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June 19, 2010


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PS Apologies to Jim McColl for calling him Ian!

Wow @ a 21 year old dismissing the contributions of Tom Hunter and Ian McColl with the "whatever these businessmen might say." comment. You may be bright Yousuf but you should show respect where its due. Its basic manners.

They are at least free to comment openly about their views, unlike CBI (Scotland) which is simply a "Regional" Office of the CBI and must therefore toe the Union line.

Superb piece Joan!

It would be rather nice if someone - anyone - from the Labour Party in Scotland could elucidate an idea without running it past the party hierarchy first.

The dismal sectarian mindset of Labour's west of Scotland membership is abysmally familiar - My Sect Good, Your Sect Bad.

Yousuf, you seem bright - perhaps your unwillingness to engage original, rather than recycled thoughts is holding you back?

After thirteen years in Westminster and eight years in Holyrood, during which the gap between rich and poor widened, and almost a century in the City Chambers, during which Glasgow has fallen from being the 6th largest city in the World, not to mention one of the wealthiest, to being insignificant and stripped of any semblance of a business sector beyond banal service industries, is it too much to ask your party to ask 'Where have we gone wrong?'.

It is rather too late to 'have a debate' or 'research answers' - while this happens, Scotland continues to underperform. Incidentally, Scotland isn't just what the 'S' in 'SNP' stands for. It stands for millions of people who have been constantly been abused by the Westminster system, whose children are the likeliest in Europe to grow up in poverty, are most likely to die violently, are most likely to self-medicate through a variety of narcotics, be that heroin, crack, alcohol or even junk food.

After decades of economic lagging, answer me this - without the levers of full fiscal autonomy, when do you expect Scotland to outperform anyone economically? You will not answer this, for you cannot.

The Labour party was initially founded to enrich people's lives with opportunity, equality and education. Nowadays it exists as a purely self-serving entity, where winning an election is the end product, rather than the starting point. The poor are thought of as little more than vote fodder while beds are feathered.

Here's a prediction - you will, upon graduation, work for an NGO or a Labour-linked organisation or representative. In eight or nine years' time you will lose your first election, while continuing to work as a policy twonk/spin doctor/busy little third sector bee, then at the second attempt you'll be elected, then you'll stop trying, because you will have succeeded.

It is a crushingly banal path, a disgraceful waste of potential and a grotesque disservice to the people you will purport to represent.

However, if you want to achieve something, just take some time out, find out who you are, and think clearly. Do you want to serve a party or a people? If it's the former, then you're already on the right path.

Yousuf, Labour had years to deliver fiscal autonomy but had no intention of touching anything that smacked of 'autonomy'. Hence the stillborn Calman proposals.

As far as cuts are concerned, I didn't hear a cheep from you when it was the Labour party both slashing the Scot Gov's budget & promising to make cuts that were 'deeper and tougher' than Margaret Thatcher's attack on Scotland.

I suspect that if Labour had won the election & Darling had got his way you would be busy defending Labour cuts under the banner 'There Is No Alternative'.

Thanks for the birthday wishes at least!

Putting to one side the point about waiting for a party line (how arguing that lowering business taxes is not the best way to boost growth a day after Iain Gray argued that the SNP haven't done enough on business relief if waiting for a party line is beyond me) the case is not against fiscal autonomy (which I've always supported) but the type of fiscal autonomy.

My argument is also not that private sector growth is a bad thing but that the best way for Government to do that is to spend on education, trade links and infrastructure rather than just cutting taxes.

There is a clear economic case that for a mature, developed economy lowering corporation tax is not the best way to create jobs and this is my problem - particularly at this time of tight budgets.

There are a lot of reasons why companies invest in a country but there is evidence that the level of tax is nowhere near important as company bosses often claim.

Bluntly, I think the more important case for fiscal autonomy is if we can raise taxes and borrowing to stop cuts coming Scotland’s way rather than how can exacerbate the spending cuts by offering tax giveaways - whatever these businessmen might say.

Glad to have fulfilled one birthday wish to have featured on a Go Lassie Go blog though!

A devastating & timely critique Joan.

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