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Monday, June 06, 2005


A very good article by the SNP's Alex Neil on growing the Scots economy:

Land Value Tax is a very good idea & his argument that it does not punish people who add value to property. Antonia Swinson has written on this as well. Personally I would like to see LVT applied specifically to built up areas or within half a mile thereof & excluding green belts. To put LVT on all farming land would bankrupt the farming industry & while there are very good economic arguments that that would be a good thing (government subsidy considerably exceeds the combined income of all farm workers) but I think it would be somewhat heartless. In areas where building is likely it would certainly be have the indicated effect.

As regards housebuilding I think habsolutelylutly right though I personally would like to see some specific encouragement giving to off site manufacturing which would turn housebuilding into a mass manufacturing process. See my undebated proposal 20/11/4.

His ideas about encouraging R&D are new to me & as a general supporter of hi-tech have my full support. He has also chosen to mention this rather than cutting corporation tax specifically because the latter requires Westminster agreement. I do not think this is an either/or choice - I would happily consider both to be good investments. Only caveat I would give is that such grants should be an automatic result of spending on the R&D not a PC government grant - we currently have a windmill industry which is munificently supported by all sorts of grants, particularly granted to small firms in marginals - economically this is all wasted.


Meanwhile there are a few letters from Nationalist dinosaurs pushing the idea that independence was the cause of Ireland's success (starting 68 years after independence) & that the SNP shouldn't sully themselves with such practical matters until such time as 51% of us put our trust in them (or slightly more sensibly in the pro-independence SNP, SSP & Greens combined). Labour must really be wishing for an opposition who thus abrogate the responsibility of government.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Posted on
""Union employees at Reuters are stepping up their campaign against the wire service's outsourcing of U.S. jobs, most recently transferring the editing and caption writing of photos to its Singapore office and some Internet work to Toronto."

Editing and caption writing? Singapore? "

This is not a sign of outsourcing to the 3rd world but something rather more ominous. Singapore is a developed country that happens to be in south Asia, it has a standard of living between that of Italy & Spain. If Reuters chose to go there they are expecting a better job.

"Gorgeous" George Galloway is pretty well known here. I was once involved in working for his opponent in an election, unsuccessfully. I wouldn't entirely trust him financially, or with somebody's wife (or vice versa apparently despite being short & bald) & he is generally a bit of a leftie ranter. On the other hand, for a knee jerk pro-moslem he was one of our few MPs who voted against bombing Yugoslavia. I don't for a minute believe he would be stupid enough to do what Congress has accused him of.

He's also one of the decreasing number of politicians who actually know how to speak to a crowd. I think Congress was outmatched.

Neil Craig

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