I’m still struggling with the premise of the Unionist argument against Full Fiscal Autonomy. When the UK runs a deficit, this is normal, but if Scotland were to do it it would be the end of civilisation as we know it and fiscalmageddon. We’d be so poor that we’d have to sleep in a drawer alongside Jim Murphy, and you’d all be sorry then Scottish nationalist types. You wouldn’t even be able to afford the bill for the counselling you’d require because the NHS won’t cover it. Funny how no one asks whether the UK and its permadecifit can afford to be fiscally autonomous. Apparently that’s different – just because – right. Now shut up and eat your wheatos.
Clearly, like the country I come from, I’m too stupid to understand why we’re too poor and too wee. Not like the OBR, which is supposed to stand for the Office for Budget Responsibility but where Scotland is concerned really stands for Osborne’s Basketcase Reasons. Osborne’s Basketcases can always give Reasons why Scotland is too wee too poor and too stupid.
Entirely coincidentally and totally independently, the OBR has produced some more figures showing how basketcasish Scotland is on the very day that the SNP table an amendment to the Scotland Bill to give Scotland Full Fiscal Autonomy. See all that oil in the North Sea? Well now it’s worth three buttons, two five Euro cent coins from the back of the sofa, and an ocean of sneers from the UK media. You’ll have had your North Sea bonanza then, and it’s all been spent on tax cuts for rich people, transport infrastructure for London, and editorials in the Tory press telling Scotland it ought to be grateful. We should be feeling suitably chastised by now.
In what was described as a significant blow against Scotland’s hopes for Full Fiscal Autonomy, the OBR has revised its forecast for oil taxation revenues from £37 billion to a mere £2 billion, downgrading their previous predicition by a factor of 17.5. Which if you ask me sounds rather more like a significant blow against the prediction credibility of the OBR.
Whether Scotland can afford FFA depends in no small part on what Scotland will be spending its money on. Let’s leave aside the fact that the Unionist parties appear to believe that under FFA Scotland would still be paying a share of England only projects like the high speed railway line between London and Birmingham, London Crossrail, and the lovely new London sewer. Let’s leave aside that the financial arguments are predicated on a fiscally autonomous Scotland maintaining Tory spending plans. Let’s leave aside the unseemly pleasure they take from the supposed fact that they have left the country that they have governed for decades a helpless basketcase which can’t pay it’s own way in the world. Labour and the Tories ruled Scotland for decades, they gloat about how poor Scotland is, and then they wonder why people don’t want to vote for them. Now that’s the Unionist version of too wee too poor stupid, a special kind of small minded poverty of spirit stupid.
But that’s not what gets me. Even that heady hypocrisy is not what gets my goat and makes me hurl a shoe at the telly in a howl of helplessness. What really gets me is the Groundhog Day of it all, the never ending circularity of pointless mediocrity. The grinding round and down of the Westminster millstone on Scottish expectations. We are constantly told that we have an unsustainable deficit and Scotland’s is greater and less sustainable than most. And having produced this state of affairs the Unionists cry that this is precisely the reason why things should forever remain unchanged and the people who lumbered us with this unsustainable deficit should keep their jobs and keep producing the unsustainability. Producing unsustainability is apparently the only thing that the Unionist parties can reliably sustain.
The Unionist parties offer no way out of this cycle of despair and circle of hell. They have no small ideas, never mind big ones. There are no dreams, no plans, no proposals, not even a whiff of a suggestion. There is nothing in their box of miserabilist tricks which proposes a means of growing Scotland’s economy out of the dependency which they tell us they have created for us. There are no answers from them about our ageing population, about what to do when the oil runs out, or how to maintain our public services without the handouts they insist we need from London’s financial sector.
We’re too wee too poor and too stupid and are doomed to remain so for ever more. The Unionist parties need Scotland to remain in this lamentable state so that they can score rhetorical points off the SNP. It’s the politics of the infant school. On Thursday in the Scottish Parliament, the Labour party insisted that Scotland needs the price of oil to be US$200 million per barrel, or some such ludicrous figure. But then this is the party that told us that if they won the election they’d give Scotland 1000 more nurses than the SNP would, irrespective of how many the SNP paid for. So numeracy is clearly not their strong point.
There shouldn’t be any argument about this. Scotland has already voted in favour of full fiscal autonomy, or devo max or whatever it’s called these days. The electorate of Scotland put their crosses next to the SNP candidate. And by a peculiar quirk of fate, it’s the SNP which is the party that campaigned on a manifesto promising Scotland what the Unionist parties promised they’d give us in the frantic final days of the independence referendum.
Actually it’s not really a peculiar quirk of fate, it’s yet another consequence of the Unionist parties being lying manipulative gits who’ll promise absolutely anything and then renege on it. This is not unconnected with the reason why they got slaughtered in the election in Scotland. If they lie repeatedly about what they’re going to do in office, they can hardly complain that people in Scotland are increasingly disinclined to believe their dire warnings of full fiscal doom.
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