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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, August 02, 2010

...I wouldn't start from here

John Swinney might be absolutely right to claim that his economic policies would have started from a different place, had he had his way.

He may very well be justified in his view that this justifies the claim that Scotland needs more economic powers; but he hasn't made the case. Indeed, if anything, he has made the contrary case.

The proof of the skill and ability of a Government is not how they handle the good times, but how they handle the bad times. And specifically how they deal with huge challenges.

We have a economic situation where income is dropping and expenditure increasing. Transfer that to your domestic situation and the two choices we are being presented with are: cut spending - fewer meals out, downsize the car - and try to find another source of income (Westminster), or, trim spending a bit and re-mortgage the house to fund your lifestyle (Holyrood).

As the Holyrood option is actually outwith their powers, it's not a starter, nor does it make any sense as a viable long term solution.

If Swinney can manage the cuts in a professional manner, then he will make the case for greater trust in the economic abilities of the SNP, but if he misjudges it, then it will backfire badly.

In the later case, then just who do the disillusioned vote for at the next election?

We are facing a dismantling of some of the padding and excesses of the past 10 years, as well as the reversal of some key policies - when introduced, I warned that a Council Tax Freeze was far too expensive to maintain - and many aspirations.

My contacts tell me that everything is on the table, and nothing is being ruled in or out at present, despite public statements to the contrary, as there is a fear that the cuts passed on by Westminster may actually be much more severe than those already discussed.

But the canny politicians are already working out which cuts they can hold over to the other side of the election (and bequeath to the opposition?), and which they need to avoid to keep the votes.

RET is going to be a hard subsidy to justify...


Anonymous said...

The ministers were supposed to be meeting last week about RET as the timetable (and fares) are about to be published for next year.

Anonymous said...

Every other island group in Europe (including Shetland and Orkney!!) has a residents discount for ferry fares. Surely that is the future for the islands. Maybe when the economic situation recovers we can try again for a broader discount but meanwhile lets make sure at least the locals get the benefit.

Anonymous said...

Frankly on Barra it hardly makes any difference as the RET fare is only 20p less than the previous 6-journey. So all that has happened is that the tourists now get the same rate as regular users.