Taxing Scotland’s patience

Tax is the big issue in Scotland this week. The media is fixated on the tax affairs of over privileged and over paid big weans who kick baws about while ruining a good lawn in a display which is allegedly symbolic of 400 years of sectarianism. The Inland Revenue has won its tax case against Rangers, which had tried to claim that its highly paid staff were receiving loans and not wages and so income tax and national insurance were not due. The affair famously set off a chain of events that led to the dissolution of the club and its reformation in the third division, having a reformation being appropriate in the context of a fitba club that has historically seen itself as a bulwark of Protestantism. Presumably the new Rangers is exactly the same as the old Rangers in the same way that the Church of Scotland is exactly the same as the Catholic Church.

But arguments about the status of a fitba club are trivial and childish. The real scandal is that a powerful institution sought to avoid paying tax, and it’s been ruled in the wrong in the same week that the Scottish Government is being pressurised to compensate low paid workers who have lost their tax credits. If only other large companies also had to pay their fair share of tax then perhaps there would have been no cuts to tax credits for poorly paid workers in the first place. However Labour in Scotland prefers to focus its ire on the Scottish Government, and not on the Westminster Government that condones industrial scale tax avoidance. When it comes to the actions of Westminster Goverments, Labour prefers abstention. The party could have voted against austerity, but instead they abstained. Labour plays in the third division of the fantasy league of politics.

Despite the much advertised new tax powers of the Scottish Parliament, they are limited and partial. Holyrood does not have anything like the full range of tax raising powers available to Westminster, and that is quite deliberate. The new tax powers granted by Westminster are deliberately restricted to those taxes which the average punter is going to notice in their pay packet, since the average punter isn’t able to avail his or herself with a loan arrangement from a former fitba club. Westminster wants you to notice a tax increase in your pay packet, and wants you to blame it on Holyrood. Specifically, they want you to blame it on the SNP. Then Westminster can get on with the serious business of offering tax breaks, concessions, and subsidies to large businesses without troubling itself with the thought that Scotland might get sick of its charade and walk off the pitch.

Labour’s cunning plan is that they can force the SNP to take responsibility for Tory cuts. Labour doesn’t actually have any costed plans, they’re not going to say how they propose to pay for the increased expenditure required to mitigate cuts imposed by Westminster. Kezia Dugdale says that she’ll not cut Airport Passenger Duty, but that’s not going to raise any more money. She’s also planning to resist Westminster changes to tax allowances that benefit the well off, but she’s not saying how that’s going to happen with just one Labour MP from Scotland and a party that thinks resisting the Tories means sitting on their arses in a Commons bar when a vote is called.

Today the SNP announced that they’re putting forward a measure in Westminster to have all tax credits devolved to Holyrood. If Labour was sincere in its insistence that Holyrood mitigate the Tory cuts then they’d support the SNP’s motion. You already know that they won’t. Labour are only interested in point scoring. The proof lies in Kezia Dugdale’s insistence that Holyrood can start mitigating the Tory cuts in 2016 using tax powers that won’t be delivered to Holyrood until 2018. But who needs political principles when opportunism and Unionism are all you need to get you sympathetic headlines.

The truth is that if Holyrood were to mitigate every cut implemented by the Tories then Scotland would have no money left to spend on the things that hadn’t been cut. We’re left paying twice for our public services, and with EVEL we get second class MPs at Westminster to boot. This is the best of both worlds that the Better Together campaign told us about before the independence referendum. Scotland feels so appreciated and loved. Why do we need to take our own decisions when we can just keep taxing ourselves more to pay for the decisions that others have imposed upon us while we fixate on the fitba that passes for news. It’s the U-KOK way. Devolution ought to be about Scotland making its own way within the UK, not about constantly trying to repair the damage done to the vulnerable by a a shower of sociopathic bastards on expenses.

Holyrood ought to reject the new Scotland Bill. It’s unfit for the purpose it was sold to us for. The true purpose of the Scotland Bill is not to empower the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people, its true purpose is to aid the Unionist parties in their short termist politicking against the SNP. The fact that Scottish public services will get wrecked means nothing to them. They don’t care. What they do care about is preserving their own privilege and position.

It started with a vow to introduce the nearest thing to federalism possible. It was going to be Home Rule for the 21st century – a phrase that was historically understood to be dominion status for Scotland, giving us all the powers of a Canada or an Australia. Of course that was never made explicit, just implied. This conveniently allowed the Unionist to insist that they meant something else all along. Then the vow was diluted in the Smith Commission, and further diluted by the Scotland Bill. Then Westminster worried that it was still a bit meaty so watered it down some more, and rejected every amendment put forward by Scottish MPs. We were promised the whole hog roast, and we got an out of date ham sandwich that’s been screwed by Davie Cameron. It’s time Scotland relegated Westminster and started playing in a different league, Labour and the Tories have taxed our patience for far too long.


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32 comments on “Taxing Scotland’s patience

  1. […] Taxing Scotland’s patience […]

  2. George Whyte says:

    Totally agree, we should be telling Westminster to keep their Vow.

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      …or where they can put it!

      1st July 2015: ‘But despite a written complaint from the Scottish Government that proposals from Scottish MPs were being ignored, Scottish secretary David Mundell insisted that the Scotland Bill lives up to the spirit of the Smith Commission’s recommendations.’

      Hmm… so [the pre-EVEL Parliament] having voted down all the items of the Scotland Bill, the Secretary of State for the land to the north of the North in the past few days then single-handedly (on behalf of us all) realises he has to submit a few amendments to the Scotland Bill (as it no longer exists, as all voted down) …. and of course again states the etherial ‘Vow ‘ / Smith Commission etc has – he again re-assures us – after some minor pokling..(now?!) been met.

      The Vow is a fabrication and a lie and if you tell a lie often enough ‘someone’ will believe it. The Smith Commission recommendations were all voted down, as above, no doubt in coming weeks and months, we will be told, reassured, patted on the head, again and again and fed the same old tripe that …the Vow has been met, the Smith Commission has been implemented in full, that we have the most devolved Government in the world, have ‘Home Rule’ bar Defence and Foreign Affairs,.. and that pigs will fly… roll on May.

  3. Well, this is a first class effort. An accessible and humorous exposition of the current state of play that gets to the meat of the matter both literally and metaphorically. An easy read that can be readily understood by all, it is an effective antidote to the obfuscation of Dugdale and her drones. Damn pity this will not see the light of day in the MSM (ex – The National).

  4. Spot on Paul – it’s all “smoke and mirrors” from Westminster designed to baffle the public and trip up the current Scottish Government.

    Well it’s about time we picked up our “goal post” jerseys and jackets and walked away from that game.

    The Scottish Government needs to start barking – they have been far too quite, complacent and laid back to date for my liking.

    Gordon Brown’s promise of Home Rule should be put up on billboards all across Scotland with a clear simple explanation of what that means (even to the late Keir Hardie) – full autonomy except for defence and foreign affairs.

    This should be the minimum “first step” and nothing less will do.

  5. macart763M says:

    Couldn’t agree more Paul.

    As for Ms Dugdale’s cunning plan? It takes a special kind of dimness and rank cowardice to firstly propose mitigating ideologically driven cuts imposed by central government, but to claim to be able to do so from money and powers that don’t as yet exist takes the proposal to a whole new level of disingenuous mince.

    The deal with the new powers, as I understand it, is zero sum, zero detriment. In other words that the sum itself would nominally have been deemed part of the Barnett formula or Scottish budget regardless. The only difference being the power to vary the tax now would rest in Edinburgh. This isn’t new or extra cash. Its not a magical windfall or money tree. The money being cut from tax credits would still need to be found from somewhere in an ever decreasing budget and a new department created to administer what would be a top up scheme. To replace cut tax credits with a top up scheme would still require the machinery of administration and disbursement. Creation of an entire new dept at public expense for an indefinite period whilst our budget shrinks by the year.

    Is Ms Dugdale seriously considering following this road for every single cut imposed by central government on an ongoing and indefinite basis? Oh and where does the rest of the cash come from to meet Ms Dugdale’s fantasy wish list? Whose budget suffers that others benefit?

    Just so we’re clear, there is no new or extra cash from these partial powers, only responsibilities with a shit load of legal and constitutional caveats on what we can and cannot do with them.

    The budget, the formula is set to shrink yet further as austerity ideology gathers pace under Osborne, not expand and brainfarts and political point scoring exercises from Labour are not helping.

  6. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  7. Scots Wa Hey says:

    Labour are repeating the illusion that David mundell repeated 4 times at Scottish Questions today that we are being delivered “the most powerful devolved parliament in the world” this is nonsense with stilts on as some mad unionist would say is the press or media reporting this naw
    Any Spanish city has more fiscal control the Scottish parliament should refuse to accept bill and call a immediate election they won’t though and they will have walked into a huge fiscal trap designed to kill independence by impoverishing Scotland

  8. Scots Wa Hey says:

    Today at Scottish Questions David Mundell repeated the lie and a lie Labour have also been keen to spread
    That we are about to get the most devolved parliament in the world in the history of devolution presumably the Clangers are independent or it would be universe
    Press & media seem to be unquestioning a panal base poll after Smith showed even those who had voted tory wanted full fiscal control by 60% the Scottish government should reject the Scotland bill and immediately call a election and use that mandate
    They won’t
    This bill is a huge fiscal trap designed to impoverish Scotland and kill support for independence

  9. Saor Alba says:

    A parcel of rogues……………

  10. David Agnew says:

    I agree with you WGD – Scottish labour are simply seeking another point scoring jibe at the SNP. But this time they playing with people hopes. They promising something they cannot deliver in 2016. A complete reversal of Osbornes cuts to tax credits. Lallands Peat worrier has written two very good articles on this, and I suggest folk go check them out.

    As it stands Holyrood has no power to reverse any of Osbornes cuts. It can fiddle around the edges but it can make so substantive changes to Westminster policy. It will be 2018 before the Scotland Bill becomes the Scotland Act. Until then labour and indeed the SNP can do nothing but fiddle around the edges. By 2018 it would still take time to enlarge Revenue Scotland’s role (its principle duty is related to the collection of Land and Building tax) to take on its (as yet not defined) new duties under the new Scotland Act. Even then…it would still take a couple years before it even begin to send out tax credit cheques. We’re looking at something that couldn’t get running until 2020, possibly longer.

    But labour are claiming that they can do this now. That is what’s so wretched about this affair. Hell they are claiming that not cutting APD gives them extra money and that a tax on high earners, estimated by the IFS as being somewhere in the region of 8.5 million pounds, will bring in 100 – 250 million pounds depending on which Slab zoomer you talk to.

    The SNP appear to have decided to combat Dugdale’s stupidity by asking for full autonomy over these powers from Westminster. This will put Scottish labour on the back foot – it also counters the narrative from Scottish labour that something can be done now. Can Dugdale convince UK labour to support the measure or will it vote it down. Queue the usual backsliding nonsense about how abstaining is really opposing.

    You just know that Scottish labour will both attack it and then defend it, having lost the ability to understand position politics when it voted against free school meals for kids.

    Meanwhile the Daily Record is desperate for the SNP to take responsibility for the vow.

    Pardon my language – but Fuck Scottish Labour.

  11. Jan Cowan says:

    I’m sick of hearing about Kezia Dugdale and her friend Mundell. I long for the day when our worthwhile Scottish politicians leave London behind, come home and help to run Scotland from Edinburgh.

    Paul, I have never liked ham but your ham sandwich would make short work of any appetite!
    An apt description, however, of a filthy lot.

  12. Liz S says:

    Talk is cheap , more so where Slab are concerned, it is putting into practice credible and workable policies and ideas where credit is then due.

    Unfortunately Slab are in the position where they can spout any old shit ,especially in the form of unworkable policies , which they think will be deemed popular policies with the voter and gain votes next May.

    Keiza however is very good at scoring an own goal and then she finds herself in the dug out on many occasions , I use as one example her impromptu comments re ‘Carping on the sidelines’ re Corbyn being elected leader of Labour and then her having to change sides when he won.

    A wise politician would have held their tongue for fear that they may have to eat their words and justify those very negative comments in the event that….that very person may win. But Keiza wants us , the Scots to believe in Corbyn even though she saw his leadership as meaning Labour being unelectable with him as leader……where I wonder would people think he was unelectable?….why I do believe she was meaning in England…oops sorry BT meant UK. Are we to be thought of as so thick in Scotland that we would just sweep under the carpet her comments on Corbyn pre his election .

    Are we the Scots also supposed to forget the BT campaign, EVEL ( which Labour helped pave the way for the Tories to introduce post referendum ), The (Non ) Vow , the farce of a Labour Leader campaign with so much wrath against Corbyn by his own party , Jim Murphy , Labour MP’s abstaining in WM re austerity cuts ( not all but majority did ) , Keiza Dugdale’s unbearable unbroken voice ( when will her voice break so that she sounds like a grown up and not a wee lassie ), pretendy anti Trident vote, Lunatic Labour Twits on Twitter who obsess over SNP daily , I also heard , though perhaps someone else could confirm , of Lord George Robertson voting in Lords with the Tories on Tax Credit cuts .( Actually the list would be of War and Peace size I think).

    Independence is what 45% of scots voted for in the referendum and I hope more have now seen the light since then. Autonomy is a word but it is not a word I associate with real power or being independent from the clutches of WM.

    So Keiza you can stick your autonomy for it is lost in translation to me in reference to Slab being anything other than a sub division of Head office Labour. I also am filled with dread at there being any prospect of you being FM as you are to politics what the use of a monocle is to a monkey.

  13. J Galt says:

    Dominion Status?

    Why not hold a referendum asking the Scottish people to authorise the Scottish Govt. to negotiate Dominion Status for Scotland?

    Thats not a referendum on “Independence” – although in the long run that’s exactly whats happened for Canada etc – a long game perhaps, but one worth considering.

    Perhaps “Dominion Status” could be portrayed as keeping enough Royals/British/Churchill Dunkirk Spirit Shite to sway enough of the unionist eejits?


  14. punklin says:

    DUGdale in the DUG-out? I think the real dug should sue!

    • Jan Cowan says:

      Macart, the lack of good manners and courtesy in that place is appalling. Our SNP members show the mob how MPs ought to behave. We must soon release them from the company of that unsavoury horde since it’s clear that WM HoC is no place for decent people.

      • macart763 says:

        Its grim viewing at the best of times Jan, but now? Now its an example of how we are regarded in this ‘greatest family’.

        Post the link wherever you can and let folks see just how Westminster views and conducts itself in Scottish affairs.

        • Jan Cowan says:

          Just read the WoS article. Words fail me…… except to say that thankfully, Macart, we have excellent people leading the way – your good self included.

        • JEEZUZ! Watching that brought out a side of me that I really don’t like…

          • macart763 says:

            I hear that.

            I’ve watched a few over the years and the odd telly remote has suffered, but of recent times the enmity from those benches has been ramped up considerably. They are out to punish Scotland and its representatives. They didn’t like the fright we gave them and they don’t like the fact we haven’t climbed back in our shortbread tin.

            So much for rewarding those who voted to retain a political union (shrugs).

            Spread that link wherever you can Max.

  15. jdman says:

    ” We were promised the whole hog roast, and we got an out of date ham sandwich that’s been screwed by Davie Cameron.”

    Uuuurrrppp grewwwww boak
    I thought that was salad cream

  16. jdman says:

    That twert didnt work for Macdonalds by any chance?

  17. hektorsmum says:

    Thanks for that Paul, I too think that the Scottish Parliament should vote down these so called powers.
    Last year I read a piece on Newsnet by Lesley Riddoch where she rightly said that whether you see the Scottish Governing Body as a Parliament and as such a Government, it still is only an Administration, so within the narrow confines designed by “Labour”the Scottish Government still only administer this country for which ever Government is in Westminster, even to the point of ameliorating some of their policy decisions. Labour really are beyond the pale for me.

  18. Can we print this off and put through doors please??? It so explains in laymans term the two-faced, ridiculous utterings of (S)Lab!!!!

  19. macart763 says:

    Another wee link worth spreading folks.

    This ones a keeper for bookmarks by the by.

  20. Jan Cowan says:

    A link well worth spreading!

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