Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
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Warning over flagship policy to expand free childcare places

Warning over flagship policy to expand free childcare places | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A FLAGSHIP policy to expand free childcare places to Scottish families will not improve levels of education on its own, a major new report has warned.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Hang on a minute! Yesterday it was removing Trident that was the "flagship policy". It seems that the Scottish Government doesn't get to decide what its "flagship policy" is. This is decided for them by the unionist media on the basis of whatever policy happens to be under attack at any given time.

And what of that "attack" on the Scottish Government's plans to expand childcare. Well, on closer inspection it turns out not to be any kind of attack at all. Merely some perfectly innocuous and unsurprising observations spun into yet another gobbet of puerile anti-independence propaganda by way of a laughably contrived straw man.

Nobody ever claimed that expansion of childcare would "improve levels of education on its own". Who could possibly have been so idiotic as to imagine that the quality of this childcare would not be a factor? It is for that writer to explain why they assume, without explanation, evidence or supporting argument, that the expanded childcare being proposed would necessarily and inevitably be of inferior quality.

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Independent Women

Independent Women | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

In the week we lost Margo MacDonald, the SNP finally, finally announced some breakthrough policies for women. Call it politics, call it one-upmanship (sic), I don't care. I'm pret...

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Report reveals tax blow to SNP’s childcare policy

Report reveals tax blow to SNP’s childcare policy | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Alex Salmond’s flagship childcare policy has been dealt a major blow after official figures revealed a massive shortfall in the tax revenues he forecast it would bring.
Peter A Bell's insight:

The way the British parties pounce on things like the SPICe report on childcare expansion proposals amply demonstrates how desperate the anti-independence campaign is for anything that might lift it out of the doldrums. Or, to be more accurate, anything that will drag the Scottish Government and/or the Yes campaign down.

Their reaction betrays their sick priorities. They choose to believe that the report means that the Scottish Government's plans to massively expand childcare will fail. And they are glad. Not just glad. Gleeful!

Most of us, I imagine, would regard expansion of childcare as a good thing in its own right - regardless of any economic calculations. We would consider the social benefits of such a measure - particularly as these relate to a section of society that has historically been sorely disadvantaged.

The No campaign sees things rather differently. While they will mouth platitudes about the need for better childcare provision, they will not tolerate it if the price is anything remotely like a success for the SNP.

But they are likely to be disappointed. The SPICe report doesn't take any account of the wider social benefits of the policy. And it looks at the economic implications within the context of a very short time-frame.

The SPICe report may, to some extent, suit the immediate, petty point-scoring purposes of the No campaign. But for those of us who are more concerned with the long-term project to transform our nation, it doesn't mean much at all.

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ScottishPol: Kindergarten logic

The Scottish Government recently issued an economic analysis related to its White Paper pledge to double free nursery hours in the event of independence.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Perhaps Tom Gordon would like to explain exactly what is wrong with "aspiration". Is this not how all policies start? Without the ambition to effect change, nothing would ever get done.

The question, surely, is whether an aspiration is realistic. As ever, while bemoaning the fact that the Scottish Government does not provide chapter and verse on something that cannot, in fact, be known, the anti-independence campaign is subject to no such strictures. They are allowed to rubbish the positive ideas advanced by the SNP without ever being challenged on the basis of their criticisms.

British Labour and their Tory allies appear to be asserting that the increase in female workforce participation ensuing from better childcare provision would be zero. Or, at least, they fail to say what they reckon it would be. Nor do they actually explain what is unrealistic about the Scottish Government's figure of 6%. Their argument seems to be no more substantial than to claim that because it's from the SNP it must be wrong. Which may be good enough for those who harbour the bitter resentment of the SNP which infests British Labour in particular. But it's not an argument that's going to impress anybody whose capacity for rational thought is not impaired by mindless hatred.

Of course, the British parties in Scotland pay lip service to the idea of improved childcare. How could they do otherwise given that it is such a popular policy. But they offer no proposals of their own. All they do is insist that the Scottish Government could implement its proposals now. But they are completely unable to say how this would be funded. How come they're never challenged on that little oversight?

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Alex Salmond accused of 'referendum ploy' over childcare - Telegraph

Alex Salmond accused of 'referendum ploy' over childcare - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Alex Salmond's promises more free childcare and school meals but insists he cannot afford to do more unless there is a 'yes' vote in the independence referendum.
Peter A Bell's insight:

That the Scottish Government cannot deliver it's childcare plans without independence is a matter of logic and arithmetic, not politics. Were we being generous we might say that Simon Johnson is being disingenuous when he says that "the SNP administration already has control over childcare". Since I find no reason to oblige him by veiling his dishonesty in a cloak of euphemism, I will be more blunt. The statement is a lie. A lie of omission, perhaps, but a lie nonetheless.

What Johnson fails to mention, although we have every right to assume that someone styling themselves "Scottish Political Editor" would be aware of it, is that while the Scottish Parliament has "control" of childcare it has no power over taxation. Anybody who has looked at the Scottish Governments proposals - and, again, that surely includes Johnson - will know that the plan is that the bulk of the cost is to be covered by increased tax revenues from the extra employment that will be generated as a consequence of better childcare provision.

The question that neither the British parties in Scotland nor their friends in the British nationalist media will answer is, where will the money to pay for extended childcare come from when the additional tax revenues generated are seized by London?

The British parties and the mainstream media are engaged in perpetrating a quite despicable deception of the people of Scotland. They are leading the public to believe that the Scottish Government has the resources to fund policies when it does not. That has to be dishonest.

The political purpose is clear. It is all about undermining the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government and, most of all, the SNP regardless of the damage that is done in the process. It is petty politicking at its basest. It is the modus operandi of the British state. And the sooner we are shot of it, the better.

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'Shambolic' Labour vote against free school meals | Scottish National Party

'Shambolic' Labour vote against free school meals | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Commenting after tonight’s vote in the Scottish Parliament, in which Labour ended up voting against the extension of free school meals and Johann Lamont was unable to move away her from pre-prepared speech to comment on the Scottish Government’s childcare announcement, SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said:


“Today’s debate completely exposed Labour’s narrow partisan agenda. In their determination to attack everything proposed by the SNP, they ended up voting against policies which they themselves have claimed to support."

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Salmond: we need power to ease child care needs

Salmond: we need power to ease child care needs | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE Scottish Government cannot provide 30 hours a week child care without the full powers of independence, according to First Minister Alex Salmond.
Peter A Bell's insight:

That the Scottish Government cannot provide 30 hours a week child care without the full powers of independence is not merely "according to First Minister Alex Salmond" but according to simple logic and arithmetic. The increased tax revenues that will ensue from getting more people into work are crucial to funding the plans. We note that neither Johann Lamont nor her Tory allies are able to suggest how this childcare will be paid for when the tax revenues are seized by London.


When the British parties at Holyrood tell the people of Scotland that the increased childcare can be delivered without independence they are quite simply lying.

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SNP under fire over flagship childcare plan

SNP under fire over flagship childcare plan | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ALEX Salmond has come under fire over his flagship independence pledge after new figures showed the cost of providing childcare for all one-to four-year-olds would top £1billion.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Not for the first time, we find the British parties at Holyrood advancing an argument which simply doesn't make sense. They say that the Scottish government could, and should, introduce the proposed improvements to childcare right away. Without, of course, saying how this is to be funded. Then, even more ridiculously, they claim that the changes are viable under devolution when the additional tax revenues generated go to London, but not when those revenues accrue to the Scottish exchequer! It simply makes no sense!

And why would it? Johann Lamont and her Tory/LibDem allies are not interested in looking for ways to improve childcare. They are not interested in a reasoned analysis of the proposals. As always, they think as far as the first thing that sound like a good anti-SNP sound-bite, and then the thinking stops.

Where are their ideas? Where is their vision for Scotland? What do they have to offer the people of Scotland?

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At last ... a real chance to transform childcare in Scotland

Every woman in ­Scotland should welcome the commitment to a
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Salmond: we can equal Europe on childcare

ALEX Salmond yesterday held out the lure of a "transformational shift" in childcare provision after independence, as he set out practical reasons for voting Yes in 2014.

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Rallying cry: Salmond inspires troops at last SNP conference before referendum

Rallying cry: Salmond inspires troops at last SNP conference before referendum | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ALEX Salmond yesterday promoted two more women to his Cabinet in a clear attempt to win over female voters in the referendum as he set out a vision of a fairer and more noble Scotland under independence.
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Wean's World

Wean's World | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
By Fiona MacInnes When my children were young I never had time to read columns like this, I was like many women simply getting through each day surviving. Mothering is the most difficult job there ...
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ScottishGovernment - News - £1bn of Westminster's welfare cuts will hit children

Deputy First Minister speaks at Child Poverty Action Group conference.
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With just over eight months until Scotland decides, enhanced childcare moving to the heart of the debate is a good thing

With just over eight months until Scotland decides, enhanced childcare moving to the heart of the debate is a good thing | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The Scottish government has announced plans to extend free childcare and school meals to all children. With the independence referendum in Scotland approaching, Jim McCormick says both campaigns ca...
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Scottish independence: SNP £114m childcare pledge

Scottish independence: SNP £114m childcare pledge | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Alex Salmond unveiled a £114 million family support package of extra childcare and free school meals yesterday as he fired the opening salvo in Scotland’s referendum year at Holyrood.
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Free school meals a chance to boost local economies say Scottish Greens

Free school meals a chance to boost local economies say Scottish Greens | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Alison Johnstone, the Green MSP for Lothian, and food spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, has welcomed plans for free school meals for primary schoolchildren but urged Scottish ministers to ensure the roll-out benefits local economies.


Peter A Bell's insight:

Sometimes the sheer. bloated immensity of Johan Lamont's hate-fuelled idiocy looms so large it obscures even the massive stupidity of Ruth Davidson. Here we have the clown-princess of the "Scottish" Tory Party making a total arse of herself by trying to pretend that the free school meals policy being implemented by the Scottish Government is actually a gift from Westminster.

She compounds her inanity by insisting that the provision is being paid for by "Westminster money". She is evidently just too thick to realise that "Westminster" got that money in the first place by seizing Scotland's tax revenues.

But wait! She's not done crafting her entry for "Brain-dead Parliamentarian of the Month". By claiming that the policy relies on a "gift" of money from London, she fatally undermines the argument of her British Labour allies at Holyrood who have been telling the Scottish people porkies about the Scottish Government already having the resources to deliver.

That lie, in turn, contradicts the assertion made by yet another British nationalist bladder, George Foulkes, who says that the SNP are trying to make things better in Scotland than they are in England... DELIBERATELY!!! If that was the case, wouldn't the SNP administration have already used the resources that it supposedly has to outdo provision dahn sahff?

Johan Lamont and Ruth Davidson - Dumb and dumber! His Lordship is, as I'm sure he would be at pains to point out, in a class of his own.

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The Madness of Lady Morgan

The Madness of Lady Morgan | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
By Mike Small The popular refrain is that the constitutional debate is a 'distraction' from 'bread and butter issues'. The latter phrase may prove unfortunate with the Independent reporting that hu...
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Lesley Riddoch: Strange silence on childcare plans

Lesley Riddoch: Strange silence on childcare plans | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The SNP white paper sets out its early years strategy, but no-one seems to be debating the proposals, writes Lesley Riddoch
Peter A Bell's insight:

Why does Lesley Riddoch claim that expenditure on free personal care isn't seen as a “leakage” from the Scottish Government's resources? Of course it is. Such "leakage", and the need to rectify it, is one of the principle economic arguments for independence. It would be totally impractical to detail each and every instance of this "leakage" every time the economic arguments are discussed. But this is what is meant when we say that Westminster is not working for Scotland.

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Lesley Riddoch: Gender may sway referendum vote

Lesley Riddoch: Gender may sway referendum vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
MEN say yes to independence – women say no. That was the bittersweet reality behind a weekend poll which gave the SNP a 20-point lead over Labour and reduced the swing needed for a Yes vote to 5 per cent.
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