Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dishing the Nats

Nice that Sir Sean, that great Scottish political thinker, managed to opine, all the way from the Bahamas. Fundamental and diplomatic language (arsehole .. shits ... arse...), too, from one who believes
he has already become a roving ambassador for Scotland.

Malcolm appreciated much more the sagacity of political-editor Eddie Barnes's Insight piece and an overlapping news-item for today's Scotland on Sunday. This is a check list of the ditched (or about to be) policies of the SNP as it attempts minority government at Holyrood:
  • The referendum proposal will never get beyond a Salmond draft "white paper". Trees will die that this pointless exercise proceed directly from printer to shredder.
  • The cancellation of student debt will not happen.
  • The SNP pledge to reduce class-sizes may depend on slashing other service budgets. Wait for the screams.
  • Ditto the SNP policy to freeze council tax (and presumably thereby council budgets) for the next three years.
  • Meanwhile, the Labour Party will be reducing Salmond's room for manoeuvre by inserting popular and populist trap-doors into bills: council tax concessions for pensioners and skills and training initiatives for two examples. Can the SNP seriously block either?
  • The shift from Council Tax to local income taxes will be torpedoed by the (Westminster) Treasury's refusal of funding.
  • The SNP attempt to bleed money away from Edinburgh (by scrapping the proposed rail-link to the airport) is dead already. In fact, the SNP's assault on public transport was already vetoed by the two Green MLAs.
Which all seems like a reworking of Disraeli's recipe for "sound" government: Tartan Tory men and Lib-Lab measures.

So to Eddie Barnes's bottom line:
Indeed, the only area of promised 'consensus' which is so far emerging is over the SNP's plan to cut business rates for small firms, at a cost of £100m a year. SNP sources have already indicated that this plan might well be one of the first things they bring before the Parliament, aware that it at least has a chance of getting through. Apart from that, however, there is precious little else.
And the title of the piece says it all:
Is Alex Salmond destined to become a lame duck?

Salmond must be regretting pissing on/off the LibDems by referring to them as his "flexible friends". Barnes incorrectly links the slogan with Barclaycard: it was in fact Access, Barclaycard's main rival, that used the slogan. Or, as it quickly became known "Excess": which seems stangely appropriate for both LibDems and SNP. Sphere: Related Content

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