Friday, 1 May 2015

On 7 September 2014 Gordon Brown, with the explicit and full authority of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, promised the Scottish electorate, if we voted ‘No’ to Independence in the Referendum of 18 September, that all the main UK parties - Tory, Labour and Lib-Dem - were united in promising “Home Rule” for Scotland “as close to a federal state as you can be.”  That is why the SNP are campaigning in this 2015 General Election for Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA), that is to say Holyrood being given the power to keep, and spend as we wish, all taxes raised in Scotland.   

But now we are seeing the same desperate scare stories that we saw in the later stages of the Independence Referendum campaign to prevent us achieving this. Why should this be so?   The Unionists know that achieving FFA at Holyrood will result in huge benefits for Scotland - leading to an unstoppable surge for full Independence.

Before each Westminster Election, the Party in opposition always says the same thing, namely "once we get our hands on the books we will be able to tell you what we will do".  This of course to a large extent is true and we can only consider pre-election promises of major changes in policy as "speculative".  Politicians are not accountants and can often ignore sound advice given to them by Civil Servants, and at the highest level can often panic when things don’t work out as expected.  One incident comes to mind which shows how easily this can happen.  

Whilst a Civil Servant and working on taxation figures for the National Budget, I received a phone call from a very anxious Chancellor of the Exchequer, who enquired why the Tax Revenues collected to date were only 50% of the expected figure of 60%.  It gave me much pleasure to tell him that due to a Scottish bank holiday the figure of revenues from the Scottish Whisky Industry had failed to arrive in time to be included in the current total. The next week the figure shot up to 72%.  

Whilst times have greatly changed and payments from most large companies go directly to London, (which will cause some disentangling problems when we get Full Fiscal Autonomy) but the bottom line is always the same:  Only be getting full control of both tax raising and spending powers will Scotland thrive.  The unionist media are scared stiff of this happening and, as they do know the position of Scotland's hidden wealth, we will see an even wider fear campaign leading up to the 7th May.

Some facts that emerged prior to the Referendum are worth recalling.  

Firstly.  Scottish taxpayers have for the last 33 years paid more tax per head of population than their counterparts south of the Border. 

Secondly. The "Financial Times", a newspaper which values its international reputation for honesty and integrity above any political expediency, published in detail on 2 February 2014 how much better off Scotland would be from Day 1 of gaining Independence (my article was printed in the Scots Independent of February 2014 and can also be viewed on my blog at

Most senior Westminster politicians that I encountered during my career had scant knowledge of how the financial system works.  One of the best current examples is Danny Alexander, whom in a letter I sent to all Highland local newspapers he was described by me as "a mere puppet, reading from a script given to him, whilst his Tory masters pulled the strings" (only the Danny loving "Inverness Courier" failed to publish).

Now we are back to pre-referendum scare mongering in a last ditch effort by the pals Labour and the Tories to prevent the SNP from sweeping the boards on May 7th and lead the way to fiscal autonomy with our powerful presence in Westminster.  

Let us take one example of their false manipulations.  The fall in oil prices has been seized upon with glee to claim that this would bankrupt an Independent Scotland. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the start of the "Oil Boom", some £250 billion of Scottish Tax Revenues have gone directly to the London Exchequer and added directly to the Consolidated Fund which contains taxes from all other sources.

Scotland, with a mere twelfth of the UK population, has therefore received through the Barnett Formula only a minor share of this. If it had either Full Fiscal Autonomy or Independence, every penny would have belonged to Scotland, making it a very rich country. Even in the future, were there to be a 50 per cent drop in oil revenues, it would still be a big bonus for Scotland.

This is just one example of why the Unionists will not give Scotland full fiscal control. 

Where are you hiding Gordon Brown?

[Also published in the “Scots Independent”]

             See also:  More blogs by John Jappy