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Jeane Freeman: Time to get familiar with the fiscal framework - the stakes are too high not to

Jeane Freeman: Time to get familiar with the fiscal framework - the stakes are too high not to | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

THE fiscal framework. Many readers will be well up on the additional powers that are coming to our Scottish Parliament and how they compare with what we actually need, but maybe not too many of us have really paid attention to what this fiscal framework argument is all about – and why it matters.

Peter A Bell's insight:
Doubtless Jeane Freeman is correct to say that we should all at least try to get our heads around the intricacies of the fiscal framework, as well as the detail of the supposed "new powers" being thrust with such intense eagerness on the Scottish Parliament by vested interests which, it must be remembered, regard that institution as, at the very least, a pestilential inconvenience and, at worst, an existential threat to the power, privilege and patronage enjoyed by the British establishment.

However, given that this latest round of constitutional tinkering is principally shaped, not by considerations of the long-term good governance of Scotland, but by an immediate and urgent desire to undermine the SNP administration, it may well be that there is no fiscal framework which can circumvent the intended detriment to Scotland.

Sometimes, the devil is not in the detail. Sometimes the detail can be a distraction from the greater threat.
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Jeff Salway: Remain misses a trick on financial security

Jeff Salway: Remain misses a trick on financial security | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

The focus on household finances has inevitably intensified as the EU referendum debate has unfolded.

Perceptions of the impact on our financial well-being tend to be pretty decisive in these things.

But with both sides of the campaign funded primarily by business interests, financial security has been viewed through a particularly narrow prism.

Peter A Bell's insight:

When is a scare-story not a scare-story? What defines a scare-story? Surely it's a matter of credibility. It's all to do with how realistic is the threat when assessed dispassionately and without prejudice.

Pretty much all of the scare-stories peddled by Better Together during the first independence referendum campaign were deemed to be such because they lacked credibility. Initially, they lacked credibility because the anti-independence campaign simply didn't care. The British establishment was so disdainful of the whole thing that they put little or no effort into crafting believable tales of the disasters that would befall Scotland if the people voted Yes. Latterly, the British nationalists became fearful and desperate - which drove them to concoct ever more fanciful scare-stories. The development of Project Fear can be charted in propaganda that went from the ludicrous to the lurid. From exorbitant mobile roaming charges and RAF bombers over Edinburgh airport, to Scotland as an economic desert and global pariah state. From the sneering assertion that independence was a daft idea, to the threat of low-level economic warfare if the people of Scotland dared to assert their sovereignty.

In all cases, it was credibility - or, rather, the lack of it - which defined the particular piece of propaganda as a scare-story. Credibility was the criterion which distinguished the genuine concern from the inane doom-mongering. And whatever there might have been of former was totally overwhelmed by the latter.

There is, of course, an element of subjectivity in all of this. People assess the credibility of the stories they are being told in the light of their own attitudes and world-view. There are degrees of subjectivity and objectivity. what was notable during the first referendum campaign was the lack of objectivity among unionists. In general, they quite literally believed everything that they were told. Even the patent nonsense about the RAF bombing Scottish airports to prevent them falling into the hands of alien invaders (or whatever!) was taken seriously by large numbers of ideological unionists.

While the Yes campaign picked apart the various claims being made by the British nationalists, supporters of the No campaign questioned nothing. Often, they would continue to treat as entirely credible stories which had been comprehensively exposed as nothing more than groundless scare-stories deserving of no credence whatever. Project Fear's propaganda about organ transplants, pensions and bank bail-outs being examples which spring immediately to mind. Not only was there no critical scrutiny of things such as the threat to abolish the currency union, even the stories which the UK Government acknowledged as nonsense continued to be believed by British nationalists. The stuff about the cost of setting up new administrative infrastructure being a prime example.

With the EU referendum, Project Fear is back with a vengeance. And it's brought along a twin. Both sides of the "debate" have resorted to the same kind of sensationalist scaremongering as we saw from Better Together during the first independence referendum campaign. Now, as then, we must assess the credibility of these stories as rationally as we can. When somebody like Jeff Salway suggests that Brexit puts at risk many of the rights that we tend to take for granted, only the severely prejudiced will thoughtlessly dismiss this as scaremongering. Others will ask the meaningful questions. They will ask how credible is it that the Tories will respect workers' rights. They will ask whether what we know about the current Tory administration suggest that they would be inclined to continue and preserve "employment rights such as paid annual holidays, maternity and paternity leave, equal treatment of part-time, full-time and agency employees, rights for outsourced workers and protection from discrimination".

More importantly, those seeking to understand how credible Mr Salway's warning is will reflect upon the nature of the Tory party that will emerge from a triumphant campaign to quit the EU, and contemplate how perfectly credible it is that such an administration would seek to sweep aside all of the rights and protections which are part of the obligations of EU membership.

There are some who will consider the sacrifice of these rights and protections to be a price worth paying to be out of the EU. There will even be those who welcome the stripping away of worker's rights as being "good for business". The rest of us need to think long and hard about how credible the threat is. And whether we are prepared to pay such a high cost for the hugely dubious benefits of Brexit.

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The drugs of Britishness don’t work any more

We live in a topsy turvy universe, or at least the Caledonian parts of it. Legal mind altering substances have now been banned, but here in Scotland political reality is warped on a daily basis without any pharmacological assistance. If you want to warp your brain and corrode your synapses with altered states of irreality all you need to do is read the Scottish Unionist media, which is pretty much most of it.
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Pat Kane: Kirsty the indyref baby may be best served by the Estonian education model

Pat Kane: Kirsty the indyref baby may be best served by the Estonian education model | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
KIRSTY bestrides the land again. No, not the elegant inquisitor from late-night current affairs telly, but the fictional baby first invoked in a famous 2013 SNP indyref broadcast (born on September 18 2014), who gazed upon her alternative futures, post-Yes or No.
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Alex Salmond and the SNP have been accused of risking Brexit

Alex Salmond and the SNP have been accused of risking Brexit | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
A DAMAGING rift has split the campaign to keep Britain in the EU after senior Remain voices accused Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond of harming their chances of victory in next month's poll.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Let's get one thing clear from the outset. Willie Rennie is not a "senior voice" in anything other than his own grin-split head. He's an attention-seeking wee irrelevance.

As to the whining from the likes of Alan Johnson, let's be clear what it is that they are complaining about. What is upsetting them is the fact that the SNP is rejecting their Project Fear-style politicking in favour of a mature, rational debate founded on reasoned argument and such reliable facts as are available.

It is evidently inconvenient for British nationalists that it should be the SNP that is seen to be treating the electorate with respect. That their first instinct is, not to heed the very reasonable criticisms of their scare-mongering tactics, but to lash out at the SNP, says a lot about the British nationalists in the Remain campaign. None of it very flattering.

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The impenetrable skulls

The impenetrable skulls | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
We’ll be honest, readers, we’re actually quite happy that the Tories are now the lead Unionist party in Scotland. Because after four and a half years, we’ve pretty much run out of things to say about the epic, unquenchable stupidity of Scottish Labour.
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SCOT goes POP!: Alex Salmond seizes the initiative and boosts the chances of a second independence referendum in the event of Brexit

Alex Salmond is certainly a man who knows how to lay down a marker. When he was asked during tonight's televised EU debate whether Brexit might lead to a second independence referendum, I'm sure many people were expecting him to give a cagey answer. Instead his message was utterly uncompromising -

* A second referendum would be justified.

* It would happen within two years.

* There would be a mandate for it because a) there is a pro-independence majority in the elected Scottish Parliament (thus liberating us from the fatuous obsession with the questionable results of a single ICM opinion poll), and b) the SNP's share of the vote this month was greater than that received by any other lead party of government in the whole of western Europe.
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EU cannot be serious!

EU cannot be serious! | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
There’s been a lot of nonsense from both sides of the EU referendum campaign, but of all the terrible arguments for voting one way or the other, the worst has to be that the UK is not currently independent.
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The Bitch Is In Heat Again

The Bitch Is In Heat Again | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
The runts of colonialism who lied and cheated us out of the plebiscite are in heat again.

The first UK parliament committee has met to discuss ways of blocking Scotland from ever regaining full sovereignty. Listening to the first fifteen minutes is all you need for vomit to rise to your throat. Who are these self-appointed butchers of democracy?
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Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: Scotland would be hit the hardest by Brexit vote

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: Scotland would be hit the hardest by Brexit vote | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

THE EU referendum campaign has started to stutter into life and with the UK wide polls sitting at 50-50 we just don’t know who will win. In the last few weeks I have criss-crossed Scotland and debated with Brexiters, almost all of whom were prominent Better Together campaigners in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Dundee. The lack of understanding of the specific economic impact on Scotland of a Brexit within the Leave campaign has been astounding.

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PANICKED TORIES TRY TO BLOCK POLICE PROBE INTO ELECTION FRAUD

PANICKED TORIES TRY TO BLOCK POLICE PROBE INTO ELECTION FRAUD | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
The Tories seem to be in a bit of a panic over the alleged election expenses fraud allegations that we have been following closely, but somehow the BBC seem to be doing their best to report as little as possible about it and when they do, they play it down as a story about bus expenses.
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Angry Salmond: A long wait, but let us hope Blair is nailed

Angry Salmond: A long wait, but let us hope Blair is nailed | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
COMRADES, I’m sure you will be as pleased as I am that the evil and psychotic Tony Blair is finally going to be condemned in the much-fabled Chilcot Inquiry. After years of asking “how long?”, we are finally approaching a time in which we can ask “how soon?”. Astonishingly, we’ve been waiting a 13 years for the Chilcot Report. That’s almost as long as we waited for the last Guns ‘n’ Roses album. In addition, three Star Trek movies have been written, produced and released in this time. On occasion I’ve wondered if we’d sooner see the report published as an inconclusive three-part movie trilogy than a coherent and incriminating document!
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ScottishGovernment - News - A precious opportunity

FM pledges to bring others together behind a common mission.

The First Minister today said the next five years represent a “precious opportunity” to make real improvements for the benefit of future generations, as she urged parties across the parliament to seize that opportunity.

Nicola Sturgeon made the call as she outlined a comprehensive programme of action to improve the lives and opportunities of Scotland’s young people, to grow the economy, to transform and reform public services and to empower communities across the country.
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Yes Scotland … No intellectual elitism – Towards Indyref2 …

Yes Scotland … No intellectual elitism – Towards Indyref2 … | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

Two weeks ago I wrote an article giving my thoughts on any attempt to re-create Yes Scotland. I argued that any such body would require to have input across the pro-independence political divide.

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If it comes to it, Sturgeon should refuse to hand over the Brain family

If it comes to it, Sturgeon should refuse to hand over the Brain family | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
I'd have to check to be sure but I don't believe I've ever used the STV News website to recommend law-breaking.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It's not often Stephen Daisley writes something substantial enough to be worthy of sharing. On this occasion, I can only say, "Hear! Hear!"

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Missing young voters ‘could mean defeat for pro-EU camp’

Missing young voters ‘could mean defeat for pro-EU camp’ | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
Millions of unregistered young voters could cost the pro-EU campaign victory in next month’s referendum, Ed Miliband will warn today in a wake-up call to Remain supporters.
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Donald Trump to face protest when he returns to Scotland for Turnberry re-opening

Donald Trump to face protest when he returns to Scotland for Turnberry re-opening | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
Controversial Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump will fly into Scotland next month and straight into a barrage of protesters at his Ayrshire golf course.
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Deciding the route of the number 17 bus

Wee Wullie Rennie is desperate to be noticed. When you’re the leader of a moribund party which came in fifth behind the Greens, and you only managed to get your seat at the expense of 40 odd lost deposits you must feel the need to justify your existence. There’s only so much mileage in bus timetables in Kelty after all. Now he’s upset because his role in the Remain campaign is being eclipsed by Alex Salmond, although to be honest the moon like face of Wullie could be eclipsed by a party balloon. But that’s not a nice thing to say about Tavish Scott.
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Justice! Glasgow protestors “unlawfully” arrested beat police court case

Justice! Glasgow protestors “unlawfully” arrested beat police court case | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
GLASGOW POLICE who “unlawfully” arrested three brothers campaigning against bloodshed in Syria have seen their case dismissed in court for “unreliable” evidence.
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TORY ELECTION FRAUD – THE PRIME MINISTER MUST BE QUESTIONED.

TORY ELECTION FRAUD – THE PRIME MINISTER MUST BE QUESTIONED. | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
SNP MP Pete Wishart has again written to the Metropolitan Police regarding the ‘Tory election fraud’ scandal, and has said he hoped David Cameron would be interviewed in the early course of the investigation as the leader of the Conservative Party after a recent television interview where he seems to concede the Conservative Party did break electoral law.
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Brexit Could Seriously Damage UK Environmental Awareness In Infrastructure Projects

Brexit Could Seriously Damage UK Environmental Awareness In Infrastructure Projects | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
A potential British exit from the European Union could have a serious impact on the way environmental issues are taken into account in future infrastructure projects.

Results from a new poll conducted among the UK members of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) reveal concern for the way that environmental issues will be addressed or even acknowledged as part of future infrastructure decision-making if the United Kingdom is to exit from the European Union.
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MSPs back motion calling for UK to remain in Europe

MSPs back motion calling for UK to remain in Europe | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
THE UK’s membership of the EU was overwhelmingly backed by MSPs last night.

In what was one of the first debates in the Scottish Parliament since the election three weeks ago, 106 MSPs backed a motion endorsing the status quo.
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Hope for the Brain family as UK Government say there's 'no imminent threat of deportation' - and they meet the FM

Hope for the Brain family as UK Government say there's 'no imminent threat of deportation' - and they meet the FM | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
A SCOTTISH MP has said there could be a decision early next week on whether or not an Australian family battling to stay in Scotland will be allowed to remain.
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Alastair Sim: Cancer fight ‘should not be hampered by borders’

Alastair Sim: Cancer fight ‘should not be hampered by borders’ | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
IN THE latest in our series of key voices in the debate over Scotland’s future, Alastair Sim looks at the impact losing EU funding could have on scientific research
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Last-ditch hope for Australian family the Brains after distillery's job offer

Last-ditch hope for Australian family the Brains after distillery's job offer | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
A COMMUNITY-owned distillery at the heart of a crowdfunding drive could help a young Australian family’s case to remain in Scotland after the man behind it offered Kathryn Brain a job.

John McKenzie is aiming to ensure that GlenWyvis Distillery near Dingwall makes history as the world’s first community-owned, renewables-powered facility of its kind.
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“Land ownership is too concentrated”: Scottish Government tells country’s landowners

“Land ownership is too concentrated”: Scottish Government tells country’s landowners | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
Cunningham was speaking to Scottish Land and Estates (LS&E) conference, where she was challenged at the land owners’ event over the government’s land reform agenda.

Cunningham rejected claims that the ownership of land by a tiny, wealthy clique was irrelevant to the public interest, and issued a wake-up call over the need to recognise why communities “agitate” to buy-out land.
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