Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Osborne's Budget: unthinkable in Scotland

Osborne's Budget:  unthinkable in Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
READ IAIN IN THE HERALD AND SUNDAY HERALD     THERE could be no clearer illustration of the gulf in political culture between Westminster and Scotland right now than last week's Budget. N...
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Will Osborne present Budget for the Union, with air duty devolved and whisky escalator scrapped?

GEORGE Osborne is set to present a "Budget for the Union" next week, with speculation mounting that he will announce a plan to devolve Air Passenger Duty (APD) to Holyrood and scrap the controversial whisky duty escalator.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Why am I reminded of colonists offering the natives shiny baubles?

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Scots funding 'faces huge cut after election'

Scots funding  'faces huge cut after election' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND'S annual block grant will be cut by
Peter A Bell's insight:

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) report referred to in the article was fatally flawed because it assumed that Scotland was independent and yet still subject to the policies of a Westminster Tory government. It took no account of the fact that independent Scotland would be relieved of the burden of having to pay for the British state's murderous nuclear toys. It took no account of the fact that Scottish tax revenues would no longer be diverted to subsidise vanity projects such as HS2. It took no account of the fact that we wouldn't have the appalling Westminster circus to pay for.

Independent Scotland will be governed differently. That is, if not the whole point, then a massive part of it. And increased tax revenues from policies designed to promote employment and grow the economy will accrue to the Scottish exchequer rather than being siphoned off by London.

Besides, even if budget cuts are necessary, there can be no circumstances in which it is more acceptable to have these imposed on Scotland by a government which we decisively rejected at the polls than by a government that has a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland.

This is what unionists simply don't get. It's not just the havoc being wrought on our essential public services and the vicious attacks on the vulnerable in society that we object to. It is the fact that we have no say in the matter. The people of Scotland are rendered politically powerless by the British political system that anti-independence campaigners insist we should continue meekly to accept. They offer no good reason why we should make this sacrifice, only vacuous platitudes about being "better together" and banal, flag-waving jingoism founded on the faded glories of a mythologised imperialist past and the antics of an obscene aristocracy.

And they offer no hope that this corrupt and discredited political system will change. They have no vision for the future at all. They are, in any case, not capable of developing any vision for Scotland's future which is not constrained by the the self-imposed imperative of preserving the structures of power and privilege which define the contrived, synthetic "country" they call Britain.

Scotland can be different. Scotland can be better. But not as part of that failing British state. Only independence will do.

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Budget sparks row over £20m to ease pain of 'bedroom tax'

A FURIOUS row has broken out over Scottish Government efforts to soften the impact of the
Peter A Bell's insight:

It is to be expected that what we are obliged to accept instead of a proper opposition at Holyrood should complain loud and long about the administration's announced budget. Pointless nitpicking without a hint of constructive criticism is standard practice on these occasions. That the British parties are totally obsessed with attacking the SNP at whatever cost to fulfilling their parliamentary function is something that, through long usage, most of us have come to regard with vaguely irked resignation more than the open outrage that might be deemed appropriate in the face of such wilful failure.


But even those of us whose remaining sense of righteous indignation is calloused from years of rubbing up against the self-serving duplicity of British Labour in Scotland are stung through the numbness of our cynicism by the brazen effrontery of Iain Gray.


Even the most world-weary among us cannot help but be sorely offended by the air-brushing from history of British Labour's part in introducing the iniquitous "bedroom tax", about which they now bleat so hypocritically.


Even those of us long inured to the distortions and downright dishonesty of the British parties cannot help but be roused to gape-mouthed wonder at the sheer gall of a British Labour politician standing in Scotland's parliament berating the government we actually elected for the crimes against decency and democracy committed by his own party and continued with unabashed relish by that party's Tory allies.


There is an almost magnificent audacity in Iain Gray's insistence that the abominable bedroom tax should be fully funded from Scotland's budget - effectively a transfer of funds back to the British Treasury and a subsidising of the vicious campaign against the disadvantaged being waged by the people Gray, as a fervent British nationalist, insists have the right to do as they please regardless of the fact that they and their hideous ideology have been decisively rejected by the people of Scotland.


Who would not be offended by Gray's craven capitulation in the face of callous injustice? Who would not be disgusted by Gray's preference for petty partisan politicking over seeking to protect the poor and powerless? Who would not be moved to anger by the fact that he would rather facilitate Tory policies than fight them if this meant the possibility of embarrassing the hated SNP?


The land that Iain Gray and his fellow British nationalists commend to the people of Scotland has become a land in which the poor and powerless must look to external agencies for help and succour. Should they look to British Labour in their time of need they will see only the cold face of political calculation that counts their plight as nothing compared to the desire to preserve the personal and party advantages of the British state and its structures of power and privilege.

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The hidden cost of the Union

The hidden cost of the Union | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

We had to be out most of yesterday, so we didn’t have time to cover a story which broke in the morning in several UK papers. 24 hours later, though, we can still find no mention of it in the Scottish media, which remains fully occupied in filling its pages with recycled wittering drivel about the pound.

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George Kerevan: SNP must convince the cautious to say ‘yes’

George Kerevan: SNP must convince the cautious to say ‘yes’ | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
John Swinney’s ‘unconventional fiscal policy’ will have to work well to win over the fence-sitters, writes George Kerevan...
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Peter A Bell's comment, September 21, 2012 5:32 AM
While acknowledging the importance of the economy we should recognise that Swinney's budget also creates problems for the Tory/Labour/LibDem anti-independence coalition at Holyrood and in the Bitter Together campaign. Their knee-jerk reaction, which they are not known for resisting, will be to attack the budget by exaggerating the "cuts" and playing down the spending plans. But it will not go unnoticed that in doing so they are hypocritically denouncing the very policies which they are urging the UK Government to adopt.

Of course, "Scottish" Labour and their Tory allies are inured to such blatant duplicity and are unlikely to be unduly embarrassed by putting it on display for all to see. After all, they do it every week at FMQs when Johann Lamont goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid any criticism of the punitive austerity measures being imposed on Scotland by Cameron and Osborne. I am not the only one to have remarked on the fact that Lamont and Davidson seem to be reading from the same script.

While pondering what impact John Swinney's “unconventional fiscal policy” might have on referendum fence-sitters we should also consider the effect of unionists' brazen hypocrisy and Johann Lamont's lamentable weekly double-act with Ruth Davidson.
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Labour credibility questions after vote no-show | Scottish National Party

Labour credibility questions after vote no-show | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Labour’s credibility is severely in question after party abstained in a vote, forced by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, opposing Tory plans to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners.

 

Despite vocal opposition and several pledges from shadow chancellor Ed Balls to vote against the measure, in an embarrassing no-show Labour MP’s failed to vote against the measure in the Commons. The Government won the vote on the 45p rate by 319 to 22, a majority of 297.

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Beer and Bingo

Beer and Bingo | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
John Warren on the 'Broad Shoulders' disequilibrium.   David Cameron and Danny Alexander’s favourite metaphor is an appeal to the security offered by the UK’s “broad shoulders”, which is used inspi...
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SNP and Labour will agree to end bedroom tax

SNP and Labour will agree to end bedroom tax | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The SNP government has opened talks with Labour about devising a “legal way” to scrap the so-called bedroom tax in Scotland.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It would be gratifying to think that British Labour in Scotland had finally got over the debilitating extended tantrum it has been in ever since the voters delivered it a resounding electoral slap back in 2011. But it wouldn't do to get our hopes up too much.

Iain Gray continues to talk in terms of "ending" the bedroom tax, as if the Scottish Parliament had the power to do this. He knows damned well that they do not. And yet he still seeks to deceive the people of Scotland into thinking that the SNP administration is simply refusing to scrap this iniquitous imposition.

What is being proposed is not the ending of the bedroom tax in Scotland. Only a Yes victory in September is guaranteed to do that. What British Labour's lackeys at Holyrood are talking about is merely ending the impact of the hated measure which, we should always remember, was first introduced by a Labour UK government. They are talking about the Scottish Government fully funding this Labour/Tory "reform" so that its harmful effects are ameliorated. But this can only be done at some cost to other services. Somebody will have to pay. And that is likely to be other vulnerable sections of society.

Funding the Labour/Tory bedroom tax is effectively a transfer of funds from the Scottish budget to the British exchequer. The people of Scotland still end up paying for a policy imposed on us by a government we did not vote for. A policy opposed by 90% of the representatives we actually elected. More worryingly, it sets a dangerous precedent. It sends a message to this and future UK governments letting them know that they can manipulate the Scottish budget, and thereby the Scottish Parliament, through measures such as the bedroom tax.

It may be possible for the Scottish Government to negate the effect of the bedroom tax in Scotland. If anybody can find a way, it's John Swinney. But the money to do this will have to be taken from other areas. And what happens the next time? What happens when "Bedroom Tax 2" comes along? Not even Mr Swinney can constantly find resources to compensate for the actions of a UK government bent on destroying the welfare state.

Paying for the bedroom tax is no more than putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. The only way to fully resolve the situation is to bring Scotland's government home.

Voting Yes is about keeping what remains of social democratic decency.

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Thatcher made ‘secret cuts’ to Scottish budget

Thatcher made ‘secret cuts’ to Scottish budget | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A SECRET strategy of “invisible” cuts to Scotland’s budget was drawn up by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1984, official papers released under the 30-year rule today have revealed.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Nothing much has changed. These documents reveal a sneeringly contemptuous attitude to Scotland that is ingrained in the British state. We should all bear in mind that a No vote empowers those who would casually sacrifice Scotland's interests but for the threat that we might take away their power to do so. If we vote No, there is nothing to stop these people.

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Denial is a River in Scotland

Denial is a River in Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
George Osborne has protected Scotland from major spending cuts. He won't be thanked for that.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Alex Massie may not believe an independent Scotland would have to be an economic basket-case. But he's more than happy if the people of Scotland are sold this tale of woe. His advice to those people appears to be that they should take whatever the British state deigns to bestow upon and be bloody grateful for it.

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London budgets are not working for Scotland

London budgets are not working for Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

One of Yes Scotland’s most powerful campaign themes has been: ‘Westminster isn’t working’.

Policies such as the bedroom tax, failures like the loss of the UK’s AAA credit rating and the ongoing, corrosive impact of austerity economics is the hard evidence the Westminster system is hurting people across Scotland.

Peter A Bell's insight:

"Westminster is working for London and the South East, but it most certainly is not working for Scotland."

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Holyrood to debate Osborne budget

Holyrood to debate Osborne budget | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Finance Secretary John Swinney will lead a Scottish Parliament debate on the chancellor's Budget.
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Letter from Keith Anderson of Port of Leith Housing Association on the £100m pledged by John Swinney to be spent on affordable housing | Indigo PR Edinburgh Glasgow Scotland

I write in relation to the near £100m pledged by John Swinney in the Scottish Government’s budget to be spent on affordable housing.
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