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Give Salmond his moment

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Why are other parties shying away from asking the public about Scottish Independence?

OK, let me lay my cards on the table, I do not support full independence for Scotland, I support the Union, I don’t wish to see these islands broken up into their constituent parts. However that does not prevent me from supporting the SNPs Leader and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond from asking the people for their thoughts in an ‘advisory’ referendum. At least, unlike both Labour and Conservatives, he appears genuine in his wish to carry out a manifesto commitment (remember Lisbon anyone?).

I am in complete agreement with both Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale on this one, it represents localism at it’s best, is not binding, and will more than likely lead to politicians listening rather than saying. The likelihood, also, is that the Scottish people will not vote for complete independence and that would deal a serious blow to the SNP’s hopes at the next election for a Scottish Parliament. Just what the other main parties are dragging their heels about is quite beyond me, have the debate now and get the question out of the way, it might dispose of the main plank in Salmond’s platform!

Guido, of course takes the admirable libertarian position of devolving more and more power and decision making capabilities further down into local communities, what he does not articulate, of course is how a largely independent Scotland would affect The House of Commons. It might be a monumental struggle for Labour to ever form a government again without the ranks of their Scottish members sitting in London! (Probably as a good a reason as any for the Labour Party to oppose a referendum over independence, but the Tories current position is perplexing to say the least.)

Boris Johnson, The Conservative Mayor of London marks St. Andrew’s Day by announcing that the Scottish Saltyre proudly flies outside of City Hall (and London is even being asked to create it’s own tartan) as he makes an excellent plea for a total renogiation of the Barnett Formula:

This system is the subject of all sorts of Scot-bashing polemics, but seems unlikely to be fundamentally reformed because, after all, we have a Union and it is right that the richer parts of that Union should help the poorer parts. The real question, and the one on which I would like our beloved Scottish Prime Minister and Chancellor to focus, is how come we can afford to pay the Barnett formula? Where does the money come from?

I will tell you. It comes from London. There are only three regions of the UK that make a profit, in the sense of contributing more to the Treasury than they receive in spending, and they are London, the South East, and the East; and London is the powerhouse that drives the other two, with a net tax export estimated at £19 billion per year.

Perhaps by allowing the people of Scotland their referendum on independence we could then have a balanced debate about the necessary redistribution of fiscal resources and investment that Boris is looking for in the capital, and perhaps find a little more cash for the north-east!

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Written by curly

November 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

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