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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Letters -Scottish Daily Mail & Independent

      This letter on the Independent in Tuesday.
      Unfortunately either it did not reach the rarified literary standards of the Scottish press, or the subject is of no interest here since otherwise we would have to assume it is simply censorship but it appears not to have been published by any Scots paper.
      In "promising" long term pensions for an independent Scotland larger than for the UK the SNP have gone beyond exaggeration to outright dishonesty. Scotland has a slightly older population than England and with less immigration it is aging faster so our pensions will cost more. Oil, while a long way from running out, is in long term decline while with oil reserves worldwide increasing it is likely to drop in price so that, over decades, we must expect less money from it.
      If the economies of both stay the same it is inevitable a separate Scotland will have less money, per person, for pensions.
      In theory, if we had a progressive government committed to maximising growth through free markets, like, my own, UKIP, or as Ireland had for 2 decades, we could easily achieve the average growth of the non-EU countries which is 6%. In which case matching UK pensions 10 years from now would be easy. Equally a united UK government could do the same - separation is far less important than economic competence.
      However we don't. During one TV debate the Green leader, sharing the Yes vote platform assured us that "nobody should vote Yes in the expectation that we will have any growth in the next 10 years" & Ms Sturgeon, sharing his platform made no move to disagree, though I, speaking from the audience, disagreed vehemently with that programme. Subsequently I wrote both to the SNP organisation and to Mr Salmond personally asking them to disagree with that promise but they didn't and the SNP's "100% renewable by 2020" promise makes even zero growth extremely optimistic.
       If we are going to have more pensioners, less oil, and zero growth, or worse, simple arithmetic shows that a promise of higher pensions simply cannot be kept.
Neil Craig
       The stuff in italics was edited which includes the stuff about UKIP and the reference to the TV debate. It is reasonable an English paper would have no interest in the debate but inexplicable that the Scots ones don't.
       Perhaps one of the Scottish papers will say what reason, apart from censoring No campaigners, or possibly just UKIP No campaigners, persuaded them not to publish this letter.
Thanks to Clark Cross for notifying me of this in the Scottish Daily Mail on Thursday. This is how I wrote it:
       We have seen political hay being made by a promise of dinners for children.
      At a cost in delivery of £600 million but when you remember that there are costs in collecting taxes and in administering payments and in practice a certain amount of slippage into other projects we are talking about roughly £1 billion on taxes. That is about 0.3p on income tax or some direct equivalent. this is not an impossible amount but it is significant
       Perhaps the benefit to the kids means we should be doing it anyway. Perhaps not. The problem is that there is no case for discussing only the state payment side of the question in isolation. You cannot reach a sensible conclusion if you don't use  the entire equation. Yet this is precisely what the state owned BBC and the most of  rest of the media who follow their lead, are doing.
       If the Pseudo Liberals* are going to go into the next election promising to increase income tax by a manageable 0.3p or indeed to come up with other such policies and acknowledge the higher total then that would be honourable.
       For Scots, as a rule of thumb every penny in income tax raises £330 million here. If every bit of new spending was honestly presented in such terms we would have a much more adult political debate here.
Neil Craig    
UKIP Glasgow secretary
* I have to say "pseudo liberals" because I was expelled from the party some years ago on a charge of being an economic liberal (& supporter of nuclear power and opponent of illegal war). I am, by any definition the originators of the term understood, proudly a liberal.
A few minor editings - they changed "dinners" to "school lunches" which may be clearer, "kids" to "children" - nothing serious.
The serious and unexpected bit was putting my bit about the liberals, which I added only for background, into the letter. Previous experience had shown me that mention of that was unmentionable.
Also unexpected was keeping my status in UKIP in. Probably the latter makes the former more newsworthy.
All in all I am proud of this one. The point that all political spending promises cost taxpayers more than is spent is vital. I didn't commit to not spending the money but only to putting thought into the process.
And still the Herald/Scotsman aren't publishing such letters.

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