The recent pronouncements about tax changes following a No vote in the referendum have been the first occasion in a bungled campaign on which I might be persuaded to change from a Yes.
David Cameron’s mistake was to agree with the SNP to exclude the devo-max option from the referendum. The majority in favour of devo-max have been driven by the negative and undermining campaigning into considering a Yes vote.
However, the negativity has removed any trust from the Better Together folk, even with a mention in the Queen’s Speech.
The only thing that would change my vote is legislation to change the tax collection for the Scottish Parliament enacted before the vote in September
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is in a position to influence the speedy passage of the necessary legislation and it might convince his electorate that he is worth keeping in 2015. There is no need of a sophisticated poll to realise his seat is at risk.
His constituency contains voters who have experienced a four-party marginal, seen off two Cabinet ministers and dashed the dreams of an MEP because they wanted him to stay in Westminster.
Teuchters they may be – but not numpties!
North Kessock, Ross-shire
Mike Russell, the education secretary, wants more money for the SNP’s flagship childcare policy. Alex Neil, Cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing, wants to train more doctors, presumably paying no fees. Is this affordable?
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that despite Scotland’s greater tax take per person it will not be possible to fund all the SNP’s promises.
Maybe Switzerland has some pointers. The Swiss government wanted to buy 22 expensive Saab Gripen fighters to replace its ageing F5s.
On 18 May, the Swiss public, in one of their famed referendums, voted the project down because it would have involved cuts in other areas, notably education.
The IFS is right: an independent Scotland will not be able to afford everything. Choices will have to be made, just like in Switzerland, even though they are among the richest in the world.
Of course the Swiss have not fought a war with another country for 200 years so maybe they can manage with their old F5s and no Trident.
West Acres Drive
Once again, the SNP’s “Project Denial” leaps into action. This time the separatists are denying the credibility of the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculations which found that – based on reasonable assumptions and using the latest figures produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility – Scotland’s deficit would be “unsustainable and worse than previous estimates”.
This is despite the figures being in line with those produced by Citigroup and the Centre for Public Policy for Regions.
As part of its analysis the IFS points out the gaping hole in the SNP’s white paper where the money raised from the tax-raising measures and spending cuts are significantly less than the money required for spending increases and tax cuts.
The SNP insists its own estimates are better based on its non-independent future assumption.
Is there no end to its delusions?
In particular, I understand one of its main assumptions is to assume growth in an independent Scotland would be 0.3 per cent greater than that in rUK.
In addition to over-optimistic assessments of revenue from oil, that assumption, which appears to underpin its calculations of how an independent Scotland will be economically better off in the long term, is simply pie in the sky.
However, the SNP can easily prove the IFS wrong by accepting its estimates but increasing the extra growth percentage in order to balance the books.
We are being asked to take a huge gamble on our future on SNP estimates which lack any form of credibility.
I accept that for those who will vote for independence regardless, this is a risk worth taking but anyone considering the figures dispassionately will not be persuaded.
Braid Farm Road
What a wonderful place an independent Scotland will be under the SNP. Pensions will be increased and paid earlier than in rUK while companies will always pay less corporation tax than those south of the Border.
The latest announcement is that the minimum wage will be increased by a large amount, as will benefits.
What is more, those benefits will be subject to less checks on eligibility – truly utopian, especially as the Scottish Government has guaranteed that the taxpayers of rUK will guarantee all of this bribery through a formal currency union.
Every pronouncement of yet another give away by the Yes campaign makes the chances of closer co-operation by rUK less rather than more likely should Scotland vote for independence as those south of the Border are not likely to be turkeys voting for a Scottish Christmas of massive welfare spending that can only be funded by either large tax increases on the working Scottish population or by, as the SNP seems to hope, the population of rUK being forced to back such spending out of general taxation.
Scotland would be a foreign country so why should the rUK population support such reckless spending?
(Dr) Roger I Cartwright