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Sunday, April 01, 2007


This morning on Andrew Marr's programme, set in Scotland for the upcoming election, he interviewed Malcolm Rifkind & David Steel on Scottish devolution. Rifkind, a Tory with probably more brains & less charm than Gordon Brown criticised the idea of us going for Fiscal Autonomy on the grounds that full fiscal autonomy would mean us giving up several billion £s more than we currently raise. This is pretty much my feeling & I think the term Fiscal Autonomy is so popular because it is being used in 2 different ways - by free marketeers to mean the ability to raise, or more importantly lower, various taxes, primarily corporation tax, to kick start our economy & by separatists as a code word for independence - you can't get any more fiscally autonomous than being a separate country. Rifkind correctly said that full FA would mean massive tax rises.

David Steel, former Lib Dem leader replied with the inanity that we could just lower corporation tax!

OK so this doesn't exactly address Rifkind's point of where the money comes from but on a purely personal basis it hit home. Let us remember my expulsion from the LibDems. I was expelled for supporting nuclear power & CALLING FOR US TO ACHIEVE IRISH STYLE GROWTH BY CUTTING CORPORATION TAX. This crime was unanimously judged by the Scottish Party executive to be "illiberal & irreconcilable with membership of the party" & "too right wing" to even be discussed.

It seems like barely a year since then - in fact it is barely a year. Clearly if that was the case then Mr Steel, by going on TV to say this, rather than blogging or putting a letter in the papers, has transgressed to a far greater extent. The position of Robert Brown MSP & other members of the executive would not seem to be morally tenable if they do not choose to immediately write to Mr Steel to advise him of his proposed expulsion. I await their action, or indeed a statement of the party's reasons for inaction, with interest.

Despite the date he really did say this. Perhaps he, or Dr Barrie who wrote the party's letter to me, or somebody else may wish to apolgise & admit my prior use of this idea in the party. Had they, rather than the SNP been willing to adopt it who knows how they would stand in the polls now?

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