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Friday, 12 June 2015

The Full Fiscal Economy coordinated unionist attack - latest sortie by Andrew Neil

The Essence of the FFA unionist coordinated attack on the SNP

Since the new Parliament, the SNP and Scottish Government have been subjected to a sustained and coordinated unionist attack on full fiscal autonomy (full fiscal responsibility), with a virtually identical script delivered by unionist politicians in both Westminster and Holyrood, aided by their sympathetic press corps, compliant or tunnel-visioned agencies and think tanks, and wittingly or unwittingly, by the BBC.

The attack has been simplistic, has relied on a repertoire of identical core assertions, and is simply a variant of “Scotland is not capable of running its own economy

The core assertions  and assumptions are -

1. The SNP and the Scottish Government claimed during the referendum campaign that Scotland would have full fiscal autonomy implemented by March 2016, 18 months after a YES vote.

2. The Scottish economy was, during the 2012-2014 referendum campaign, and is currently crucially dependent on -

oil revenues values within a specific range of forecast oil prices

a specific forecast of extractable oil remaining over a specific number of years.

3. The SNP therefore should be prepared to instantly implement full fiscal autonomy now, or at least by March 2016 under the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament, should the UK Government deign to grant it under The Scotland Act.

4. The SNP and the Scottish Government are currently afraid to pursue or implement full fiscal autonomy because of the collapse in the price of crude oil.

5. The SNP and the Scottish Government would have ‘black hole’, i.e. a deficit of somewhere around or above £8 billion, and could only manage this under full fiscal autonomy by a draconian increase in income tax, or draconian cuts to welfare and public services – or both.

6. The SNP and the Scottish Government must accept - as holy writ - the forecasts, calculations and assumptions of the UK Treasury  and/or the OBR or the IFS, and these must not be challenged.

7. There is no difference between Scotland’s full fiscal autonomy implemented and managed as a fully independent nation and full fiscal autonomy implemented and managed as  devolved component of the UK under Westminster sovereignty, embodied in the Scotland Act.

Each and every one of these assertions and assumptions is untrue, unwarranted and unacceptable.

I do not propose to reiterate or marshall again all the arguments and rebuttals to demolish this FFA Ladybird Book of Economics – I said my piece in my blog and Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney, Stewart Hosie and Tommy Sheppard et al have ably rebutted them elsewhere point by point.

Here is the latest mini-onslaught by Andrew Neil on Stewart Hosie MP on today’s Daily Politics. Stewart calmly and competently rebuts every point in the face of Neil’s trademark Paxman-style interrogation.