Tuesday, 2 February 2016

To 'p' or not to 'p'; a laborious question.

Owen Jones in today's Gruniad is monstering the SNP with Labour's Scotch wheeze of sticking 1p on income tax in Scotland once the super-duper, 'Vow plus' (with extra knobs on) becomes law.

Owen clearly was given advanced notice of the script for Ms Dugdale's appearance on BBC Radio to sell this great wheeze of making Scots pay even more to be part of the UK Union than we already do and is trying his best to flog this newly dead horse as 'more socialist than the SNP' and a 'potential game changer'.

He trots out the usual Labour lies about FE student numbers in Scotland falling, council tax freeze being a disaster and anti democratic while waving a few shrouds and ghostly chains painted on bits of old canvas in the hopes we do not notice how vacuous his claims are.

The comments below his article are full of Scots pointing out that the 1p tax dead horse was first buried in 2010 and its exhumation by Labour this week has done little to improve its smell or flavour. It was  not viable when the SNP first proposed the idea six years ago and is even less viable in an economic environment of UK Union austerity. Given the fiscal failings of Labour when in power at Holyrood and their continued failings as the party of local government just what sort Scot would trust Labour's Scotch melange with a bottle top, let alone more taxpayer's money to pish up against the wall. 

While the UK Unionist parties still hold sway in COSLA, the winds of change are putting many of their councilors coats on multiple shoogly pegs. Their wheeze to sway the masses to the undemocratic nature of the SNP's council tax freeze has only revealed how much better off Scottish Councils, in terms of real funding, are compared to their English counterparts. Mr Swinney is right to ring fence additional funding with some golden hand cuffs because many council taxpayers are too well aware how money for services disappears, only to reappear in a councilor's pet project. 

When you take a long hard look at the COSLA members doing most of the 'its no fair' flag waving, they are all Labour run, have run up massive PFI liabilities on education and other public infrastructures sites while routinely have adverse reports made about their councils and associated Aleo's fiscal management and accountability by Audit Scotland.

Unsurprisingly the leader of Moray Council's claim the council was going to unilaterally raise its council tax by 18% lasted as long as expected, the next full council meeting when a number of councilors suggested they would prefer not to be picking up P45's in May 2017 if they could avoid it. The illogical position the Unionist run councils are placing themselves is as follows:
  • Their UK parties voted at Westminster for cuts to public funding
  • As a result of 'Barnet consequentials' this means funding for Scotland's councils was also cut as part of the Scottish settlement from the UK Treasury
  • Mr Swinney is offering them extra money to support education, welfare and care to alleviate the worst impact of these Westminster imposed cuts but the money can only be spent on education, welfare and care
  • Refusing to co-operate with Mr Swinney means these councils are deliberately acting in a manner to reduce education, welfare and care provision in their council areas which is not in the best interests of the council taxpayers, vulnerable, children or disabled given the attacks being made on the poorest by the punitive DWP sanctions regime
  • This is, according to the UK Unionists and their tame media monkeys - like Mr Owen, all the SNP's fault despite all the fiscal and practical evidence being to the contrary. Mr Swinney can only spend the money given him by the UK Treasury, an amount decided by the UK Parliament at Westminster.
  • Raising Scottish income tax by 1p simply means less money from the UK Treasury and even if HMRC could organise a piss up in a brewery, less money than claimed would be raised for Scotland because HMRC will want to take a 20% cut of this new 'Scotch Tax' income to cover their increased 'administration costs'.
So for any number of reasons Keiza's latest big idea is as brain dead as everything else we have heard from COSLA, Labour and their media chums over the last week. The UK Parliamentary albatross hangs forlornly around her neck but, unlike the ancient mariner, nobody is stopping much to hear her tale or sympathise with her plight, as the dead hand of Labour dominated COSLA pulls her ever further out of her depth.

We know she is drowning but all we can do is shake our head, smile and wave because there is no helping the self afflicted.


  1. That's the best summation, of Labours current balls up, I've read to date.

  2. Excellent points you make. Many just do not get the whole Barnett formula thing at all, if tehy even know what it is and some I have spoken to do not know what it is even though they live in Scotland. It's very useful for UKok to have people not knowing about how their country is being shafted big style, of course.