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Greens see red

Brian Taylor | 16:07 UK time, Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The setting could scarcely have been more Green: hard by the bio-diversity section of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

There were veggie sandwiches on offer along with the obligatory bacon rolls.

The statutory charming infant was on hand, quietly munching on a copy of the manifesto.

But this was hard-edged politics nonetheless. Indeed, at some points, it sounded more Red than Green - although, of course, those two traditions have frequently overlapped in the past.

Patrick Harvie is a shrewd politician. He plainly sees a gap in the market, presented by the sundry efforts to cope with UK spending cuts as they impact on Scotland.

Mr Harvie is not for coping. Indeed, as he answered umpteen questions from the wicked media, he seemed to be tempted to break into a chant: "They say cut back, we say fight back."

But, while he joins the occasional protest, he also aspires to be a player, dealing with the "mainstream" parties as he calls them.

The Greens, you may recall, signed a pact with the SNP in the early days after the last election when Alex Salmond was still seeking chums.

Numbers game

That was before he discovered the joys of minority government.

In practice, little came of that pact. And the Greens' reputation with the mainstreamers rather came unstuck when Patrick Harvie and Robin Harper swithered over a deal which could have saved the SNP budget which, temporarily, fell.

The Greens blame last-minute intervention by the FM. Whatever, the other parties may tend to be somewhat cautious as a consequence.

The issue may not arise, of course. The Greens may not have the numbers.

The arithmetic, more generally, may not stack up. The Greens may refuse to bargain, pleading principle.

Their red lines, they say, are opposition to nuclear and coal-fired power stations; free education; and efforts to protect the poor from cuts.

The last one is open to interpretation.

The second would match either the SNP or Labour manifestos.

'Reverse cuts'

On the face of it, the first would present less of a challenge to the SNP than Labour, at least with regard to the principle of nuclear power (although not coal.)

And that "gap in the market"? Mr Harvie argues that his rivals are being pusillanimous.

Instead of coping, they should reverse the cuts and increase taxation in Scotland.

The Greens insist that their tax plans would benefit the bulk of folk who are on relatively low incomes and in relatively small properties.

But, on examination, there wasn't over much in the way of precise detail at the launch itself.

They intend to replace the council tax and business rates with a system of Land Value Taxation.

As Mr Harvie noted, this is an idea with an extended pedigree in radical politics.

The Greens say that folk who are currently in council tax bands A to E would benefit, roughly 85% they reckon.

'Speculative landowners'

Those above would pay more - as would "big business" and those who are leaving land unused.

This system, they say, would deter speculative landowners.

But what about the impact on business?

Small concerns, they insist, would not be hit. Larger companies could afford to pay.

Beyond that, they plan an increase in the basic rate of income tax, using the Scottish variable rate for the first time.

If cuts are still in process, there would be an increase of half of one per cent from 2013.

And what would all this buy? Investment in affordable housing, further and higher education, home insulation: £2.6bn for local authorities more generally.

They are against the Forth replacement crossing and the Aberdeen by-pass, preferring to fund public transport infrastructure projects.

And finally, sport. They favour "community ownership" of clubs to help Scotland's national game. (For the avoidance of doubt, that's football.)

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Another overlooked aspect to the election:- Freedom and democracy. Labour use the media to subvert democracy and freedom. When a supposed impartial broadcaster is actively campaigning for Labour and when we see another news site which doesn’t support Labour subjected to a Denial of Service attack to silence it. When in power they introduced a raft of "security" powers. Some of which were used again to subvert democracy and freedom of speech. They have had more members than any other party jailed, charged or caught and let off on corruption than any other party. There have been allegations of vote rigging. This party must not be allowed to govern they are a threat to freedom and democracy and must be stopped.

  • Comment number 2.

    Think of a number and then half it.

    That more or less summarises Labour's approach to cutting cancer waiting times.

    They are all puffed up that their two week waiting policy is top of voters' agenda.

    But Labour have a very poor record here. When they were last in charge of Scotland's NHS they promised to bring in a 62-day cancer treatment waiting time - but failed to do so in their entire time in office from 1999 to 2007.

    What a difference a competent minister makes. Nicola Sturgeon met the 62 day target within a year of taking office. Then she went further, by bringing more patients into the target category. She then set a 31 day target which the NHS met a year ahead of schedule. She is now working towards the two week figure.

    Labour's record on health is appalling and they just cannot be trusted with this or any other promise. For example:
    When Labour ran the NHS... In March 2007 there were 32,000 outpatients waiting more than 12 weeks - under the SNP by 2011 this figure had fallen to 150.
    When Labour ran the NHS...there were "hidden waiting lists". These were abolished by the SNP.
    When Labour ran the NHS...it was impossible to find a dentist. The SNP opened a new dental school in Aberdeen to train more. Now 1 million more people have access to an NHS dentist.
    When Labour ran the NHS...they wanted to close A&E units in Monklands and Ayr. The SNP kept them open along with other threatened local hospital services.
    When Labour ran the NHS...it was being slowly privatised, with private firms building and owning hospitals under PFI. The SNP ended that scandal. They also ended Labour's other privatisation experiment by bringing Strathcathro hospital back into the NHS.
    When Labour ran the NHS...prescription charges kept on rising even for the low paid with chronic conditions. The SNP has abolished prescription charges.
    When Labour ran the NHS...superbugs were a serious problem. Since 2007 the SNP has cut the rate of the hospital acquired infections C. Diff and MRSA by 70%.
    How was this achieved? By effective hands on management and a commitment to NHS founding principles. For example Sturgeon tripled the investment to tackle Hospital Acquired Infections and employed 1000 extra cleaners. She also established a tough inspectorate and maintained NHS spending in real terms. And she stopped health boards contracting out the work.
    The SNP have promised to maintain health spending and plan to introduce an early detection system for cancer which could eventually save 300 lives a year. I have more faith in that promise than Labour's empty one. If they couldn't deliver before, why now? Is Gray's team vastly superior to that of Jack McConnell? I don't think anyone in Scotland believes that...

  • Comment number 3.

    On the STV live webchat with Bernard Ponsonby Iain Gray could not cite any evidence to support how his party’s knife crime policy would work. Labour continue to insist on mandatory 6 month sentences for anyone caught carrying a knife, a policy opposed by senior police officers including Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, the head of the Violence Reduction Unit. Asked how many extra prisoners there would be, all Gray could say was 'several hundred.' This was immediately shown to be wrong when the interviewer produced a Parliamentary Question showing that 1,300 folk would go to jail - enough to fill another Barlinnie. On claiming it would have a deterrent effect he then failed to produce any evidence based research to back up this claim. How does he justify jailing an 18 year old first offender caught with a blade? Does Labour honestly think an automatic jail sentence will help that youth's life chances?
    This was Iain Gray being found out on knife crime. It is now clear Labour have no facts, figures or costings to back up their unworkable policy. Iain Gray is also guilty of utter hypocrisy because it was during his time as deputy justice minister that knife crime rose by 12 per cent in a single year - the biggest rise since devolution.
    Compare that with the SNP's record of a 30 per cent fall in knife crime since 2007, as overall crime has fallen to a 32-year low, thanks to the 1,000 extra police officers the SNP has put on the streets of Scotland and youth education initiatives such as No Knives, Better Lives and the work of the Violence Reduction Unit in targetting gangs.

  • Comment number 4.

    Andy Kerr's election campaign has come under further fire over statements on the cost of knife crime.
    In last week's East Kilbride Mail, a spokesman for Labour’s Finance spokesman responded to criticism that literature circulated by Mr Kerr's campaign team was highly inaccurate.
    Mr Kerr's spokesman dismissed as 'a typo' claims in Andy Kerr's campaign literature that the NHS spent £3 billion treating knife crime victims in hospital.
    The spokesman went on to claim that the £3 billion actually referred to the total cost of knife crime to Scotland.
    However Mr Kerr’s opponent for the East Kilbride constituency has pointed out no source was given for this figure, and it does not match evidence already in the public domain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'd like to think that we've all, or some of us anyway, wised up to the 'second vote green' type of thing. The regional list seats are vital, and votes on that paper are most certainly not a second preference type of arrangement. This is not AV!
    The regional seats allocate the wishes of the electorate taking into account the constituency seats. In other words for those unfortunate enough to be stuck in red tory strongholds it is the regional seats that will return SNP members and see the government back in power. It is very much a first preference, in fact essential for Scotland's future.

    Is that what the polls are saying Brian, or are you still ignoring them?

  • Comment number 6.

    Look's like Mr Harvie will have a large diet of humble pie or a lonely time whoever "wins" next month.

    His "red lines" seem to have ruled out a pact with anybody but the chameleonic L-Ds, who could end up as junior partners to the Scottish Greens in a tiny "rainbow" alliance.

    I can't somehow see the SNP being prepared to risk cancelling the Forth bridge or the Aberdeen by-pass. And I can't see Mr Ed allowing dour Iain to go non-nuclear, whilst Aunty Bella's Cons are clearly beyond Harvie's pale, as doubtless he is beoynd Ball's.

  • Comment number 7.

    Plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by Labour government ministers and the world's largest oil companies the year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq, government documents show. The papers, revealed here for the first time, raise new questions over Labour’s involvement in the war, which had divided Tony Blair's cabinet and was voted through only after his claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.The minutes of a series of meetings between Labour ministers and senior oil executives are at odds with the public denials of self-interest from oil companies and Western governments at the time. The documents were not offered as evidence in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war. In March 2003, just before Britain went to war, Shell denounced reports that it had held talks with Downing Street about Iraqi oil as "highly inaccurate". BP denied that it had any "strategic interest" in Iraq, while Tony Blair described "the oil conspiracy theory" as "the most absurd". More Labour lies.

  • Comment number 8.

    The election is also about Labour handing back powers to London:-

    It has been well highlighted the new “tax powers” the Scotland Bill would introduce are unworkable and unusable. They are only being introduced to give the impression greater powers on tax have been devolved.

    However the worst and largest part of the Scotland Act is in the precedent it will set in returning powers. Under the democratic referendum the Scottish people held to create the Scottish Parliament. The voted for the powers we have at the moment to be devolved. The also democratically voted on the idea of powers being devolved not powers being returned. Devolution was always supposed to be a one way process.

    The unionists most notably Labour are disregarding and flouting the results of the only democratic referendum held on devolution of powers. They have no mandate to do so and do it is against a democratic referendum.

    The worst part is if they succeed the will set a precedent. Devolution was always perceived to be a one way process. If they are allowed to begin reversing devolution they will have set the precedent that any powers, any part of devolution can be reversed at any time. No part of devolution will be safe.

    Some of the Powers and Responsibilities Being Returned

    The end of Scots Law. The Bill wants to make the Supreme Court Scotland’s highest law maker. It will also have the ability to suspend bills passed by the Scottish Parliament.

    Control of Insolvency (debt) London want Scotland control and legislative abilities handed to London again there will only be British legislation again this impacts on Scots Law being separate.
    Control of charities Scotland will no longer have "Scottish" charities all charities will come under London there will only be British charities. In future if you give money to a charity it will be a “British” charity who will decide how much if any it chooses to give to Scotland (remember the £80 million Scot’s charity money redirected to the London Olympics).

    Control over regulating Health Professions London wants this back even though Health is devolved they want to control regulation of our Health professions.

    A return of drugs legislation.

    London wants control over gambling legislation too.

    There is also a lot being said of breaking down the separateness of the Scottish Parliament and Westminster.

    There is also talk of "The UK Parliament should end its self-denying ordinance
    of not debating devolved matters as they affect Scotland, and the House of
    Commons should establish a regular “state of Scotland” debate. Meaning Westmonster can now debate devolved matters and increase LCM usage London legislating on devolved matters.

    "A standing joint liaison committee of the UK Parliament
    and Scottish Parliament should be established to oversee relations and to consider
    the establishment of subject-specific ad hoc joint committees." Again Westminster wants to be involved and interfere in devolved matters.

    "Committees of the UK and Scottish Parliaments should
    be able to work together and any barriers to this should be removed" and "Any barriers to committees in either Parliament being able to share
    information, or hold joint evidence sessions, on areas of mutual interest,
    should be removed."

    Barriers being removed means making there no division of powers more power sharing again interference. There is a lot of mention of removing barriers and working closely with Westmonster on devolved issues. Interference and control.

    These are only some of the issues and legislation being passed back there is more. More powers are going than we are getting! This is tantamount to an attack on devolution itself. Don't be fooled by a gradual increase of powers we are seeing a massive reversal of powers.
    What do we gain?

    Control of speed limits
    Control of air guns
    Control of drink driving

    The conclusion has to be that the idea of devolution itself is under attack. They are taking far more than they are giving and what they are giving is of little importance. A vote for any unionist party is a vote for a gradual return to direct control. It took us long enough to get even a slither of democracy and freedom. Repetitive

    Scottish insolvency laws were always seen as much fairer than the English insolvency laws. So for those struggling with debt the Scotland Bill will make you worse off Labour are handing control to London. Where as before you came under Scots Law if you are in debt you will now be subject to English Law while living in Scotland. This is the first time in 300 years that Scots Law has began to be moved to English Law and may set a trend.

  • Comment number 9.

    "They are against the Forth replacement crossing and the Aberdeen by-pass, preferring to fund public transport infrastructure projects."

    This is nothing more than wish thinking.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's worth pointing out the Greens hope to trick people into voting for them. Most of their campaign is about convincing people they should use their second vote to vote Green. The second vote is just as important as the first and splitting the vote could cost a party the election. If you want to vote for example for the only Scottish Party running in the election it would be advisable to cast a vote for them for both votes.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'll repost from previous thread as Brian still thinks that red is left wing when the truth shows a different picture.

    Who are the Tartan Tories?

    'In short, then? Don't believe the hype. Contrary to the impression being portrayed in the media, the Scottish election offers voters a real ideological choice – Labour and the Tories on one side, the SNP and the Greens on the other, and the Lib Dems desperately trying to shake off the baggage of the London coalition to join the latter's broad-church left-of-centre team.'

  • Comment number 13.

    with respect Vlad8 - it was £184 million (that's one hundred and eighty million) lottery money intended for Scotland that 36 Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MPs voted to give to the Olympics! Glasgow, supposedly Labour's favourite child, lost an estimated £20.9 million - Labour maintain Glasgow as Europe's "capital of crime and poverty" and have done for almost all of the last 70 years - they then tell Glaswegians vote for us or you'll lose your benefit! I still have the list of names of those 36 Scottish MPs whose shame should be as deep as their hatred for their native land. Shame unfortunately has no effect on these clowns - why bother when you can sit in London on a fat salary and expenses regime. Labour must be destroyed in Scotland and rediscover it's decent roots - they certainly lack decency now. Do we need to rehearse Blair etc all over again?

  • Comment number 14.

    Brian wrote:
    "They intend to replace the council tax and business rates with a system of Land Value Taxation.

    As Mr Harvie noted, this is an idea with an extended pedigree in radical politics.

    The Greens say that folk who are currently in council tax bands A to E would benefit, roughly 85% they reckon."

    With LIT is relatively simple to work out how much you would pay allowing for any & from 3.5 to 5.

    How exactly would Land Value Tax work - how much land would you need to occupy before it was taxed - would the area occupied by your home count or would there be a minimum of an acre of land?

    If the former would there be a cap to prevent the richest paying their fair share as currently happens with Council tax?

    These questions need answering before I would consider giving the Greens my 2nd vote never mind my first.



  • Comment number 15.

    #10 vlad8
    "The second vote is just as important as the first and splitting the vote could cost a party the election. If you want to vote for example for the only Scottish Party running in the election it would be advisable to cast a vote for them for both votes."

    You're right about vote splitting. In fact if your choice of candidate doesn't get in to the plurality seat, then his or her party will get zero representation unless you vote for that party on the list.

    But you're wrong re "the only Scottish Party running in the election". The Scottish Greens, registered with an Edinburgh address, are an entirely separate party from the E&W Greens, though slightly more allied to them than, say, the SNP/PC alliance. The SSP is also a Scottish Party, as are some of the other smaller parties.

    OTOH, Scottish Conservative and Unionist, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour Party & Scottish Liberal Democrats are all "registered descriptions" of political parties registered in London.

    You can search the Party registers on the EC website, here, by clicking on the Registration search link.

  • Comment number 16.

    Vlad8

    Correct. The Greens are electoral imposters. They deserve no seats. They are taking advantage of an uncritical press and use an abuse of the voting system. The list system was devised to sort out the anomalous distribution of FPTtP seats due to the flawed FPTP system.
    The Greens, who do none of the hard and expensive graft of the rest of us contesting FPTP seats, sail in with no expense to the seats that should be provided to those on the lists of the parties that actually stand for most constituencies

  • Comment number 17.

    On balance do we benefit or not from having a truly Green voice in the Scottish Parliament, as opposed to the Green-lite or Green-nil from the mainstream parties?
    In the end I think we do benefit from the Green voice being heard in such a manner, rather from the outside looking in.

    However the Greens need to develop from being a protest party and hence vote into something far more robust if they are ever to make a real breakthrough. This should include a decent effort at some constituency challenges in addition to the PR list.

  • Comment number 18.

    taimoshan

    Duly noted I'll update that for next time :)

  • Comment number 19.

    Could the Tartan Tories be a party run by public school boys who then went to Oxford then onto career politics who have never had a proper job. A party who adopted most of the Tories policies then allowed a minority to get rich at the expense of the rest?

    That would be Labour then!

  • Comment number 20.

    What choice do Scotland's Smokers have at the Scottish Election.

    http://f2cscotland.blogspot.com/2011/04/hobsons-choice-at-scottish-polls.html

  • Comment number 21.

    "Beyond that, they plan an increase in the basic rate of income tax, using the Scottish variable rate for the first time."

    Of course thanks to Labour this would be pointless. They have sabotaged the Tax Raising powers being awarded to Scotland making them useless. Under the system any extra raised using the tax raising powers would be taken away from the block grant. Thus cancelling out the extra revenue. Labour have ensured the Parliaments new tax raising powers are useless and unworkable.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hobsons Choice got it right there are too many levels of government in Scotland. Unfortunately he was wrong in calling for an end to the Scottish Parliament (predictable as he isn't Scottish). It's Westminster that should be for the chop!

  • Comment number 23.

    We are now at the stage where Fairy Tales are all over the place and some of the performances on TV Newsnight Scotland show that some training has been done at "Widow Twanky's school of Performing Arts".
    I have read some of the Labour Literature letterbox stuff about knife crime and now believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow, at least Andy Kerr would like to think there is so he can get it.
    Other tales included Aunty Anna saying without a hint of a smile
    "If it wasn't for us there would not have been an increase in Bobbies on the beat "
    True but it sounded like Burke and Hare stating that there would not have been advances in Medicine if we hadn't done our bit in Edinburgh.
    I prefer to think of the Labour Manifesto as Grimm's Tales rather than pure Walt Disney except with Walt you at least get the music, Andy's favourite,
    "Somewhere over the Rainbow"

  • Comment number 24.

    In case anyone missed it, here's today's weegreychickencarcrash!

    Gray is a liability, says Galloway
    (UKPA) – 1 hour ago
    George Galloway has said the SNP will win the Scottish election "quite comfortably".
    Speaking at the manifesto launch in Glasgow for George Galloway Coalition Against Cuts, he said Labour had thrown away its early lead and that its biggest electoral liability was leader Iain Gray.
    The ex-Labour MP said: "The Labour Party, who had this election apparently in their hands, have contrived to lose it - lose it with their dull and negative campaign and lose it with the monkey on their back that's called Iain Gray."
    Referring to earlier party figures, he added: "I don't know how that party of Willie Ross, and Bruce Millan, and Donald Dewar shrunk to the extent that it became the party of Iain Gray."
    Mr Galloway said Labour's current situation will mean "the SNP are going to win and, at the current rate of acceleration, win quite comfortably".
    He said his coalition was the party which stood for "real Labour values" and urged Glasgow voters not to "waste" their second vote on Labour which is expected to have a strong showing in the Glasgow constituencies.
    He added: "No less than 25% of SNP voters are against Scottish independence. So am I but I know why those 25% are voting SNP. It's because the SNP seem more like Labour than Labour. It's perverse, I know, but the SNP has come to seem like a more sincere repository of Labour values."
    Mr Galloway reciprocated the hand of political friendship offered by independent Lothians candidate Margo MacDonald, who offered to work with him at her own manifesto launch last week.
    Mr Galloway conceded that he may have been "too harsh" on some of the MSPs in the chamber. Aside from praising Mrs MacDonald and Alex Salmond, who he described as "like watching Jim Baxter strolling through a pub team", it was clear he held very few other MSPs in high regard.
    He added: "If Alex Salmond fell under a bus, and I very much hope that he doesn't, the SNP will be in a very serious difficulty in replacing him."
    Copyright © 2011 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

  • Comment number 25.

    Vlad - if i wanted to read the content of other websites, i would go to them. Original content on the blog is much more interesting.

    At least Harvie is brave enough to call out a need to raise tax. there is always the chance that he could be the king maker and if he lands one policy, good on him.

  • Comment number 26.

    ggg Because the BBC and other news bodies are so contrived and controlling I am attempting to take concise points from various sources which address the media lies to people who maybe are only aware of the news according to the BBC. Also I can say and do what I like so get used to it.

  • Comment number 27.

    ggg "At least Harvie is brave enough to call out a need to raise tax."

    My point (not from a web site) "Of course thanks to Labour this would be pointless. They have sabotaged the Tax Raising powers being awarded to Scotland making them useless. Under the system any extra raised using the tax raising powers would be taken away from the block grant. Thus cancelling out the extra revenue. Labour have ensured the Parliaments new tax raising powers are useless and unworkable."

    Suggests it's a riduculous policy under the Scotland Act. If you were to have something constructive and useful to say regarding that. Possibly it wouldn't be quite so ridiculous.

  • Comment number 28.

    "“Cosla officials do not speak for council administrations, nor do they speak for the people of Scotland who welcome and value the SNP’s policy to freeze council tax throughout the next parliament.”

    Cosla declined to comment...."

    SNP councils warn Cosla: You do not speak for us in the Scotland Herald. Interesting. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/election/snp-councils-warn-cosla-you-do-not-speak-for-us-1.1096992

  • Comment number 29.

    It's a shame, there was some enjoyable debate on the blog over the weekend, it seems angrier during the week. I absolutely respect your right to have your own opinion, but i read TartanPravda myself, so just highlighting that i don't need to do it here as well.

    The interesting thing with the minority parties platform is it is not that we should ever expect them to deliver them all of what they offer, but it gives you the feel of what they stand for. I agree with about half of what the Greens are saying, but my view is that their voice in parliament is more interesting than another, lower down the list MSP from any of any of the main parties. I am not a party supporter of the Greens or any other party and enjoy the option the 2 votes give me to support two platforms

  • Comment number 30.

    vlad8
    May I politely suggest that you reduce the number and length of your posts, while I tend to agree with the general thrust of them, such are there frequency and length they do tend to get in the way of a full discussion. Think more of a rapier thrust rather than a bludgeon, otherwise you run the risk of reducing this site to the level of the Scotsman, where post of your length and frequency are used to stifle debate and discussion. We want to encourage debate and discussion for after all the ideas and vision are all with us.

  • Comment number 31.

    While I do not agree with all their ideas, the Greens are at least saying that either some taxes will have to be raised or some spending be cut which is more than can be said for either Labour or the SNP.

    Labour's commitment to fund the extra prison places caused by their proposed new law on knife crime is unrealistic, but the party with the most questions to answer are the SNP.

    Renewables now account for around 20% of Scotland's electricity generation, so the SNP plans to increase it to 100% in 9 years is ambitious to put it mildly. It is great to hear about the new tidal project on Islay and plans for offshore wind, but there will need to be a huge investment to make this happen, and it is not clear to me where the money will come from. The other question is whether it can be achieved without the unit costs spiralling which will lead to higher bills.

    They plan to use £250 million that they have "saved" from the Forth replacement crossing when not a single rivet has been fitted. Ambitious if not foolhardy!

    At the same time, for both Labour and the SNP prescription fees are scrapped, free care for the elderly is maintained, tuition fees are ruled out, promises are made about giving teachers guaranteed jobs and protecting all health spending and maintaining police numbers while the council tax is frozen for a further five years. You would have thought that we were in the middle of a boom period!

    The SNP have said they would like control of corporation tax presumably in order to cut it relative to the rest of the UK, but I have seen no sign of what spending they would cut to cope with the fact that there will be less money coming in.

    They have been able to achieve things over the past 4 years, as there was more money available 2007-11 than there will be over the next few years, but none of their policies seem factored to take this into consideration. In fact University principals, local authorities and police chiefs have been lining up to say that their policies are unworkable. In 2007, they at least had the excuse of not having had government experience, 4 years on this is no longer the case. If the SNP win on 5 May then they may live to regret promising so much when they are unable to fulfil their commitments.

  • Comment number 32.

    Taxing land values is, like local income tax, oh so attractive. And oh so impossible and unfair too!
    Green Parties are such lovely, nice and simple folk! It's almost cruel to drag them into the realities of life.
    But this is meant to be a serious debate. So we have to discuss realities,
    Nobody knows the 'value' of anything until willing buyers and sellers exchange property. Nobody knows what a piece of land is worth until it's sold.
    Moreover, land valuations change radically when development consent is granted.
    So who knows what land could be developed and at what value?

    This charmingly naive land tax idea was floated decades ago by the then Liberal Party. They dropped it when they decided they'd like to be taken seriously. Greens should stick to their serious agenda of protecting our natural environment: a lot of people might think that's a worthwhile objective.

  • Comment number 33.

    #30 soosider

    I agree, too many words certainly dilutes the message. Perhaps the paymasters might consider moving their employee to a piece work contract?

  • Comment number 34.

    Tesco's profits up again. Labour must be so delighted. Wouldn't it be a good idea to tax them a bit more?

  • Comment number 35.

    soosider May I politely suggest that you reduce the number and length of your posts?

  • Comment number 36.

    "It's a shame, there was some enjoyable debate on the blog over the weekend, it seems angrier during the week. I absolutely respect your right to have your own opinion, but i read TartanPravda myself, so just highlighting that i don't need to do it here as well."

    I believe I already answered that point I'll say what I like and keep on saying it. I understand as you are a unionist it runs against your beliefs for anyone else to be allowed an opinion and an entitlement to free speech. It must irk you some when I choose to ignore you.

  • Comment number 37.

    Soosider your whole comment was attacking free speech possibly if you pointed your efforts to making a valid point on something/anything?

  • Comment number 38.

    Each time a Labour lie creeps up I will cut and paste the contrary evidence. It happens so frequently I feel cut and paste is the only way to go! Perhaps if Labour stopped lying and deceiving the Scottish public the need to stop placing the prepared responses will decline. Labour do not like free speech!

  • Comment number 39.

    Soosider did you see what I did there with your request to post less? I declined your advice faster than Iain Grey diving into Subway to hide from the electorate!

  • Comment number 40.

    Tesco's profits up then so will Labours profits be up! Because:-The Labour party have received:

    Since 2002
    £12,942,808.00 from the Sainsbury Family
    Since 2003
    £99,056.50 from Tesco's
    Since 2008
    £29,145.00 from Asda

    The Conservative party have received:

    Since 2004
    £1,179,156.00 from the Sainsbury Family

    The Lib-Dems have received:

    Since 2002
    £36,754.50 from Tesco's

    This was why they blocked the supermarket levy. The supermarket levy would have offered some help against the massive budget cuts. The Federation for Small Businesses in Scotland backed the levy when 74% of their members showed their support for the 'Supermarket tax'. Labour, the Lib Dems and Conservatives voted against it. Then again Labour is the party of big business er the working man nah.

  • Comment number 41.

    University Fees

    Looks like all the Scottish parties (except the Tories) got it right.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8462195/36000-face-losing-place-at-university-because-of-9000-fees.html

    "It threatens a financial headache for the Treasury which must fund the subsidised loans offered to students. "

    So the English Government doesn't save money on Universities afterv all - and the Barnett consequentials mean that the funding gap for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland reduces massively.

  • Comment number 42.

    A conundrum for you Brian Straight Statistics–and a message for Richard Baker over to you.

  • Comment number 43.

    #34
    What a great idea. Wonder why the SNP have never thought of it

  • Comment number 44.

    back to the ballot box conspiricy theories. the postal votes hardly cover a fortnight
    absence from the country. on top of that i got a postal vote pack from glasgow city council today. in it one envelope and av ballot card .the other 1 envelope and a postal voting statement giving instructions for voting by post,but no election ballot paper. thinking it had been an ommision i phoned the helpline no, and was told it was correct and the ballot paper would be sent seperatly within the next few days.

    as their was nothing to that effect in the pack will the average joe. phone or bin it
    theories please!

  • Comment number 45.

    31. At 21:16pm 19th Apr 2011, edinchris wrote:


    'They have been able to achieve things over the past 4 years'

    When people said they wouldn't last 6 months they exceeded that by logical well thought out policies so don't underestimate the extra knowledge they have learnt by hard work.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi all
    Just watched Mr Salmond smack down Paxman on Newsnight several times with consummate ease. Bliss!!

    No contest. .

    I am now watching Mr Gray squirm on the Scottish version
    On knife crime . .

  • Comment number 47.

    I loved the bit about not running away, infact the whole interview was the best bit of comedy on TV tonight. He looked like a rabbit caught in headlights.

  • Comment number 48.

    #46, I was disgusted at Paxmans' grunts and chuckles in the background as Alex was speaking.

    ...but onto Newsnicht Scotland and the wee Gray man... If I were a Labour diehard, I would currently be tying my white bedsheet to the broomhandle and start waving it out the livingroom window.

    I almost felt sorry for Elmer for an instant... but then quickly remembered how bad the Tory's were and how Labour would be just the same.

  • Comment number 49.

    vlad
    I am afraid you have just confirmed my suspicion that you are just here to stifle and spoil discussion and have grave doubts as to the veracity of your political position.
    I will simply ignore all your posts from now on and would urge all others to do likewise

  • Comment number 50.

    Have a chuckle.

    EdinburghBiagi: RT @loveandgarbage : BREAKING: SNP recall sleeper agent Gray to base as his work is nearly done. #sp11 #newsnicht

  • Comment number 51.

    Iain Gray gave a less poor performances on Newsnight Scotland, not that that says a lot. However he was constantly on the back foot. Once again the matter of knife crime came up after explaining the sentencing policy Brewer called it "discretionary mandatory sentencing" as regards the costing he was all over the place claiming that the £500m figure was one readily available in press this after trying the Medics against crime stat which Brewer caught him on. Eventually he stated "thr truth of the matter is" ( a phrase he used often) too many Scots are dying as a result of knife crime. This despite the evidence that this is not the case and in fact most murders happen at home.
    Once again Brewer nailed him on policy changes, which Gray denied was the case, yes it got to that level where he was just denying everything.
    A poor show all together several times Brewer skewered him, but on others he backed off, suspect he was feeling sorry for him.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Re 46. At 23:09pm 19th Apr 2011, callmedave
    & 48. At 23:30pm 19th Apr 2011, Alba4eva

    I dont beleive i have ever seen someone handle Paxman like that. It was certainly enjoyable to watch. I'm sure Paxman appreciated it as he was smiling at the end.



  • Comment number 54.

    48. At 23:30pm 19th Apr 2011, Alba4eva wrote:

    '...but onto Newsnicht Scotland and the wee Gray man... If I were a Labour diehard, I would currently be tying my white bedsheet to the broomhandle and start waving it out the livingroom window.'

    Even Brian's footie team were down to eight men at the end tonight one can wish...

  • Comment number 55.

    Re 48. At 23:30pm 19th Apr 2011, Alba4eva
    "I almost felt sorry for Elmer for an instant... but then quickly remembered how bad the Tory's were and how Labour would be just the same."

    Maybe he is going for the sympathy vote

  • Comment number 56.

    I just found this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USTAtYSTgl0&feature=fvst

    It was shot just prior to the 1997 election day...At 1 minute 30 seconds in, does the 1000 police officer pledge not make the Tory's... or more likely Annabels' claim that under the SNP, there would only have been 500; seem a bit silly?

  • Comment number 57.

    "This is one coalition to be avoided at all costs."

    Jeez, give it a rest. Nobody cares.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    #50. At 23:47pm 19th Apr 2011, cheesed_off wrote:

    Have a chuckle.

    EdinburghBiagi: RT @loveandgarbage : BREAKING: SNP recall sleeper agent Gray to base as his work is nearly done. #sp11 #newsnicht

    --------------------------------------

    OMG That's hilarious although one may need to be accustomed to twitter to find it so.

  • Comment number 60.

    #31 edinchris,

    Ref the 100% renewables by 2020. I suspect that this is a theoretical target, ie to have the "capacity" to generate 100% of our power needs by renewable sources. In practice all it means is that we will have 2 sets of infrastructure for generating power: A renewable set; and a non renewable set. Expensive redundancy that the consumer will have to pay for via their electricity bills.

  • Comment number 61.

    O/T Leaders' Debates

    I see that both broadcasters now have application facilities for audiences for 1 and 3 May. One wants to know name, address and contact details. The other also wants to know voting intentions, party memberships and allegiances. Now who is it you think wants to hand select their audience and manipulate the questions from the floor?

    Anway tune into KwithanE tomorrow for the next instalment. Any polls around Brian - I heard Brewer say they were neck and neck. Funny, I thought there was clear water at the weekend but you haven't mentioned it.

  • Comment number 62.

  • Comment number 63.

    It's clear that if there are any disillusioned DEMS of the CONDEMS, then you'll find a dear GREEN place instead......As for the CONS, could it be that they'll opt for the TARTAN option? Strange bedfellows indeed, but perhaps herein lies an answer, just when will the TARTAN choice, drop their all can do socialist veil......I'm guessing if ever independance secured, it will be an over-night remedy....PS the TARTAN version own goal in the form of an ex-foreign resident of HMP, looks like this one really crossed the line................

  • Comment number 64.

    60. At 09:03am 20th Apr 2011, bingowings87 wrote:

    'Expensive redundancy that the consumer will have to pay for via their electricity bills.'

    Can nuclear power be part of the solution?

    'So let’s remove the subsidies, require nuclear power plants to be fully insured, and put aside adequate funds for decommissioning and long-term radioactive waste disposal. Let’s do the same for all energy sources. Then we can use the market mechanism to find out whether nuclear power plants, or some subset of nuclear power plants, should be part of the energy solution.'

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 cheesed off ,morning, the problem we have is there is no level playing field in the electricity market from generation right thru to retail sales.
    as a supplier they get charged more to place the electricity on the grid. wind farms and nuclear are subsidised the rest are not and where you live is a factor in what you pay for your electricity yet another postcode lottery.
    Sid

  • Comment number 66.

    another reason not to vote for any of the "westminster trio".

    peers claim the house of lords,is full.and the numbers 792 peers is unsustanable and

    is damaging the effectivness of business. since he has come to "power" cameron has
    endorsed 117 appointees!


  • Comment number 67.

    #63 - "PS the TARTAN version own goal in the form of an ex-foreign resident of HMP"

    What you on about, SLAb didn't release Megrahi.

  • Comment number 68.

    The SNP are more Socialist than New-old-new-flipflop-Labour. Jimmy Reid knew that and his daughter knows it too. http://www.snp.org/node/17826

    The sad truth for Labour, is that Labour long ago sold out any remnants of its' social contract with the hard working ordinary people of Scotland. Labour over the last decade have been caught red-handed feeding from the Westminster trough and in a good number of cases have been criminally convicted of doing so.

    The comparing of the SNP to the Right wing partnership of the Labour and Torys, along with their lap-dog Lib-den poodles is worn and tired old politicking which has not been believed by us voters for a long time now.

    SNP are the party of the ordinary people of Scotland.

  • Comment number 69.

    #62, BBC Scotland have been trying desperately to show that the Sun's backing of the SNP won't make much difference and interviewed some people who all claim that they won't change their vote just because the Sun says so. However, these kind of negative stories, a weapon the SNP have always been reluctant to use themselves, do influence people. The article not only decimates the grayman's character but also his record, both in government and opposition. I doubt many waverying supporters would be prepared to vote for him after reading that.

  • Comment number 70.

    They are against the Forth replacement crossing
    -------------------------------------------------

    A waste of money IMO, the new Forth Bridge will come to be known as Salmonds Folly.
    Fixing the old one is what we should be doing.
    Scots leaders seem to have this thing about un-necessary bombastic peacock projects instead of sticking to the knitting.

    Holyrood Parliament- wot a joke
    The Trams- So bad it's not even funny

    ...and now a hugely expensive bridge we can't afford...which will go miles over budget and years over it's timetable.

    How about spending four billion on schools and hospitals and upgrading that Edinburgh Glasgow donkey track.
    ...and a billion to fix the bridge.

    If we can't do it then bring in the Japanese, they'll do it on budget and on time while our own guys flounder around making a mess between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    To give us a comparison about how useless we are nowadays, the most heavily fortified border in the entire Roman Empire, Hadrians Wall, took six years to build.

  • Comment number 71.

    @1 vlad8
    Care to apologise for your smear, now that newsnet have admitted it wasnt a denial of service attack, but their own fault?

  • Comment number 72.

    Brian says ... and finally, sport. They favour "community ownership" of clubs to help Scotland's national game. (For the avoidance of doubt, that's football.)

    We English have many faults, most particularly our shockingly apathetic stance towards politics, which means we do not even have our own Government of England.

    But down here in England, we must generally shake our heads in amazement at the goings-on re: Neil Lennon and what appears to be a seething sectarian hatred just below the surface around Glasgow.

    Around 1975, I was working 'up North', well, Sheffield, and an engineering colleague was from Glasgow and as we worked and chatted, eventually we got around to schooldays and he said that during his school holidays in Glasgow he when down with his friends to the local Catholic school and threw stones at the children in the playground, and when they had their school holidays, they would come to his school and return the favour.

    I was flabbergasted that this was going on on mainland Britain, I had naively thought that this sort of thing only occurred in Northern Ireland.

    Does not seem like much has changed in Glasgow over the decades, which is really sad.

  • Comment number 73.

    #68

    alba , my sentiment s entirely,

    if you consider the bias of the scottish news media including the so called scottish

    press toward the snp and its supporters.its a miracle they are ahead in the polls.

    the press has dumbed down or ignored the ground swell of public oppinion.

    so press join "great rupert in the sky". in wellcoming a,n SNP victory.

    i,m quite sure if you do, like phonex you will rise from the ashes!

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    71. John Ruddy

    Er no everything I said about Labour is true it's fundamentally anti democratic and against free speech.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    57. At 01:41am 20th Apr 2011, Rev_S_Campbell wrote:
    "This is one coalition to be avoided at all costs."

    Jeez, give it a rest. Nobody cares.


    When 25 percent of the population(smokers) are subjected to a Government inspired hate campaign based on the Myth that Second Hand Smoke kills then they have a right to express their views.

  • Comment number 81.

    @76 vlad8
    In you post you claimed that Labour was responsible for bringing down Newsnet. Now that Newsnet have admitted that it was their own fault, will you apologise for that remark?

    Or is it a case of why let the facts get in the way of a good smear?

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    "When 25 percent of the population(smokers) are subjected to a Government inspired hate campaign based on the Myth that Second Hand Smoke kills then they have a right to express their views."

    Yes, somewhere relevant. The fact that a bunch of filthy social lepers want to keep forcing their dirty habit on unwilling bystanders has no connection I can see to the launch of the Scottish Greens manifesto, nor indeed to the Scottish Parliament elections as a whole, since no party is standing on a platform of repealing the popular and successful smoking ban.

  • Comment number 84.

    Wasn't that policy voted number one in a BBC poll :- Having a fag. Having a fag suddenly becomes Labour's only policy. Expect a special report tonight on Reporting Scotland on the benefits of having a fag. Followed by footage of Iain Grey running into a fag shop.

  • Comment number 85.

    #83

    freddy, sang what are we living for?

  • Comment number 86.

    #72

    But down here in England, we must generally shake our heads in amazement at the goings-on re: Neil Lennon and what appears to be a seething sectarian hatred just below the surface around Glasgow.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    None of the nat pack will engage you on this issue.

    And its not just Lennon now. Its now McBride and Godman.

    Its a rather bizarre manifestation of the 'stay quiet and don't get uppity' view that some people here have.

    We have a government which has taken its eye off this ball and ignored it for the past term and they were warned not to do it. For some of the Nats its simply does not exist in their tartan wonderland, or is too much about the uneducated working classes in Glasgow to be spoken about, when in reality it was historically endemic right across class divide and right through the Central Belt.

    If the blog was about sectarianism you could bet your bottom dollar that many would be falling over themselves to blame Catholic Schools for the problem. Its still a modern-day Scottish classic. They'd be too embarrassed to do anything else.

  • Comment number 87.

    Robot04
    "None of the nat pack will engage you on this issue."
    Yet again you are wrong the SNP got involved with the issue after the debauchle of the Celtic/Rangers game. Unsurprisingly they were attacked by Labour and their chums in the media for getting involved. You appear unable or unwilling to get your facts correct you don't work for Labour do you!

  • Comment number 88.

    "None of the nat pack will engage you on this issue."

    That's because trying to score party political points out of this issue is utterly despicable. As far as I'm aware, all the main Scottish political parties have Protestant and Catholic members, and other religions besides. The idea that any of them promote or even tolerate a sectarian agenda is repulsive.

    Nobody knows which (if any) party the vile being who sent these letter bombs votes for, so keep politics out of it.

  • Comment number 89.

    "BBC Scotland have been trying desperately to show that the Sun's backing of the SNP won't make much difference and interviewed some people who all claim that they won't change their vote just because the Sun says so. However, these kind of negative stories, a weapon the SNP have always been reluctant to use themselves, do influence people."

    Agreed, and unimpressive that no attempt at balance has been made to examine what impact the Record's vehement support of Labour has.

    The Herald is at least showing some balance in their new Tabloid in Holyrood U-turn as The Sun comes out for Salmond, which has a surprisingly impartial quote from the BBC's favourite psephologist, Prof. Curtice: "There are always plenty of people who make up their minds about these things at the last minute, but what you have to remember about the paper coming out for Labour in 1997 and the Tories more recently is that both times they were following their readers".

    Even the Record - perhaps accidentally - manages a smidgeon of impartiality in quoting Gorgeous George: Galloway said he believed the SNP would win the Scottish election "quite comfortably".

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    The usual response is:
    "we'll fix it. we'll deal with it." lol
    The powers that be can't even fix potholes, never mind 300 years of raving prejudice.

    The only official "fixing" will be to bury it below the surface and pretend it doesn't exist.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Most of them can live with being second class citizens, you adapt, but independence means the crazies might start to burn homes to the ground."

    Where on Earth does this drivel come from? Why would independence lead to an increase in attacks on Catholics? It's not the Saltire that Rangers fans like to wave around.

  • Comment number 93.

    90. At 14:35pm 20th Apr 2011, ady wrote:

    None of the nat pack will engage you on this issue.

    Ady, your choice of language is out of order.

    But I think the idea that religious extremists in Scotland are only held back
    from violence and biogtry by the Union is about the most absurdly presented
    'Union Dividend' I have heard.

  • Comment number 94.

    My dad had a shop in Dalry road years ago.

    After the first year or so the party balloons drawer only had green balloons left.

    Like I say, it's an integral part of the culture up here in hillbilly land, and it's not confined to the West side.

  • Comment number 95.

    "BBC Scotland have been trying desperately to show that the Sun's backing of the SNP won't make much difference and interviewed some people who all claim that they won't change their vote just because the Sun says so. However, these kind of negative stories, a weapon the SNP have always been reluctant to use themselves, do influence people."


    =========================================================



    Ahhhh aha aha, said he waving a piece of paper,







    Labour welcomed The Sun's support when it switched to Labour from Tory. They were then of the opinion that it could make a difference to how people voted.

    What Labour said about Scottish Sun backing Labour

    General secretary of the Labour Party in Scotland Jack McConnell said: "We welcome the support of the Scottish Sun. New Labour will work hard every day to convince Scottish readers and others to vote for a better future for Scotland." …
    - Herald, 19th March 1997

    George Robertson said: "The Sun has finally woken up to the fact that the Scottish people want a Labour Government, which will be able to deliver a Scottish Parliament."

    What Labour said about the English Sun backing Labour

    …Labour hailed The Sun's decision as the epitome of how New Labour had attracted former Tory voters.

    Mr [Tony] Blair told the paper: "I want to say to those people and to The Sun readers that New Labour is real and it's here to stay.

    "We run for office as New Labour. We will govern as New Labour. That is my bond of trust with you."

    - Press Association, 17th March 1997

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Desperate drivel from the Rev Campbell - he must be really worried by the rising support for the SNP when he resorts to spouting such muck.

  • Comment number 98.

    "Desperate drivel from the Rev Campbell - he must be really worried by the rising support for the SNP when he resorts to spouting such muck. "

    Why would you say such a bizarre thing?

  • Comment number 99.

    "Most of them can live with being second class citizens, you adapt, but independence means the crazies might start to burn homes to the ground."

    My apologies to Rev_S_Campbell. I didn't read it properly and now realise you were commenting on above not saying it....

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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