That’ll Show ‘Em!

Wembley 77The Scotland Bill is is being pushed through parliament before the summer recess because no one actually takes it or Scotland seriously.  Peter Arnott explains.

Sometime in the early eighties, Scottish Football Supporters decided to be nice. In an era of testosterone and alcohol fuelled competition between footballing nations as to who could wreck the most pavement cafes, Scottish Football Supporters went all post-modern and dressed up as themselves in ginger wigs. “We’re the FUN country,” they seemed to say, improbably. “We don’t think we’re going to win anything, but if we do we’ll be really happy. of course. But we won’t hospitalise your policemen. Love us. Love our kilts.”

But let’s be honest, it wasn’t just the inherent benefits of popularity that accrued to being a cartoon that we embraced. A national healing was required. I mean, look what had happened to us last time we thought we were any good! We came, we saw, and we got cuffed three-one by Peru. And let’s be even MORE honest, we (or some of us) had made the imperialist mistake of thinking that just because we didn’t KNOW anything about Peru, that we didn’t have to take them seriously. (At least, I didn’t. I didn’t know anything…but I do remember the sense of shock, of disappointed entitlement.) I don’t think it occurred to Scotland fans to be so calculating as to think through the strategy of niceness to the point of articulating the expectation that other people, even policemen, would be friendly in return.

So are Scotland fans…Scottish people…inherently nicer, funnier, and friendlier than other people? Heavens no! I think Scottish football supporters put the bunnets on to piss off the English football supporters…to mock them for taking themselves so SERIOUSLY! It turning out to be a good thing in itself to be nice to people was just a bonus.

We had the cartoon impression, back then, that every time England failed to win the World or European football competitions, a bi-annual shock of shame and disbelief ran through the nation. “We invented football. We won the war. What’s gone wrong with the universe?” Jimmy Hill seemed to say, as another bit of Belgium got all its windows broken. Now there had been a time, not long before, when the fact that Scotland really were quite good in the seventies had tempted Arthur “Disaster for Scotland” Montford and Scotland fans in a similar direction…though we were more apt to trash stuff if we’d WON.

So I think, in our complicated way, we decided to break the rules of masculinity not out of some intrinsic collective moral worth, but from the somewhat more unworthy emotional territory of “That’ll Show Them!” I think that is exactly the spirit we should be exhibiting today when it comes to income tax and the rules of politics.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A TRAP YOU CAN’T AVOID? YOU JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET.

It will become very clear next week that the Scotland Bill, in its committee stage, has only coincidently got anything to do with the good governance of Scotland or the UK as a whole. It is being pushed through parliament before the summer recess because no one actually takes it or Scotland seriously.

After all, 56 seats out of 59 is impressive. 56 out of 650 is sod all. The bill is going through now to “keep the vow” (yawn) but mainly to get it and Scotland out of way till September and the serious business of the European referendum will get going and the Labour Party elects Huey, Dewey or Lewey to carry on the onward march to oblivion. The raw parliamentary arithmetic overcomes the evident absurdity of Ian Murray on his tod “leading the opposition” to a bill he sort of supports, while the Tories are constrained to field David Mundell to lead on legislation that they wouldn’t give to a serious player even if a serious player were available.

Like football, legislation is only sort of about government. It is also used to embarrass the other guy. It is already very clear that the other guy, in this case, is not “Her Majesty’s Opposition” , it is those cute but inexplicable other people who have turned up when nobody wanted them. Next week, I promise, the amount of attention paid to the actual provisions of the hastily concocted sausage of the Scotland Bill will be heavily outweighed by its political purpose, which is, of course, as a trap for the SNP. Never will the word “progressive” have been sneered so often and superciliously as a taunt. “You people think you’re so NICE, “ will be the gist of it. “Go on, then, put your taxes up the month before the Holyrood election. Go on. Go on.”

Guess what. I think that’s exactly what the SNP should do. It is absolutely no accident that income tax is the only substantive money raiser on the table with the Scotland Bill. We are being “given” that power BECAUSE political wisdom says it’s unusable. It is no accident that George Osborne will ram through cuts to the Scottish budget which could be mitigated by raising Income Tax in Scotland by a penny in the pound. Make no mistake. We are being “dared.”

And I say “we” because this is not a matter of the managerial tactics of the SNP being tested. This is about the central assertion of cultural distinction that we in the whole Yes campaign kept going on about…that we voted for in the General Election. The Tories, with Labour, in apparent consensus with them that talking about Poor People at all is deeply wrong-headed and something they’ll never to again, are now daring the SNP to what they would never do, or dare to do themselves –to run the next Holyrood election on a promise to raise personal taxation in a way that the electorate might notice. To do what nobody has done since the seventies…which is the last time that an appeal to the collective good was deemed to have been anything other than laughable. “Put your money where your principles are…” is what they’re saying to us, never dreaming…never dreaming that we’ll say “fine.” Just to show them.

We have been accused of nostalgia for the good old days of the binary choice between Yes and No. Well guess what? Here it comes again. And I know it’s symbolic, I know perfectly well that a lot more financial and political levers are required to fix our economy for the benefit of everyone who lives here are required than a “Penny for Scotland.” But I would argue that despite the understandable reluctance of John Swinney et al to repeat a campaign that failed before, or to go against all political wisdom, the best response to being set a trap that you can’t avoid…especially when to avoid it, to defer the cuts till the next financial year would achieve nothing and get you nowhere..is to jump onto the trap with both feet.

(We’ll get to “Full Fiscal Autonomy” later. That will take an even deeper breath. And political courage and straight-forwardness from the SNP that, despite their bestriding the world at the moment, they haven’t exactly exemplified. What better chance than this to do better.)

But this is where you come in. This isn’t just about what “they” should do. It’s about what “we” should do. The strength of the Yes movement last year was the pepper that was put into the campaign by the involvement and invention of those from outside of the political box. It’s another of the benefits to democracy we keep going on about. Well, I think a positive popular demand to voluntarily raise our own taxes, to INSIST to our representatives that they raise our taxes…has again got to come from the counterintuitive place of the electorate in itself, as such, in the spirit of the Scotland Football Supporters who put on those kilts and bunnets long ago…”Fuck it…£100 out of every ten thousand I earn over the threshold? Why not?” And then, like we did last year, we should get out on the streets and internet and say so.

That’ll show ’em.

 

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Comments (75)

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  1. Andrew Haddow says:

    Agreed, but let’s not call it “a Penny for Scotland”. Let’s call it “The Union Tax”.

    1. Andrew Innes says:

      Fantastic idea!

    2. Peter Williams says:

      Don’t forget the Union Cuts.

  2. Saor Alba says:

    I totally agree and it would be like taking all their stuff and throwing it in the water, just like the Americans. They don’t understand us and they don’t want to. However, plain honesty and transparency seems to annoy the hell out if them.

  3. Darien says:

    I tend to think Scotland should do the opposite of helping ‘them’ deliver what they want. Which is that we need Holyrood to adopt a policy of non-cooperation with perfidious; the latter isnae called the ‘auld enemy’ fir nuffin.

  4. Kae Mar says:

    I salute this article. It strikes a very strong chord with me. I totally believe we, as a nation, have to put our money where our mouth (heart!) is. We all know we are not going to get to FFS or independence without a wee bit of pain. That’s fine! Better our pain is self imposed and self managed than inflicted from that alien and corrupt dimension known as Westminster. I say bring it on – pain and all- as a necessary step along the way. I love the analogy with the Tartan Army too. They are such a breath of fresh air in the world of football. Lets embrace that attitude – whether it was accidental to football fans or not – we can adopt it and pursue it purposefully.

    1. james hendry says:

      that picture shows me at Wembley, the face just behind the two outstretched arms

      1. Really? That’s great. Fond memories?

  5. Drew says:

    Jumping into a trap with both feet is a quick way to a wheelchair, if you are lucky. Most trapped animals have to be put down by the hunter if they are still moving when he finds them. Swinney would be well advised to ignore.

  6. Camz says:

    Good piece. One tiny point. The word “bi-annual” refers to twice a year, whereas you perhaps meant “biennial”? (Once every two years)

  7. Shirley Sampson says:

    Hurray! At last someone is talking sense about raising taxes. I don’t ever remember being asked whether I wanted to pay less tax, only being told I didn’t.

    Of course it depends what you get for paying extra, but if we can even just begin to build the thousands of affordable homes we need, look after our sick, elderly and vulnerable people properly and banish poverty from the land, I’m all for it. (If we can raise our Scottish government’s income by taxing the rising value of land, too, that would help.)

    An old statistic has stayed with me since I was a student: in the mid-sixties (exact date forgotten) the Joseph Rowntree Foundation stated approx. 250,000 people in the UK were living below the poverty line. (That’s right, the figures were for the UK, not just Scotland. Surprised? I’m not. I grew up in the sixties. We had no beggars then.)

    So let’s be prepared to put our money into improving and enriching the lives of all our people. Who knows, we might just end up with a dynamic, civilised economy and saving on the current costs of the disgraceful by-products of poverty and distress as well.

    1. One Baw Shaw says:

      @ Shirley,

      If you want to pay more tax voluntary, it is perfectly possible to transfer whatever you like to HMRC:

      https://www.gov.uk/pay-self-assessment-tax-bill/bank-details

      but if we can even just begin to build the thousands of affordable homes we need,

      You’re going to ask everyone to contribute to funding something that only a small proportion of the population will benefit from (compared to say, the NHS, or education, which everyone benefits from). That’ll be popular. Good luck with that.

      look after our sick, elderly and vulnerable people properly

      I thought you were doing that already? Alex Salmond never tires of reminding us.

      and banish poverty from the land,

      Absolute and relative? Denmark has poverty, at levels not that far below the UK. Good luck with that – you will never, ever ‘banish’ poverty – its causes are far too many and complex.

      If we can raise our Scottish government’s income by taxing the rising value of land, too, that would help.

      I expect you don’t own any land (or property). Bully for you, eh?

      So let’s be prepared to put our money into improving and enriching the lives of all our people.

      You’d be better putting the money into health and education (yours are terrible), not building houses for a select few people and handing out cash to a few others.

      Who knows, we might just end up with a dynamic, civilised economy

      What does that mean / look like? From a purely economic perspective, Scotland already performs pretty well, all things being relative.

      and saving on the current costs of the disgraceful by-products of poverty and distress as well.

      See above.

  8. Phil says:

    A neat tactic to be sure. So many tales of why they voted NO were bounded by expressions of fear of financial ruin. So ‘Union Tax’ would be appropriate if, … if it is driven by a comprehensive plan of action where Scotland uses its Union Tax to achieve real results. Reduces the life-ruining forces poverty contains, reduces the disparities of access to educational success, reduces health differentials, gives Scots pride in devising new social paradigms which lead to more equality of aspiration and equality of outcome.

    The burden of the Union Tax would become our smile.

    1. One Baw Shaw says:

      @ Phil,

      “Reduces the life-ruining forces poverty contains”

      We’ve had decades of trying to alleviate poverty by handing out money, and it doesn’t work. New thinking is required.

      “reduces the disparities of access to educational success”

      If your education system (which is devolved to you) is rubbish, then that is your problem. Stop trying to blame the shortcomings and failures of the Scottish education system on other people. See my above point re. the effectiveness of throwing money at things.

      “reduces health differentials”

      Stop drinking so much, taking so many drugs, eating so much crap and taking so little exercise, and your population, especially those experiencing ‘differentials’ will feel 100% better in no time.

      “gives Scots pride in devising new social paradigms which lead to more equality of aspiration and equality of outcome”

      University education is free in Scotland, yet still proportionally fewer students from less well off backgrounds are getting to University. In England, the numbers are going up (despite the fees). Your policy of universality does not work (or rather, it was and is a bribe for the votes of well off voters who benefit from free University education – not the less well off). What does that tell you about ‘aspiration’, and attitude in Scotland? Generations of non-recognition of the value of education in Scotland (and other parts of the UK, in fairness) are your social / cultural problem. Stop trying to blame other people for your own poor attitude and contempt for education. (Take a look at how more and more, immigrants to the UK are outperforming people who were born here – they get it, they get education). All you have to do is turn up. I suppose these children and their families want someone to do the work for them, to achieve this new ‘social paradigm’. Scottish parents just need to send their children to school, and make sure they don’t stare out of the window.

      “The burden of the Union Tax would become our smile”

      Another glazed-eyed moonie.

      The burden of the Union Tax would become our smile.

      1. Tina Fiji says:

        You’re on fire today One Baw, and some highly entertaining posts from you though sadly there are fewer statements of what the future WILL bring than normal – what’s up, crystal baw foggy? Still the same sweeping generalisations though, that’s good to see – “stop trying to blame other people for your own poor attitude and contempt for education” and “generations of non-recognition of the value of education” – beauties! Where do you get them from?
        And I’m glad to see you include the usual straw men – Phil didn’t say our education system was rubbish, nor did he blame anyone else for the shortcomings of the education system. He said he’d like to see the new income “reduce the disparities of access to educational success”. Do you see the difference? Can you see it One Baw? Can you? Or is it all black and white in your world? I guess it is if you truly believe that for a good education “all you have to do is turn up”.

        So handing out money doesn’t work? Nice one, straight from the last Tory party conference to cheers and hear-hears from the assembled millionaires. Those poor rich landowners who are frothing at the mouth at the idea of losing their subsidies will be delighted to hear that OBS says that receiving money doesn’t work……aaah, but of course, that’s different isn’t it.
        Well what about those post-war experiments in the States that shows handing out money did work? Or put yourself in the position where you have to choose between heating and eating, then see if someone chucking fifty quid your way works for you. Or what do you suggest as part of your requisite “new thinking”?

        And during those “decades of trying to alleviate poverty”, were there any other factors in play as to why the inequality gap has grown, why so many more people are at or below the poverty line? I guess it’s all their own fault eh, lazy ba$tards.

        Drugs and drink etc – so you’re saying “just say no”. Aye, that was such a successful campaign in the 80’s wasn’t it, let’s do that again – great idea One Baw, and so easy.

        Next time you rename yourself on this site, how about using Tina – not in my honour, but for the There Is No Alternative message that underlies almost everything you write. Pretty please One Baw, pretty please.

      2. JBS says:

        Looking forward to the day when the Saltire is flying above Manchester Town Hall, Corporatist Hell? I know I am.

        1. One Baw Shaw says:

          @ JBS

          “Looking forward to the day when the Saltire is flying above Manchester Town Hall, Corporatist Hell? I know I am”.

          No chance.

          We’re far more likely to see capital, investment and jobs migrate south to the nearest safe port over the border (us) should you have another referendum (which you will). Who will be most welcome in our dynamic, cosmopolitian, internationalist city.

          You can keep your Saltires, tartan gonks, sectarian bigotry, Neds, and bitter, blame-shifting parochialism to yourself, thanks.

          1. JBS says:

            Wind you up and off you go, like a clockwork soldier.

            Another long day sneering at Scotland, eh? The Chronicles of Smugman Part whatever-it-is-I-haven’t-been-counting. Watch out, don’t sprain your fingers.

            I could hug you.

          2. kaemar says:

            haha JBS Well said…..

          3. Brian MacIver says:

            I suggest you read up on Nicola’s proposal of the Rhine Model Economics, its collaboration between Unions, Employers, Capital and Workers along with Government. Capital and Workers are more likely to move NORTH! FFA as soon as possible!

  9. Lesley Docksey says:

    Go for it, Scotland! If you can’t shame Westminster (and I think that’s impossible) then at least flummox them.

    1. One Baw Shaw says:

      @ Lesley,

      No chance. There is no evidence in any of the social attitudes surveys that Scots are supportive of tax increases, they generally suggest that people feel they are taxed at about the right / acceptable level. As with other places, there are plenty of people who do want taxes raised – as long as they are raised on other people (while they are safe in the knowledge they themselves will never pay those taxes ‘tax the rich’ etc.)

      1. Kae Mar says:

        There will of course be those who resist being taxed more but we are in unusual and transformative times. I think many people in Scotland will recognize this. We are not talking about sending even more of our hard earned money to the bottomless pit that is HM Treasury – we are anticipating that the Scottish Government will be open and honest about the need for any rise in income tax and what it is to be spent on and why. The 1p in the pound that has been mooted is not extreme and surely would not be begrudged by most. I really hope the ‘I am alright Jack’ mindset does not prevail on this. I say this as someone who pays tax.

        1. One Baw Shaw says:

          @ Kae

          I think many people in Scotland will recognize this (that they should and will pay more tax).

          On what basis?

          All the social attitudes surveys indicate the opposite.

          1. kaemar says:

            Only when it applies to sending it to Westminster. If you put a different proposition to people I think they will respond.

      2. Jimmy says:

        The rich just doubled their money, looks like they’re not worried about paying tax.

  10. Alistair says:

    Exactly.

    Hmmm….. I wonder if Charlotte Church will want to move here after that?

    1. One Baw Shaw says:

      @ Alistair:

      If it means getting out of Wales, then quite possibly.

      (Welsh health service and education even worse than that in Scotland. Wales is a lovely place with some lovely people btw, but the people ‘in charge’ of their devolved administration are of a very low calibre).

      1. Peter Williams says:

        My my! You do seem to be the font of all knowledge.
        Keep going pal-this is entertaining.

  11. Juteman says:

    A certain way to lose control over Holyrood, and wait another 20 years or maybe never, for the chance to hold another referendum.

    1. One Baw Shaw says:

      @ Juteman

      How so?

      Surely the progressive, social democratic, left-leaning, egalitarian Scots will need no encouragement to put more of their own money into the collective pot for the supposed common good?

      I’m surprised the engaged enlightened people of Scotland, who have been ‘politically set on fire’ as Pat Kane says, haven’t been willingly filling up those coffers already.

      1. Juteman says:

        We need control of all taxes, then choose how to spend it.
        Raising a single tax will benefit nobody, as any amount raised will just be removed from the Westminster block grant.
        Remembet that the Smith Stitch Up requires that no part of the UK can be advantaged or disadvantaged by any action taken by the Scottish government.

  12. MBC says:

    It will really only affect people on PAYE. The mega rich aren’t on PAYE although there are some public sector employees earning large amounts of money, above £150k.

    According to Iain Macwhirter there are 19,000 people earning £150k + in Scotland and he claims raising the upper band to 50% would only raise £100 million.

    All the same, I would like to see that. Who on earth are these comfortably off people who come to Scotland and earn fat cat salaries off our public purse and not step up to the plate?

    If the upper rate IS raised, I would expect to see two possibilities. One is that these folks might attempt tax avoidance, claiming their main home is actually Carlisle, they’re just working in Edinburgh or Aberdeen during the week.

    In which case, the Scottish Government should call the UK government’s bluff and act to close this loophole, for instance, a massive tax on second homes in Scotland, a tourist tax or whatever penalty can be enacted to get at these shaisters.

    The second, more longer term effect, might mean that these top executive types quit Scotland, which will mean that their places will be filled by people prepared to sign up for their public duty and Scotland will be rid of Tory supporters and their families.

    A final outcome might mean that we get more fiscal oversight of the tax base. If we can get tax collection administratively devolved to Scotland on the basis that we require greater oversight, that would be a great step forward.

    Personally, as someone on low pay, the Chancellor’s recent raising of the lower rate tax threshold resulted in me being a whole £10 better of per month. Ten quid! Wow! Don’t spend it all at once!

    Although welcomed, it really does nothing substantial to improve my situation. I would gladly donate it to Scotland, and if 4 million of my fellow Scots would likewise pay the same, that would be £480 million per annum.

    My one stipulation would be that the money go on something that we can retain as an investment, such as more council housing, or infrastructure. I would not want to see it line the pockets of PFI contractors such as the £56 million pa paid to those who provide Edinburgh Royal infirmary.

    I would like to see our money go into a National Investment Bank to build council houses at fair rents and other permanent infrastructure.

    The point about fair rents is that it keeps the cost of living low for the poorest. This reduces the welfare bill, as fewer people will need housing benefit or working tax credit to supplement low earnings.

    And if we get more employers to sign up to the Living Wage then that means we increase the revenues from income tax.

    1. Kae Mar says:

      All good sensible stuff.

    2. Mr T says:

      “Who on earth are these comfortably off people who come to Scotland and earn fat cat salaries off our public purse and not step up to the plate?”

      Any reason why you think they aren’t Scottish?

    3. Mr T says:

      The other point which is well worth considering is not that some of the 19,000 might say they live in Carlisle while they work in Edinburgh. My guess is that they are more likely to live in Edinburgh but work (at least some of the week) in London, Leeds & Halifax.

      Were Scotland independent (and both iScotland and the rUK in the EU) there are EU rules that cover how & where you get taxed, and whilst it’s not the same everywhere the flavour is that you pay your taxes where you earn your money.

      I live in & work from Scotland, I’m employed by the England-based UK subsidiary of a US company, selling technology that is licensed by the Dutch subsidiary to customers in Africa, Middle East etc. My immediate predecessor was an Austrian based in Dublin. Gets complicated doesn’t it!

      1. Juteman says:

        Not really, if

        the government is in the least intetested in collecting the tax.

        1. One Baw Shaw says:

          @ Juteman

          Total tax take increased in every year except one that the Coalition was in power.

          (It was Labour who weren’t interested in collecting tax – that Labour Government that Scotland voted for until 5 minutes ago).

          1. Juteman says:

            @ One Ba Short o a picnic.
            The tax take from the plebs increased, what about the tax take from the masters of the universe?

    4. Strato says:

      ‘I would like to see our money go into a National Investment Bank to build council houses at fair rents and other permanent infrastructure.

      The point about fair rents is that it keeps the cost of living low for the poorest. This reduces the welfare bill, as fewer people will need housing benefit or working tax credit to supplement low earnings.

      And if we get more employers to sign up to the Living Wage then that means we increase the revenues from income tax….’

      I fully agree, which is why I voted for the party which had all this in their manifesto, the Labour Party.

      Also, if the SNP were genuinely committed to affordable housing they could use existing powers over the planning process to increase the threshold for private new builds then buy them at a knock down rate, to lease in the public sector. They don’t. Instead John Swinney, despite pressure from homeless orgs, still keeps the puny 25% affordable housing threshold (which is rarely enforced).

      1. MBC says:

        There is a housing bill going through Holyrood at the moment which will impose rent controls on the private rented sector. The social housing sector supposedly delivers affordable rents.

        1. Strato says:

          Wow, eight years later! And the Council Tax freeze? And still doesn’t answer anything. If the SNP wanted to increase public sector housing it could by enforcing a higher % on private builds through the planning system. Then buy at the prices THEY choose and lease them ( they do this in other Euro countries they keep comparing themselves to) This has nothing to do with cuts or Westminster.

          1. MBC says:

            Labour are finished. Get over it.

            The most amusing aspect of all this is how you Unionists really think this is going to endear them to the electorate. Like we are really going to thank you for your poisonous chalice. That we are all going to go back to ‘normal’ and accept your lies and deceit.

            I even heard Mundell chirp that there would be a Tory revival… you just don’t get it, do you?

            We want to be free, free of you and all your bile, sniping, inferiorising, and negativity.

          2. kaemar says:

            Hear Hear…..

          3. MBC says:

            The council tax freeze is a progressive policy. I would be £10o worse off per month if council tax had not been frozen. Only rich champagne pseudo socialists complain of it. Everybody else is deeply grateful.

  13. MarkScotland says:

    Am i the only one getting tired of all the political ball games and just thinks “Sod it, lets go UDI”?

    1. Kae Mar says:

      No you are not alone!

    2. Mr T says:

      So long as you are honest with the electorate and spell out that UDI means having no computer systems to collect tax, to pay benefits, to register vehicles etc…..

      Unless you weren’t planning on consulting the electorate first, which I think is called a coup d’etat.

  14. Kenny Smith says:

    I know this site and others of similar ilk are open to everyone but I just can’t get my head round some comments I have came across on some indepence supporting websites. One baw’s views though entirely legitimate only enforce my belief that we need another referendum asap. I am sick of people that are so quick to pour scorn on anything that anyone suggests to actually help the people of this country. The Scotland bill is a complete dogs dinner putting it mildly and only confirms the total disregard we are held in. I worried more about a no vote than I did about the relative uncertainty of a yes outcome and this trap is why. Wiping millions from our budget and then forcing us to tax people directly in the pocket, not companies, not oil and gas revenue. No voters are starting to see what we have been talking about and without proper rewrite of the UK indepence is inevitable and when it comes those of us that have lived through this period will build a better country for all and I promise I’ll do my part in the building and be honoured to do so.

    1. MBC says:

      Totally agree. We need to re-start the indy campaign, and continue to argue the issues with the 55%. I wonder how many have buyer’s remorse?

      1. Strato says:

        Given the 8 billion hole, and the abandonment of FFA by the Nationalists, not many I would think.

        I wonder how many floating Yes voters are wiping their brows and muttering about how they dodged that bullet.

        1. MBC says:

          Given the UK’s 80 billion black hole and the national debt at 1.6 trillion, I think not.

      2. One Baw Shaw says:

        Hardly any.

      3. kaemar says:

        I think more than a few. That is why people are now turning to SNP in their droves. Indyref 1 was just too soon for many -they were not educated in the facts and their eyes were not open. It was a huge leap of imagination that many could not make. not because they were unionists but because they genuinely could not see another way. They can now! Eyes have been swell and truly opened. we will win next time = I am sure.

  15. HerewardAwake! says:

    Tartan Army indeed! I well remember the hordes of drunken foul-mouthed goons who used to masquerade as Scottish football supporters in the old days, but happily those times are far behind us and we now live in the far more civilised world of the 56ers and other far more welcome Hibernian guests. Don’t worry about your Scotland Bill, friends, after a thrashing from Harriet today the bathwater lapping round young Cameron’s pink cheeks is rapidly warming up and his goose will be well and truly cooked ‘ere long. Tonight at the Mansion House (the best soup kitchen in London), his romanesque bean-counter Osborne, dressed up like a head waiter amidst all that gold- plated austerity, is said to be going to spout more drivel about constraining national overspending in future. This at a time when the deficit is still very high and the national debt has never been higher. But I hear the flapping of wings…yes, its 50 or so high-flying carpet-bagging Tory anti-EU buzzards heading this way. Just past me the Purdeys, Hamish, and we’ll pepper their behinds and send ’em packing!

  16. thomaspotter2014 says:

    Great idea if the extra tax generated was spent on Scotland,but as Kenny Smith said the scum from WM just want to stick it to the daft jocks and cream off even more revenue from Jockistan

    In the 70’s tax on my self-employed earnings was set at 33% and I seemed to get along just fine with that but I’d only accept paying more if I knew it was to the good of Scotland, at the moment it’s 20% so there is room for raising it

    Germany’s tax went up from 30+% to 52% when they took on the rebuilding of the east when the wall came down and it would have been seriously hardcore at the time but look at them now

  17. Strato says:

    There is one aspect of this that is missed by nationalists. That is, in the long run it could mean greater protection against cuts for the English and Welsh ‘poor’ as funds diverted from Scotland (who gets a high per capita rate than elsewhere) could be used south of the Border.

    1. MBC says:

      Pooling and sharing, eh?

      1. Strato says:

        Or just being fair?

      2. Strato says:

        Besides it’s what you wanted, not the English.

        1. Strato says:

          Besides, what happened, to being ‘too wee, too poor, too stupid’ to do exactly what is now being proposed? Why not push for FFA?

          1. MBC says:

            Why not push for independence? We might as well.

    2. kaemar says:

      I refuse to believe that will ever happen until they are forced to do it.

  18. Kenny Smith says:

    It is not the SNP that are backsliding on FFA. It is Westminster and the unionist parties that are categorically taking it off the table. FFA can work but it needs goodwill from all 4 nations of the UK to work. Its only my opinion but the refusal for FFA to me says ” we don’t want them to see the books ” This figure of 7, 8 billion black hole is a real figure, depending on who you listen too it could be exaggerated but the figure is a bit misleading because its a snap shot in time and the ultimate reason how this figure has came about is because the Uk has a trillion + black hole. I ask why it is perfectly reasonable that the UK can carry this debt but an independent or fiscally responsible Scotland can’t. During indy ref i never got a real answer if we are such a drain why are they fighting so hard and dirty to keep us in it? Its the same with FFA if it would be such a disaster im sure Cameron and Osbourne would love it if we had to go crawling back. The Barnett formula is a crock of shit nobody disagrees. What really puzzles

  19. MBC says:

    I take it by the number of frantic unionist trolls your article has brought to these boards Peter, that you have called their bluff and they are frantic with worry that we might actually hit them in their pockets.

  20. Kenny Smith says:

    Me is that we are told that we get more than we deserve from Barnett but when we come up with an alternative its the unionists that say no, am I the only one that finds this argument ridiculous? As for the public spending that is a myth as well that takes in debt for things that that are in the SE or things we don’t want or need like Trident. I have said it before like most Scots I didn’t want to break the UK at first I just wanted control over our finances because I’m sick of this subsidised pocket money parliament pish but its went too far now nothing short of independence will do. Nothing pains me more than Scots that run our country down and play to the dependency agenda, we are more than that. Yes voters are not wiping their brow they are sharping the schiltron poles for the next battle. Yes we are the northern end of the British Isles but we are Scotland, an ancient sovereign nation and we want it back

    1. kaemar says:

      Very well said.

  21. Lochside says:

    This article is ludicrous. Why raise extra taxes when we don’t control the existing ones and only pour them into England’s Capital city to fund its infrastructure and its bloated and corrupt City pals and assorted foreign oligarchs’ lavish lifestyles?

    We contribute more than we get back. Any deficit to Scotland is due to subsidising vanity projects in England that have no impact on Scotland except to undermine our economy e.g. the proposed High speed rail project. Or England’s Imperial pretensions such as Trident and the endless failed military ‘adventures’ that the coterie of Oxbridge public school tossers have led us into. Or England’s debt.

    The Barnet is a sop that was conjured up to take SLAB and their cronies’ eyes off the ball when the Brits started stealing our oil out of the North Sea. Only cretins believe that England subsidises us and values us so much while racially abusing us simultaneously.

    The header picture shown is typical of the cringe..’Mad Jocks despoiling sacred home of Football’.
    Well we’re better than that. But what we do need to do, is to find the backbone through our SNP contingent to tear up and destroy the goalposts of the sham democracy known as Westminster.Tell them to stick the Scotland bill and refuse to implement it because it is an insult to what we voted for.

    Let’s face it, we are going to have to rip the turf up and take the ball home eventually and let them get on with ruling their distorted world without our resources.

    1. kaemar says:

      All very true.

  22. Kenny Smith says:

    I have to admit what the author is saying doesn’t make sense in a way Lochside but I get the point that we are being set up to fail and fail badly and exaggerate the dependency culture. I agree with you on your point but the thing I have trouble with is although its an article that is written to get you thinking about would I pay extra for a better country and so many are saying no. I’m the same Westminster can do 1 but its how to work within the framework. Its all bullshit, its been pointed out that any money raised will be deducted from the block grant so your getting shit on no matter what you do and that’s why we need indepence. The crumb of comfort is the majority of the yes supporters believe in trying to do something that is progressive and fair. That’s the strength in our movement. Soar Alba!

  23. One Baw Shaw says:

    “we are being set up to fail and fail badly”

    No, you are being given further devolution. Scotland benefits from higher public spending per head c/o the Barnett Forumula. We keep hearing about how brilliant you are and how you have been ‘subsidising the rest of the UK for decades’ (you haven’t). If that’s the case, then lets adjust the weights on the scales. If you are raising more money, then you don’t need ‘Westminster’s’ subsidy, and you’ll presumably demonstrate how successful you would be if only you were independent.

    “any money raised will be deducted from the block grant”

    What, did you expect to be allowed to keep any additional money you raise in Scotland AND the extra money for public spending that you get out of the communal UK pot?

    “The crumb of comfort is the majority of the yes supporters believe in trying to do something that is progressive and fair.”

    What would be ‘fair’ about being given freedoms to raise more of your own money AND continue to receive extra support from the communal UK pot?

    1. Kenny Smith says:

      Its not a devolution settlement it is a stripped back watered down version of the bare minimum and quite frankly its insulting. I don’t know what part of Mars you are from. If north sea oil was not such a boost to UK coffers then Westminster would have no need to redraw the sea boundary and steal 7 oil fields. Scotland technically might not have subsidised the UK as you see it but bottom line is Scotland is not or has been in modern times been subsidised by rest of UK. As for the complaints about higher public spending we are asking to ditch Barnett but for some reason that is being denied. We want to be responsible for raising and spending its Westminster and unionists that refuse to work on a federal model that is what people both sides of the border want. What I mean by progressive and fair is tighter employment laws, having a living wage as a minimum, redistribution of wealth, more social housing, industries renationalised for public good for the benefit for everyone, being more proactive in the environment. Despite what you may think Scotland has always had a more socialist outlook even from day dot our king was king of Scots, king of the people not the land. We have a different attitude towards how things should be done, a better fairer way. We had a glimpse of what this country has to offer and what we could achieve.

  24. MBC says:

    We need independence, not devolution, because devolution means we have to operate within the legislative and fiscal framework set by Tory UK. As has been pointed out the new fiscal ‘powers’ are not usable powers because any revenue raised by them would only be deducted from Barnett, they would not be in addition to Barnett.

    My patience is wearing thin. I am sick fed up with this controlling begrudging attitude. You have to ask yourself why a conservative government wishes to force dependency on a capable people who wish autonomy because that runs contrary to all the traditions of conservatism.

    There are two possible explanations.

    1. They want our oil and gas resources. Including the use of the Holy Loch for Trident.
    2. It’s not conservatism at all but British imperialism and they can’t tell the difference.

    1. Mr T says:

      I think that the 3rd possibility is simply that no government wants to be in charge when part of the nation votes to go.

      Imagine that Labour had won in 2010 & 2015 and indy ref had voted Yes. Fast forward to 2020 – do you honestly believe that the conservatives would be bothered if it happened on someone else’s watch?

      I think that the view from Labour would be different, as they would have lost a big chunk of their historic voters.

  25. arthur thomson says:

    An interesting post and some interesting comments from pro independence people.

    It was always going to be an uphill struggle for our MP’s at Westminster. We have to accept that fact and keep working at it. If the GE results in Scotland had returned the previous collection of Red, blue and yellow tories it would have been a lot worse. We have to compare the present situation with that, not with some notion of the ideal. We are up against massive odds and we can’t hope to win out by a full frontal assault against such odds. What we can achieve will be determined by our ability to use the apparent strengths and the weaknesses of our opponents against them. We have to be aware and ready to exploit opportunities as they arise. Other people have succeeded against enormous odds and we can too.

    With specific regard to the idea of a ‘union tax’ I must say that it has some appeal, certainly on an emotional level. But I will leave it to the SNP to decide how to play it and I will support whatever course of action they pursue.

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