I've just been reading through the Daily Record's latest periodical outbreak of "I Can't Believe It's Not The Vow" coverage, and there was one bit that made me laugh out loud -
"In some areas Labour are going further than the SNP by including demands to devolve welfare from Holyrood to councils, starting with the Work Programme."
So Labour are going further than the SNP on devolution...by taking powers away from the Scottish Parliament. Be sure to let us know if they ever propose taking more powers away from Westminster, won't you?!
Staying on that theme, I followed a link on the Record's website to a story I missed a few days ago, about the SNP supposedly "backing down" on the call for abortion law to be devolved. Of course it's dangerous to take any story in the Record at face value, but a quick search failed to find anything that contradicted it. If there's any truth in that, I must say I find it incomprehensible - the only road-block in the Smith Commission on this topic was Labour, and Labour's influence is now at its lowest ebb. There should be no remaining obstacle to an agreement with the Tories (and Lib Dems) on the swift devolution of abortion law, and the SNP should seize that opportunity with both hands.
Setting a measured timetable for full fiscal autonomy is one thing, but on all other matters we should be taking an "everything including the kitchen sink" approach to maximising devolution. A party that believes in Scottish self-government should not be deprioritising anything at all - the presumption should always be that any given power should be held at Holyrood, unless there is a very good reason for that not to be the case. I hope there's no underlying squeamishness about abortion being a "grown-up" issue. If we don't believe that Holyrood is a grown-up parliament capable of taking these decisions, what are we actually fighting for?
Labour's argument last autumn was that they would never allow women's rights to be inferior on one side of the border, which is a complete nonsense. When Rhoda Grant attempted to criminalise the clients of sex workers in Scotland, she claimed (wrongly) that it was about "equality" and "ending violence against women" - so wouldn't that law have meant, according to Labour doctrine, that women would have had their rights protected better on one side of the border than on the other? Labour didn't seem to have any problem with that notion, so how exactly is abortion different? The reality is that any responsible parliament would always take into account the danger of "abortion tourism" before making any changes - a new law wouldn't be introduced frivolously.
As some people have called me an "SNP tribalist" for simply pointing out that tactical voting on the regional list can't work, let me just acknowledge that on this specific issue, if the reports are to be believed, the Greens are pushing harder for self-government than the SNP are. That's not a position the SNP should ever be allowing themselves to get into.