Carmichael: SNP’s selfishness over windfall tax shows they are not a progressive, centre-left party

Writing in The Scotsman yesterday, Alistair Carmichael said:

Kirsty Blackman MP, speaking on the BBC earlier this week, made clear the SNP’s outrage that North Sea oil and gas profits might be used to support the wrong sort of struggling family – that is, struggling families who live south of the River Tweed.

Scotland’s self-proclaimed “progressive” party of government has decided that solidarity and support for hard-up people across the country during the current crisis is a bridge too far. In doing so, the SNP have reminded us all of a fundamental truth – nationalism and progressive politics simply do not mix.

He continued:

Reasonable people can disagree about the exact level of redistribution that is fair or realistic or practical in a modern society. It is a basic principle of progressive politics, however, that sharing across our communities in order to alleviate poverty and hardship for hard-pressed families is a ‘Good Thing’.

Nationalists are perfectly entitled to disagree with that progressive principle – but if they disagree with it then they probably ought to give up the con of calling themselves progressive…

What matters to them is not the progressive ideal but the nationalist identity…

It is all the more disgusting and disheartening given that the SNP showed no qualms about taking money when it was flowing freely northward during the pandemic, and indeed stamping a saltire on it for their own ends…

The SNP were using that temporary monetary boost from the Treasury to fund their permanent campaign promises. Now the budget boost has stopped, and the Scottish Government has a looming £3.5 billion hole in its balance sheet…

The SNP pretend to be a “centre-left”, “socially democratic”, “progressive” movement. I have no doubt that many within the party, like Kirsty Blackman, truly believe that they hold those values.

But if you can look at the hardships of people across the UK in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and think that the answer is not more cooperation but less, then you have lost sight of what progressive politics is supposed to be about.

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  • Brad Barrows 4th Jun '22 - 6:18pm

    Disappointing that Alistair Carmichael things it good politics to make a comment about Scotland accepting its fair share of UK borrowing during the pandemic. As an MP from a party that believes in Federalism, he should be arguing for borrowing powers to be devolved to the Scottish government so Scotland has the ability to respond to such emergency situations itself without having to wait to see if the UK government decides to intervene to help England from which all Barnett consequentials flow.

  • I’ve never voted SNP, so I can’t be accused of any pro SNP bias when I say Mr I suppose that’s politics seen through a pro Unionist telescope for you :

    Ms Blackman said, “The SNP are sceptical of a standalone tax on one industry. The disappointment is that they’ve chosen to focus it entirely on oil and gas companies, when they could have done it on all the companies that have had super profits during the course of the pandemic.

    “Why should the Amazons and the Sercos of this world get away Scot-free?

    She continued: “The other issue with the windfall tax is that 90% of that money that has been generated is generated from income made in Scotland, and actually it feels very unfair that Scotland is having to pay for the entirety of the UK.”

  • George Thomas 4th Jun '22 - 8:33pm

    I assume Alistair Carmichael is in favour of sharing out proceeds of this tax to Ukraine, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Albania (necessary) too? And Republic of Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium and France (practical) as well?

  • David Evans 5th Jun '22 - 9:34am

    George, I would assume that one of the indirect benefits of this tax would be to enable the UK to continue to support Ukraine in repelling its Russian invaders and also thence help secure Moldova, Albania, Georgia and any other countries blessed with Russian ‘peacekeepers’. As for RoI, France, Netherlands etc, I would guess his views might well be “just as soon as they start to share their tax revenues with us and the rest of the world as well”.

  • Shock ,horror..Scottish National Party puts Scottish interests centre stage..

  • Brad Barrows 5th Jun '22 - 9:03pm

    You make a good point. An SNP MP for the oil capital of Europe speaks out about an industry that employs thousands of her constituents being singled out for extra taxes…and gets criticised by Alistair Carmichael. Strange that Alistair Carmichael didn’t also criticise then Liberal Democrat MP Malcolm Bruce when he spoke out in 2011 against plans to increase the supplementary charge on oil and gas profits from 20% to 32% that would damage the employment prospects of many of his constituents. Surely Alistair Carmichael isn’t just playing politics? (And if he is…badly.)

  • It is incredible that any politicians, Tory or SNP should be worrying about fossil fuel corporations giving up some super profits which were unexpected, which the Industry did not know what to do with (other than give to shareholder) and which would not affect investment plans.

    The Oil companies did nothing to deserve those eye watering numbers, which were due to market shocks caused by the war.

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