Tag Archives: snp

LibLink: Willie Rennie: SNP obduracy on using tax powers shows party is no champion of progressive politi

Willie Rennie’s ambition for better education and health services in Scotland has been clear and so has his ambition to use the tax raising powers given to the Scottish Parliament. His plan for a penny on income tax for an almost half billion investment in education to introduce the Pupil Premium, extend nursery education and reverse cuts to college and schools funding.

The SNP, having squealed blue murder for years about not having enough powers to do anything, fails to use them when they are given them.

Willie often says these days that the SNP “talk left and walk right” and he has written a damning critique of the SNP’s approach in the Herald.

As it was a Liberal Democrat Secretary of State who delivered these new tax powers, it is perhaps not surprising that we were the first to propose using them to transform education in Scotland. By putting a penny for education onto income tax bands, we would raise £475 million a year.

Willie’s proposals have brought outrage from SNP and Tories alike. Finance Minister John Swinney said he would rather sacrifice public sector jobs (which in turn affects the most vulnerable) than raise tax rates. The Resolution Foundation says a tax rise is progressive. Willie challenges the SNP:

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Yes campaigner who said No voters were bad parents announced as SNP list candidate for Holyrood election

Lloyd Quinan was an SNP MSP from 1999-2003. Since then, he’s left the SNP, flirted with the Socialists and caused controversy during last year’s independence referendum when he said that No voters were bad parents. From the Huffington Post:

Lloyd Quinan, who served as a MSP between 1999 and 2003 told a meeting in North Berwick on 9 June that the Scottish people “have an opportunity to change the lives and life chances of our children for he future”.

He added: “I will be partisan about it, if you vote ‘No’ you leave them with more of the same, then you’re a bad parent.”

Quinan quit the SNP after losing his seat in the Scottish parliament and was then briefly a member of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), before quitting that party too in 2005.

A spokesperson for Alex Salmond told The Herald: “Abuse has no place in the referendum campaign, whether from Yes or No supporters. Lloyd Quinan is not a member of the SNP – and indeed hasn’t been for over a decade.”

Note how quick the SNP were to distance themselves from him.  Nothing to do with us, they said.

Except, just 14 months later, he has gained approval as a parliamentary candidate for the SNP for next year’s Holyrood elections. So, they are quite happy to put up someone in my region who thinks that I and the majority of people who voted against independence are bad parents. Ok, so he’s 9th on the list so he has virtually no chance of getting elected, but that’s not the point. It’s his acceptance into the fold so soon after he expressed those views. We can’t even put that down to local mavericks. We know that the SNP has a deeply centralising candidate approval system. Remember when they rejected Craig Murray for being too much of a free spirit? They must have known of his comments yet chose to approve him anyway. 

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A trio of embarrassments for the SNP

This week has not been a good one for Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson. For the third week running, the Sunday Times has reported on property transactions which are now being investigated by the Police. The solicitor who acted for Michelle Thomson’s company in many of these transactions was struck off last year. You can read the whole judgement in that matter here. It is also worth reading Labour blogger and solicitor Ian Smart’s commentary on the allegations contained within it.

Today’s paper highlights (£) a couple who had to sell their house after the husband was diagnosed with a bowel tumour which left him unable to work.

The inquiry is now likely to look into a transaction in 2009 that is unrelated to Hales. It involved a property firm linked to Michelle Thomson that arranged for her husband Peter to buy a flat in Edinburgh.

The sellers, Garry and Sandra Kelly, claim £32,000 was deducted from the purchase price of £105,000 to pay off a loan they say they never had. On Friday, this newspaper alerted Police Scotland’s financial crime unit to the transaction.

The transactions are now under police investigation and, earlier this week, Thomson stepped down from her role as the SNP’s business spokesperson and temporarily resigned from the whip. However, it appears that even if there were no illegality, the accounts from the people whose houses were bought by her company are damaging on their own. From today’s Sunday Mail:

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Does Scotland need Home Rule, or just to use the powers it has?

Siobhan Mathers, Scottish Liberal Democrat activist, former (and, I hope, future) parliamentary candidate and policy convener argues in today’s Sunday Times (£) that it’s time that Scotland got a full home rule settlement. She sets out what she means by that:

I will use the fiscal definition that Scotland under home rule should raise what it spends — self-sufficiency — and the sovereignty-focused philosophical definition of Steel: “The principle of home rule is different from devolution. Under home rule, sovereignty lies with the Scottish people and we decide when it is sensible to give powers to the centre on issues like foreign affairs and defence.”

She says that there is no point waiting for the UK to sort out a federal structure for itself because it’s just not going to happen any time soon and that it’s in Scotland’s “enlightened self interest” to pursue full home rule to see off the demand for independence:

It strikes me as an act of misguided altruism to wait for the constitutional laggards, our bedfellows in the UK. Yes, it would be nice to help sort everyone else’s problems in how they relate to the constitutional parents in London, but it is not a priority for many.

During an air emergency, passengers are advised to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. I would argue that Scotland’s relationship with Westminster is at such an emergency point and we need to pursue enlightened self-interest by focusing on our own problems first.

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Do not abandon us

 

Of the three Unionist parties, it has fallen to the Liberal Democrats to save encircled Scots fending off the militant hard leftists of the SNP frontline infantry. The Conservative and Unionist Party is useless in Scotland, and the once-paternal Labour Party has gone from noble guardian angel to patronising champagne socialist to near-death this May. Unionists have a ramshackle current incarnation: one MP per Unionist Party. SNP high command could not have believed their luck in May by not getting the grand slam all Scottish seats landslide; with three MPs, one from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, the “bad things come in sets of three” mantra writes itself. The plan now must be to prove that the Union cannot work. “Look, the only three Unionists cannot even work together, they’re so tribal,” the SNP will no doubt say in the coming months. Political POWs actually make for better propaganda than a full landslide massacre.

The Liberal Democrats are now destined for a faceoff with the SNP. The Tories had ruined themselves in Scotland years ago. Labour morphed into the “Red Tory” Party. Now, the Liberal Democrats are the only brand left.

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SNP Scottish Parliament selections – 2 MSPs deselected so far as Salmond endorses one challenger

The SNP is currently choosing its candidates for the Scottish Parliament. Like the Liberal Democrats, they allow challenges of sitting parliamentarians. Two MSPs have been deselected so far. Of greatest interest to Liberal Democrat fortunes is the deselection of Colin Keir in Edinburgh Western. The seat will now be fought by Toni Giulani who had the backing of former SNP leader and first minister Alex Salmond. In our party it would simply not be permitted for a senior, powerful party figure to take such an influential public stance in a selection.

SNP parliamentarians already have a fairly draconian disciplinary code to obey. They are not allowed to publicly criticise any decisions of the group and have had very few rebels in parliamentary votes. Their MSPs are, on the whole, pretty compliant. When two of them voted against the party’s new position on NATO in a vote at their conference, they resigned from the party. It now seems that if their faces don’t fit, key players will contribute to your demise.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is our candidate in Edinburgh Western. He also tops the party’s Lothian regional list. Although we lost Mike Crockart in Edinburgh West in May, the SNP’s margin of victory was comparatively small, our West campaign organisation is pretty strong and the SNP have given up any benefits of incumbency. 

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How to Beat the SNP

 

I don’t know when the SNP will be toppled, but I am confident it will happen eventually. I also seriously doubt people will flock en masse back to Labour, a party that took Scotland for granted for years and, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve the return of unwavering support. There will be a gap that we could perceivably fill, but we have to earn the right of that space, not make Labour’s mistake of taking it as a given.

Here are some things I have been trying to keep in mind over the past few months talking to SNP voters:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 71 Comments
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  • User AvatarBarry Snelson 11th Feb - 7:05pm
    I do love LibDemVoice and take off my hat to those who make it such an enjoyable read but it does seem fond of tax...
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    "Peter Parsons, I thank you for coming on and explaining the doctor’s case. I want junior doctors to be paid more, I’m just not comfortable...
  • User AvatarRoland 11th Feb - 6:29pm
    I also would like to congratulate Paul Strasburger, both on his committee work and on his articles for various IT community publications, that attempted to...
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    RC-foreign countries must be buying government bonds to provide the flow of foreign currency to finance our excess expenditure on foreign goods. RC-what effect would...
  • User AvatarKenneth Carr 11th Feb - 6:11pm
    And yet, only last year.. http://www.libdemvoice.org/new-campaign-poster-highlights-tax-cut-45312.html Or perhaps tax cuts and tax rises are both progressive?
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