their favoured party is not in power/doesn't look likely to be for the foreseeable. It was of course David Cameron who took the Devo Max option of the referendum voting card

As Curtice has stated “The fact that the Scottish Parliament to be elected on May 5 will be a markedly more powerful body than its predecessors fits a public mood that is more supportive of a powerful Scottish Parliament than ever.” Certainly interesting times and for the Lab/Cons and Lib leaders in Scotland they have the more difficult task, appealing to an electorate that evidently favours more autonomous rhetoric but at the same time applying the core beliefs held by their parties at Westminster 

 

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21 hours ago, DoofersDad said:

We've been waiting quite a while now to learn to learn what progressive plans the SNP have for using the newly devolved tax powers. And now we know.  There aren't any.  They aren't going to adjust the bands or the rates

I'm genuinely interested to know how our resident nationalists feel about this somewhat  surprising development.

After years of rhetoric about equality, social justice, the word "progressive" being obligatory in every interview, "those with broadest shoulders paying more", along with ongoing criticism of evil Tory westminster austerity, they now have the chance to remedy all these wrongs are just going to leave things the way they are. Not just for one year, but for the duration of the next parliament.  Sturgeon is now saying that George Osborne has been right all along, austerity is a necessary evil, and raising taxes to fund improved public services and benefits will do more harm than good. She might not use those words, but her (in)actions speak louder.

:shrug02:

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I would like to know too, especially after the SNP's position on taxation has become even more absurd after Sturgeon's attempted defence of it.

Our First Minister has defended her decision not to use the new powers she has been bleating on about for long enough by saying it would be "daft" to increase the tax rates of those on the higher tax bands!!!  Her stated reasoning is that "research" shows that if 7% of the top tax payers left Scotland then Scotland would lose £30m in tax revenue!  So, she gets elected on a manifesto of greater equality, campaigns for the powers to deliver that, then when she gets those powers she doesn't use them because to do so would have the top earners in Scotland fleeing the country in droves!  Now that really is daft.

But does she really think 7% would leave if they were taxed more?  An increase in the 40% tax rate would reduce incomes of higher earners but would not represent a significant drop in income until someone was earning around £100,000 (an extra 1% on £60,000 is only £600 so even a 5% hike in rates would only be £3,000 - not really a major problem if you are earning £100,000).  But were you to move, you (and probably your partner too) would have to first find a job down South which paid at least as much as your current one, then sell your house (in a market where potential buyers are also coping with the tax hike) buy one down South for no more than you sold your one in Scotland, and pay all the legal and other costs of moving.  You would then have all the upheaval of leaving friends and family and all the social aspects of your life up here.  Let's get real, are people really going to leave in these circumstances?  I think not!

I suspect that the SNP's "research" has told them that people are less likely to vote for them if they raise taxes.  Once they are happily returned to Government, then next year's "research" will tell them that the 7% won't bugger off down south after all so it would now be "daft" not to fleece the better off.  Meanwhile, the most vulnerable in our society will suffer because of SNP austerity.

When oh when are the public going to wake up to what a bunch of chancers this lot are?

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Yeh, unusual for Nats to be as quiet as this with an election coming up - or even without one for that matter!

It all brings me back to our obsessive chum on the way into Dingwall who, every single day for nearly a year post-referendum, physically updated a sign in his front window screaming something like "Day #X and still no new powers!" But now they've got the new powers they screamed for, all that seems to have happened is that the top 10% or so of highest earners won't be getting the £300 or so that the rest of the UK will be getting (a tax cut which, as DD pointed out, the FM says will raise an "extra" billion:lol: - and, as ever, over the usual unspecified period).

This is hardly the rampant socialism we have witnessed in SNP rhetoric, which has now been clearly exposed as typically empty. Give them the powers they demand and they more or less, with one minor exception, still follow the Westminster Tory line!!

So I wonder how this sits with the Gers Revisionists who, after they attempt to sideline these official Scottish Government statistics as a 1992 creation of the Tories,:lol: try to tell us that the current £15 billion Scottish public finances black hole - which will get even worse when the current debacle of "Scotland's Oil" catches up with them - just need a tartan-branded magic wand waved at them and the problem will simply disappear? Apart from this being complete fantasy in the first place, it is also predicated on the (as usual, groundless) assertion that all we need to do is to tackle things in a different "Scottish" way and everything will be fine. However, I haven't yet seen anything of substance - including the Council Tax freeze - that doesn't follow pretty standard Westminster Tory dogma.

But heyyyyy! The clock has now ticked past midnight and it's March 24th.....INDEPENDENCE DAY!   :clapping::clapoverhead::cheer01:

Had the nightmare scenario emerged on 18.9.14., Life President Salmond would, as I write, have been out on the balcony at Beaut House (they'd have built one if it doesn't already have one) acknowledging, arms folded Mussolini style, the accolades of massed ranks of saltire waving Cybernats celebrating the formal casting away of the oppressive yoke of the English Imperialists. And to a man and woman they would have been euphorically declaring the birth of a new era of unprecedented Scottish prosperity based on....

A £15 billion public finances back hole which can only rise next year.....oil having gone belly up....loss of the Barnet Billions... total uncertainty about whether a new applicant with a banana republic deficit like that would even get into the EU ..... and if it did, how on earth would a tiny Euro-using economy survive when its hugely larger former biggest trading partner becomes its biggest sterling-using non-EU competitor with currency control, passport control and customs on a border designed to curb the influx of Scottish economic migrants. On that one, I would say to DD that even if these affluent and productive people didn't start to trickle out if their devolved taxes went up, there would have been a veritable torrent of them, and their accompanying expertise, before Independence Day.

On the other hand the UK would still have been distributing Foreign Aid to poor nations. Maybe Scotland could have got a post-Independence Day sub from that!

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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It's the first of the 2 Scottish leaders debates on BBC Scotland tonight at 21.00.  This should maybe give a few pointers to what the main issues are going to be.  It will make a change for Sturgeon to be on the defensive.  Having told us these last few years that we just have to oppose Tory austerity, I'll be interested to hear why Sturgeon feels Tory austerity is so bad but yet SNP austerity is so good.  Should make for interesting viewing.

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13 hours ago, Yngwie said:

Sturgeon is now saying that George Osborne has been right all along, austerity is a necessary evil, 

 

18 minutes ago, DoofersDad said:

I'll be interested to hear why Sturgeon feels Tory austerity is so bad but yet SNP austerity is so good.

I'm not a supporter of the SNP and i'm far from impressed by the tax policies they've unveiled recently, but i feel the need to correct the assumption that these amount to an acceptance of austerity.

Sturgeon articulated the SNP position on austerity very clearly in the run-up to the 2015 General Election when she proposed real terms departmental spending increases of 0.5% per year for the the duration of the parliament. The SNP continues to support increases in public spending i.e. the opposite of austerity. That is their policy regardless of what you may think of the economics behind it. 

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First I'll make a point on the 7% leaving the country. This is fact. There are many people working in North Sea who are higher band tax payers. There are many others who work from home. These are the people who have indicated they'd move away. They dont need to find new jobs.

Secondly to clarify the SNP position. What is actually being put forward is that SNP would freeze current tax rates such that nobody would be paying any more than they are at the moment but the UK gov reductions wouldn't apply in Scotland. In effect tyhat means people will pay more than they would elsewhere in UK. SNP also indicated that the top rate payers would be subjected to annual increases in line with inflation.

Thats the SNP position which should be compared to that of other parties. Tories will follow UK and reduce tax for high earners. LibDem will increase tax across the board by 1%. Labour--well its kind of difficult to decypher their manifesto but I think they mentioned anything between 1% and 3% across the board.

So what does it all mean for me. Well I live of a company pension. I pay tax on that pension. An SNP gov will not increase my tax burden. A Tory gov will not increase my tax burden. A Lab or LibDem gov will increase my tax burden.

Anyway, Happy non-Indy day. Even the Daily Record is printing non-lies today on how things could have been. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/scottish-government-advisor-ewan-crawford-7616553#YfbSPW1sLLOZ0eq0.97

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First I would say to Caley Stan that if Sturgeon wants to increase departmental spending she is free to do so.  All she has to do is to use the new powers devolved to her Government and raise taxes. She is choosing, for cynical political reasons, to continue to impose austerity on the Scottish public.

To Alex I say that he is wrong in saying top rate tax payers would face tax rises in line with inflation (other than, of course, the increased tax they pay as a result of pay rises in line with inflation).  Sturgeon says it would be "daft" to increase the tax rates of the better off.  What she has said is that the level at which the higher rates would be levied would be increased in line with inflation - this is quite a different thing!

What that does, is to stop more and more people in jobs such as nursing and teaching getting sucked into the higher tax brackets.  This is effectively the same as increasing the level to £45k as Osborne proposes, but on an ongoing basis.  The effect of this is that the better off will pay less tax and not more!  This is because the level at which they start to pay the higher rate will be increased in line with inflation each year.

I too live off an occupational pension and pay tax at the basic rate.  My personal view is there is a need to reduce Government debt. But at the same time, the current squeeze on public services is causing real problems and I feel spending on public services needs to increase.  To increase spending you first need to raise the money.  To do that you can either borrow or increase taxes.  Borrowing has the huge problem of how you later pay back the increased level of debt and risks going down the route of Spain or Greece.  Increasing taxes is therefore the sensible option. And whilst I would be in favour of the greater burden falling on those best able to pay, I would happily pay more in order to preserve and develop essential public services.  

It seems the SNP take the position that the majority of people would rather let public services go to the wall rather pay a penny more in tax.  They may be right, but if so, what an awful reflection of the Scottish people that is!  I'm not going to vote for my own selfish interests, I'm going to vote for the future of Scotland and will vote for one of the parties which is prepared to use our newly devolved powers to invest in the future of Scotland.  Clearly, therefore, I will not be voting SNP.

And in the interest of balance, the Record has also published this

hhttp://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/ex-no-campaign-adviser-project-7615966#VxIIboM5VwxqGXVw.97is. 

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I'm quite sure that if the need arises any government will raise taxes. At the moment the SNP, like the tories, have no plans to do such. I trust they know the budget requirements for the early part of a new parliament

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1 hour ago, Alex MacLeod said:

I'm quite sure that if the need arises any government will raise taxes.

But Alex, you were also quite sure that the oil price plunge was just a short lived blip of no consequence.... and that Grand Theft Auto is worth more to the Scottish economy than the oil (which it probably now is for that matter!)

And now you tell us that you are sure that if the need arises, the government will raise taxes. So the need hasn't arisen then? So our public services aren't struggling for lack of resources... our Councils aren't slashing services in a manner which could have been mitigated by a rise in Council Tax etc etc? Nothing, of course, to do with fostering resentment against financial stringency blamed on south of the border but really an active grievance-mongering policy of the SNP.

I find it very interesting that your bland and unsupported assertions mirror closely the very same thing that comes from the party you support. What the SNP has had to offer so far is nothing more than unsupported statements, many of which have been utterly blasted out of the water by post-referendum revelations that Scotland's deficit is sitting at levels that a central African fourth world republic would cringe at and that the resource you have tried to shove down our throats for decades is a busted flush.

And of course anyone casting sensible doubt on a lot of this fantasy and injecting some reality into the situation is simply accused... usually pretty loudly and aggressively in classic SNP style.... of "talking Scotland down"

All of this totally epitomises the manner in which the SNP have simply fed the electorate with a series of porkies and we do indeed now just have to pray that the public, as DD earlier hoped, waken up to what a bunch of chancers this lot are before they can inflict even more damage. Their problem is that they have painted themselves into a corner with a series of assertions which aren't actually related to what is best for Scotland but is merely designed to hold as many people, many of them poorly informed, to the only policy that matters to the SNP. Let's be quite clear - whatever the SNP has to offer between now and May 5th will have NOTHING to do with what is best for Scotland.

But, although it's taking a little time (and these things often do) the penny will eventually drop with the Scottish electorate that they are merely pawns in a big game which, if it had been successful in September 2014, would today INDEPENDENCE DAY:clapping::clapoverhead::cheer01: have had the whole lot of us staring into the abyss as our neighbours, and now rivals, removed the financial scaffolding at the request of a one-off slender majority of poor, deluded souls.

Edited by Charles Bannerman
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2 hours ago, Alex MacLeod said:

I'm quite sure that if the need arises any government will raise taxes. At the moment the SNP, like the tories, have no plans to do such. I trust they know the budget requirements for the early part of a new parliament

I'm sure they do know the budget requirements for the early part of a new parliament, it's just that these requirements are not featuring in their manifesto proposals.  If anyone is in any doubt about the sorry state of the Scottish budget this Guardian article will help to clarify.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/24/ifs-scotland-debts-three-times-greater-uk

With a budget deficit per head 3 times that of the UK as a whole, the need to raise more income through taxation in order to protect public services could not be clearer.The SNP are frightened to increase the basic rate because they think the Scottish people are too selfish to vote for that, and they are frightened to increase higher rates in case the better off flee the sinking ship SS Scotland in their droves.  Instead they do nothing, presumably in the hope that the voters will believe them when they say that all the problems their inept government causes are actually the UK Tories' fault.

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5 hours ago, DoofersDad said:

She is choosing, for cynical political reasons, to continue to impose austerity on the Scottish public.

 

1 hour ago, Charles Bannerman said:

And now you tell us that you are sure that if the need arises, the government will raise taxes. So the need hasn't arisen then? So our public services aren't struggling for lack of resources... our Councils aren't slashing services in a manner which could have been mitigated by a rise in Council Tax etc etc? Nothing, of course, to do with fostering resentment against financial stringency blamed on south of the border but really an active grievance-mongering policy of the SNP.

I find the argument that the SNP are deliberately facilitating austerity in order to build support for independence a little far-fetched to say the least. Are you two usually gung-ho for tax rises or is this just another opportunity to put the boot in? If they'd announced a basic rate increase (the only increase that would have any meaningful effect on revenues) on Tuesday then you can be sure that Charles would've been straight on here giving it big licks on capital flight, brain drain and the rest of the Reaganite routine.

Scottish Labour have put together some interesting proposals on tax and it'll be very interesting see how the clear blue water that has finally emerged between them and the SNP on taxation plays out in the debate tonight, but there are many strong arguments against raising taxes in a small part of a country that is cutting them. You may not agree with those arguments but i suspect but that your haste in labeling them "cynical" and "grievance-mongering" from the outset is motivated primarily by tribalism.

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51 minutes ago, Caley Stan said:

 

I find the argument that the SNP are deliberately facilitating austerity in order to build support for independence a little far-fetched to say the least. Are you two usually gung-ho for tax rises or is this just another opportunity to put the boot in? If they'd announced a basic rate increase (the only increase that would have any meaningful effect on revenues) on Tuesday then you can be sure that Charles would've been straight on here giving it big licks on capital flight, brain drain and the rest of the Reaganite routine.

 

The SNP will deliberately facilitate anything in order to build up support for separation and the Scottish people, whom they claim to champion, are mere pawns in that grand design. As for tax rises, you get what you pay for in terms of public services, plus or minus any deficit/surplus you may generate (but there is a limit to the former). If you want better services, then you need to accept tax rises - or of course you need to be a bit cleverer with how you allocate your funds. For instance the SNP are, at the moment, dishing out free university tuition like sweeties, to the extent that UHI and the University of the West of Scotland (aka Paisley) have dreadful first year drop out rates of over 14% with some others not far behind, which is a complete waste of cash. And in the case of UHI, this is out of sometimes quite bizarre sounding degree courses where the entrance qualifications are more often than not just 3Cs at Higher.

However, rather than illustrate how money could be saved, I'll return to the notion that to a large extent you get what you pay for. As for the capital flight, brain drain etc, unless tax disparities get too extremely bad, I wouldn't expect that to become too much of an issue unless or until an actual INDEPENDENCE DAY:clapping::clapoverhead::cheer01:arrived or was fixed. 

Then the southbound carriageways of the A1 and the M74 would fast become gridlocked in a belated confirmation of Dr. Johnson's dictum: "The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!".

 

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