Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Scotland will not stand for this

It's obviously bad enough that Scotland is being hit with a UK-wide tax rise to pay for an England-only policy change, but that's a structural problem with the way that devolution was set up in 1999, and won't be resolved without either full fiscal autonomy or independence.  Much more remarkable was a story (I think it was in the Independent, but I can't actually find it now) claiming that Boris Johnson was changing the rules to ensure that the money Scotland received from the National Insurance rise would be passed direct to NHS Scotland, and that the Scottish Government would have no discretion on how to spend it.  That of course would drive a coach and horses through the entire principle of devolution, which is that Scotland receives a block grant (and other revenues from its own taxes) and then spends the money however it sees fit without interference from Westminster.  Astonishingly, the article then claimed that the SNP would quietly go along with the end of devolution as we know it, without even a booming "SCOTLAND WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!" from Ian Blackford, because it would conveniently solve their own problem of how to pay for social care in Scotland.

Thankfully, it appears none of this is true.  The Scottish administration will decide for itself how to spend the money in the normal way. Boris Johnson was bending the truth about the money going direct to the Scottish NHS to make Our Precious Union look like Santa Claus.  I'm not sure what the lesson of all this is - maybe it's about the incuriosity of the mainstream media towards devolution, to such an extent that they don't even bother doublechecking unlikely claims.  But I'm also troubled by the fact that, just for a little while, I found those claims semi-plausible - and there are good reasons for that too.

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Scot Goes Popcast: You can watch the full videos of my recent interviews with Yvonne Ridley and William Duguid HERE and HERE


  1. "But I'm also troubled by the fact that, just for a little while, I found those claims semi-plausible - and there are good reasons for that too."

    Me too. The more britnat Westminster treats Scotland with contempt the more our representatives in Scotland resort to meaningless soundbites. Hot air from the SNP only provides more proof of its political cowardice.

  2. What it should make crystal clear to all in Scotland is that the UK government will increase or decrease our taxes to cater for the demands of England. We are not even an afterthought. If you find that acceptable then you are full of the Cringe and are like a child not an adult. You are a Britnat who accepts living in a colony.

  3. The fact that he said it at all should still have called for political outrage. Even though it isn't true, Johnson has now set himself up as the saviour of the Scottish NHS. It's not OK.

  4. As Scotland has already raised extra tax for social care via increased income tax, the money we receive through the NI increase could be used to fund an income tax cut in Scotland. The basic rate could be cut by 1.25% to cancel out the effect of the NI increase.