Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Taxing matters

The first details of the agreements made within the Smith Commission appeared today, and it would appear that Labour has dropped its opposition to devolving all income tax raising powers to the Scottish Government.  This has evidently been done with gritted teeth, as many of their 'big beasts' are opposed to it.  The main grounds for objection seem to be that this reduces the power of the Westminster Chancellor, will lead to Scottish MPs having diminished power in Westminster and that it is a Trojan horse for full fiscal autonomy, leading ultimately to the breakup of the UK.

They're almost certainly not wrong in their conclusions, but they are the party with the most to lose with the breakup of the UK, due to their traditional reliance on Scottish MPs.  So why have they agreed to this?  Mainly because they are panicked at the recent polls showing record levels of support for the SNP and falling support for Labour in Scotland.  This reeks of 'let's offer the Jocks anything they want and maybe they'll go back to voting for us again'.  The end result merely makes them look opportunistic, which I fear is not going to make them any more electable.

The Smith Commission report is due on Thursday.  It will be interesting to see what other areas of compromise there have been.

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