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Wealth tax. Just because Nick Clegg proposed it doesn’t mean its a bad idea.

    “Don’t strangle the goose that laid the golden egg”, pleaded the Tory MP, Bernard Jenkin yesterday after the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, called for a wealth tax. Now, where exactly is this golden egg, I wonder? Could it be in the City of London, where some very wealthy people laid an egg of … Continue reading

Free personal care pays for itself. Cut council bureaucrats instead.

Free personal care is again being condemned by local authority officials and newspaper editorials as a luxury “the country cannot afford’.  The reverse is true:  we can’t afford not to provide medical and nursing care to older people.   The policy, introduced by the Labour First Minister, Henry McLeish in 2001,  has helped tens of … Continue reading

There ain’t gonna be a second question.

  Alex Salmond has been accused of jiggery pokery, collusion, manipulation and dishonesty over his offer to include a second “devo max” question in the independence referendum. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee in Westminster declared that Salmond only wants this as “an insurance policy against the verdict of the Scottish electorate.”   The leader of the … Continue reading

Team GB: is it game over for Scottish independence?

   And there is scarcely a dry eye in the house as Sir Chris Hoy, laden with medals, says goodbye to the fans who have followed him so ecstatically through these games. A final victory lap, wearing the Saltire of Scotland,  a true national hero retires to take his place in the pantheon of sporting … Continue reading

Same sex marriage. We’ve been here before.

 The First Minister is in a dither about it; the cabinet is split over it; church figures call for a referendum as gay rights activists take to the streets. No, not Tuesday’s aborted cabinet decision on same-sex marriage, but the Labour-Liberal Democrat cabinet in 2000 during the row over the abolition of Section 2A on … Continue reading

Catalonia. Bankrupt. Scotland next?

    Scottish nationalists could be forgiven for cursing fate this week. Both Ireland and the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia, the two most admired constitutional role models for a post-union Scotland, are sinking under the weight of their debts. Today, Ireland’s voters are expected to vote reluctantly for an EU financial austerity package that … Continue reading

Five years since Northern Rock – and no end yet to financial crisis

  Five years ago this week, on the 9th of August 2007, the world changed. That was day the banks suddenly stopped lending to each other, causing the collapse of Northern Rock and plunging the world economy into a slump from which it has yet to recover. Indeed, last week’s manufacturing figures suggest that we are heading … Continue reading

The economic living dead: misery of the middle earners.

Where is the anger?  Where is the resistance? Five years into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and earnings – apart from those of the top ten percent – have fallen year on year. A raft of studies has shown that ordinary families in Britain are suffering the longest squeeze in living memory, yet the … Continue reading

Pound, euro, groat – what currency for Scotland?

Whatever happened to Braveheart?  Time was when the debate about Scottish independence was all about heroic issues like freedom, national destiny, culture. Even the mild-mannered former leader of the SNP, Gordon Wilson, used to talk of it being a “revolutionary” party.  Not any more. Nowadays the independence debate seems to be all about the small … Continue reading

Lost in London during Boris’s games.

   Driving back from Dover from holiday, we decided to let the satnav do the job of getting us round London. Yes, I know – you just head north on the M25, but we’d heard it was jammed because of the Olympics. Anyway, the satnav lady, in her digital wisdom, decided to take us straight … Continue reading

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