UK stance has parallels for Scotland

Following Prime Minister David Cameron’s action on vetoing a new European Union treaty, it is too early to forecast where events will take us, but we are entitled to speculate on the comparisons that can be made of the similarities that exist with the UK’s constitutional situation vis-à-vis the EU, and with Scotland’s position in the UK.

While the EU with its proscriptions (which we entered into with open eyes) is seen as a constraint to the governance of the UK on our own terms, a similar constitutional situation has existed, and is developing, regarding the governance of Scotland within the UK, again, on our terms. It is absurd that the UK and Scotland are expected to rejoice when being “granted” specific funding from the EU and the UK respectively, when the sources of the funding are our own tax proceeds raised here.

Independence for Scotland may not be achieved; after all, it has the support in opinion polls of only about 30 per cent. But what is essential is Holyrood having full fiscal powers. Experts state regularly that what Scotland (Holyrood) spends it should raise through its own taxation, but we already do.

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All of our major taxation elements are shipped off to the UK Exchequer, and we have the “grace and favour” block grant in return. The distinction is that we do not apply the rates of taxation, and keep them here.

The Calman proposal on income tax, whereby we take responsibility for 10p – half the standard rate – and the proceeds of £4 billion, is fatuous. It is imagined that we could raise or reduce the 10p rate, but we would be precluded from reducing the tax without having the power to retain the periphery taxes, such as VAT, that could be generated as a consequence. My guess is that Calman will fall by the wayside.

There are echoes of hypocrisy in the rhetoric of unionist coalition Westminster government politicians against constraints from the EU, yet they pour scorn upon the Scots for wishing to adopt the relatively simple constitutionally sound, but essential, powers that we seek for the proper conduct of our economy.

David Cameron could be forced to call a Westminster general election on the EU. Wouldn’t it be ironic were that to render a Scottish referendum irrelevant, by deciding also the issues of our independence or dev-max, which, they never stop telling us, are matters reserved to Westminster?


Thomson Crescent

Currie, Midlothian