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It’s not often I have to apologise to bankers…

It’s not often that I find I have to apologise to bankers. But in an article last week on the 50p tax row I said that the additional rate on those earning above £150,000 was essentially a “bankers tax” because, with their bonuses and inflated salaries, they are the only group in Scotland who earn … Continue reading

The SNP is now so confident of its political hegemony that it can park its conscience.

IT’S the oldest tale in politics. A radical party wins power on the strength of a widespread popular movement. Then it becomes the target of powerful private lobby groups and gradually its radicalism is jettisoned for economic “realism” – which invariably seems to be the realism of the rich and powerful. It happened to Labour … Continue reading

Narcissism of small differences likely to dominate Holyrood elections.

POLITICS is often called a dialogue of the deaf, but on Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions it really was. Labour’s Kezia Dugdale seemed unable to hear Nicola Sturgeon ruling out lifting the threshold for higher rate taxation as outlined in George Osborne’s budget. Four times Ms Dugdale asked and four times she got the same message: … Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith shafts Osborne, plunges Tory cabinet into chaos on eve of EU referendum.

So we aren’t all in this together after all. That mantra, used by the Chancellor George Osborne, and the Prime Minister David Cameron to justify the attack on the incomes of the working poor, now sounds pretty sick following the resignation of the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. When even the politician responsible … Continue reading

To Scots, Brexit debate seems like two bald Tories arguing over a comb.

WHEN Boris Johnson announced on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the EU referendum is about “project hope versus project fear” I just about choked on my porridge. I have remarked before on the similarities between the Europe referendum campaign and the Scottish independence campaign. But the Brexit show is beginning to sound like … Continue reading

Only a tea party with Trump could stop Nicola Sturgeon’s landslide in May

WE are about to enter the first Holyrood election in nearly a decade that will not be fought over independence or the early prospect of it. Nicola Sturgeon seems in no hurry to call that second referendum, even though the forthcoming Europe referendum could pull Scotland out of the EU. And the opposition parties in … Continue reading

Let’s hope John Swinney has his wits about him. This is the most important week for public finances since the Barnett Formula was introduced in 1978.

THE discovery of gravitational waves involved decades of effort by some of the greatest scientific minds using mathematics of breathtaking complexity. Perhaps now they have confirmed Einstein’s relativity hypothesis, they could turn their attention to another issue of mind-bending difficulty: the fiscal framework for income tax devolution. I know: the debate about Scotland’s financial black … Continue reading

Kezia’s Penny for Scotland is too contrived; but she’s right to start the debate.

The Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, is to be congratulated for putting her money where her mouth is and calling for an increase in taxation in Scotland to raise half a billion pounds for public services. This is heroic stuff. It is a long time since Labour has gone into an election campaign promising to … Continue reading

Do we seriously believe that Britain would be too poor, too wee and too stupid to survive on its own outside the EU?

“Brexit could plunge Britain back into recession”, according to Morgan Stanley. “Vote to Leave could trigger economic and financial shock” says Credit Suisse. “EU exit could cost £55 billion a year” says think tank. The EU referendum debate has become a kind of bizarro version of the Scottish independence referendum, with banks, newspapers and think … Continue reading

Holyrood has turned into a race of also rans, a contest for losers.

Both Labour and the Conservatives tried to relaunched their Scottish Parliament election campaigns yesterday. The fact that they have been described as “stalled” 100 days before polling day tells you all you need to know about the state of the Scottish opposition. The Holyrood election is a race of the also rans, a contest of … Continue reading

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