“Alex and friend talk balls.”
The Scottish National Party has launched its “national conversation” on Scotland’s future. The trouble is that no-one’s listening. It is a dead conversation – an ex-issue. It’s as if they’d called a meeting to discuss Scottish apathy and no-one had turned up.
The SNP is a minority administration and to move the idea of a referendum on Scottish devolution, it would need the support of other parties. The only other party which has so far expressed support is the Scottish Green Party. That’s TWO votes to add to the 47 SNP votes. The SNP will still need to find at least 12 more votes in order to gain a majority.
Unfortunately, both the Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives are united in their opposition to a referendum on Scottish devolution. They’re probably ahead of Alex “I know Sean” Salmond but only because they have done their sums.
It would seem that Alex Salmond and the SNP are developing into a single-issue party.
It is not very clear as to why the SNP is in such an apparent hurry to organise a referendum on devolution. Firstly, the estimated cost of a referendum is about £12 million and secondly the imminent General Election could deliver a pro-devolution vote for free. All that they have to do is to persuade people to vote for them.
One aspect of the SNP’s blindfold headlong rush towards devolution is the question of full fiscal autonomy for Holyrood.
The Calman review on devolution has already made specific recommendations, including the power for the Scottish government to vary the rate of income tax by up to 10p in the pound – but apparently that is not enough.
So far, Alex Salmond has “blanked” Sir Kenneth Colman and has not appeared before the Commission to give evidence. His reasons for refusing to co-operate with the commission are less to do with his “Braveheart ” pipe-dream but more to do with the fact that the Commission was voted into being by the Unionist parties – that’s everyone else, including Labour and Conservatives.
Mr Salmond is seeking powers that would enable Scotland to borrow money independently of the British Exchequer either on the open market or directly from the IMF.
Just over one year ago, Mr Salmond was citing Ireland and Iceland as examples of economies to which Scotland should aspire. The danger is that under his stewardship, Scotland would be very likely to emulate Ireland and Iceland – especially Iceland.