WHILE Scotland has been wrestling with the issues of raising revenue and then protecting it, perhaps somewhere in Massachusetts a professor at Harvard Business School has been considering adding a new lecture to her Masters degree entry course. It might be entitled Scotland: Taxing Lyrical and observe how a disputatious little outpost in the North Atlantic had overnight become a crucible for observing the practice, nature and ethics of raising revenue in a modern democracy.
It would be gratifying if the worst of the drivel in this article was the stuff about the Scottish Government's independence White Paper "over-stating oil revenues". The term "overstate" implies wilful exaggeration. Which is, of course, utter nonsense. The kind of foolishness that can only come from those incapable of grasping the concept of a conditional statement. Many have sought to address this particular manifestation of stupidity. But it persists, nonetheless, among British nationalists and those journalists who unthinkingly subscribe to the cosy consensus of the British media.
But surely the worse folly is to suppose that the so-called tax 'plan' from British Labour in Scotland should be taken seriously.
I was at BBC Radio Scotland's Big Debate in Kinross yesterday and, inevitably, this topic was raised. In the course of the discussion, various of the panellists mouthed words about the "need for a debate" about tax. Politicians resort to the "need for debate" rhetoric when they want to convey the idea that there is something wrong with current policy, but have no considered critique to offer and nothing constructive to suggest in terms of an alternative.
Cue British Labour in Scotland and their back-of-a-fag-packet tax proposal.
The media connive in the charade by pompously congratulating Kezia Dugdale for broaching a previously taboo topic. Like the subject of taxation has never in living memory been part of an election debate! Aye, right!
Let's inject a bit of honesty into this "debate". Let's acknowledge what the real motive was behind this obviously fatally flawed tax proposal from Kezia's kiddies. Let's recognise that they knew damned well that it would be voted down by SNP, Green and Tory MSPs - each for their own reasons.
Let's be clear that the sole purpose of the exercise was to give muppets like Blair McDougall and Duncan Hothersall an excuse to run around the social media playground pointing at the SNP and chanting, "You voted wi' the Toh-rees! Ah'm tellin' on you-ou!", like the players in some obscene parody of Dennis Potter's wonderful 'Blue Remembered Hills'.
Let's face it! This has nothing whatever to do with a serious debate on taxation. It is nothing more than yet another instance of the kind of infantile, petty, unworthy politicking that we have come to expect from the British parties in Scotland.