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Thursday, January 29, 2009


Holyrood voted down the SNP's budget last night.

The 47 Scottish National Party MSPs voted for the budget, as did the 16 Tories, who were offered £60m for their town centre regeneration plan.

Labour demanded more cash for apprenticeships, but said the deal they were offered fell short, while the Lib Dems' call for a 2p income tax cut was rejected at an earlier stage.

The government was banking on the support of the two Green MSPs, who wanted a 10-year, £100m-a-year free home insulation package.

Finance Secretary John Swinney offered a £22m pilot scheme, which he offered to raise by several million just minutes before the vote

Looks like the Tories let themselves be bought very cheaply at only twice what the Greens turned down.

Now I fully support the LudDims turning it down because it doesn't offer a 2p income tax cut which would indeed do more for our economy than anything else proposed by any of these parties. Actually they should go for the full 3p since administrative costs are the same so a 3p cut gives better value. Indeed I stood for election as the sole candidate calling for a 3p reduction - though while the LDs refuse to say where the money would come from I did - end the £1 billion windmill subsidy.

This could be a very popular measure - if they genuinely could stand for election calling for cutting income tax they would win big. Their problem is that, not being liberals, they don't. Indeed the party is officially on record as saying that cutting taxes is "illiberal" & incompatible with party membership".

They have introduced this promise cynically, simply to get votes & hoped, by voting against the Scottish government on that basis to get a little publicity or even a lot if Labour had done as expected & sat on their hands. Presumably Labour also decided publicity is good. Instead they have brought the house down, much of it landing on them. Now Tavish is desperately backtracking:

but now they're back in the room. Mr Scott noted that there might be scope for discussion of longer-term economic objectives.

Mr Salmond's tone in response was notably emollient, while expressing the hope that the 2p tax cut was buried

After all the last thing the LudDims want is to fight an election on radical liberal principles & the 2nd last thing they want is to be wiped out in an election fought on them being even more Luddite, anti-growth, pro-windmillist than the other parties.

I wish the Conservatives would grow some balls & actually (A) put forward some economically sane policies since Scotland desperately needs some & (B) charge a bit higher for their favours - a PR system rightly demands compromise, but you compromise only after you have decided what you ideally want & you don't sell your inheritance for a mess. Like the SNP & unlike Greens, LudDims & Labour, do not fear an election & would fear it less if they dared stand for something.

Perhaps once Tavish has backed out of the 2p cut they could endorse a 3p for next year & invite the LDs to join them in standing up for it (or possibly just 2p) next year.

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