Fiscal autonomy

I must take issue with Peter Jones’s utterly mischievous suggestion that the SNP leadership ought to abandon its commitment to the eventual achievement of “full fiscal autonomy” owing to a possible shortfall in Scotland’s finances in the immediate future (Perspective, 14 April).

He must know very well that no SNP leader can simply abandon that policy since it would be tantamount to a recognition on their part that Scotland can never be an independent state as “full fiscal autonomy” is an essential prerequisite for genuine political independence, the party’s fundamental constitutional objective.

Of course he is perfectly entitled to express this view if it is indeed his personal opinion, but he should not expect the SNP – the party of independence – to share it, especially as it seems to be a dismal echo of a central theme of the No campaign in last year’s referendum, namely that Scotland is “too wee and too poor” to even dare to think that its parliament might ever be capable of managing its own tax revenues.

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What? All of them? Yes!

In any event, his crocodile tears about the possible problems a fiscally autonomous Scotland might face are hopelessly premature since none of the Westminster-controlled unionist parties competing in this general election have shown the slightest interest in offering Holyrood such extended fiscal powers.

Perhaps on some future occasion Mr Jones might consider writing another erudite article probing their curious reluctance in this regard.

After all, if the declining oil revenues are a problem which the UK Treasury can do without, why not hand them over to John Swinney right away and be done with them? Problem solved.


Clarence Drive


Stan Hogarth (Letters, 15 April) seems to subscribe to the dictum that people will believe any fiction if it is repeated often enough. In this case the fiction is that a vote for the SNP is a vote for full fiscal autonomy (FFA).

The reality is that FFA is a complete non-issue at this election.

Given that FFA is trenchantly opposed by the Labour Party (the only major UK party with which the SNP would do business) there clearly isn’t the remotest possibility of it being implemented by the next UK parliament unless Labour does a totally incredible U-turn on the issue.

Mr Hogarth may well have valid reasons to vote against the SNP but FFA is patently not one of them.

Colin Weatherley


East Lothian