Wednesday 27 April 2011

Keep the Balls in the air

One of the great, towering intellects of the last Labour Government (UK by the way), Edward Michael Balls, a former pupil of Nottingham High School and former member of the Oxford University Conservative Association has graced the Scottish election with his estimable presence and delivered to us the fruits of his great and deep thoughts (or perhaps he would rather have it as casting pearls before swine).

He informed us with great magnanimity that Labour's recession would have been disastrous for an independent Scotland.  Does he think it was good for a Scotland bound to the UK?

Then, of course, he suggested that a second term in Government for the SNP would be "complete disaster".  Seems to me that that's a bit of a flamin cheek considering the record of the UK Government that he was part of for so long.

Still, I'm delighted he took the time to visit.  Mind how you go!

Sunday 24 April 2011

Labour reshuffle?

Twitter was alive last night with strong rumours about a Labour reshuffle at Iain Gray's relaunch tomorrow, the story being that Andy Kerr was about to be dropped from Labour's front bench as a result of a series of poor performances.  The rumours were so strong that Labour was forced to issue a denial to Angus Macleod of the Times.  Strikes me that it's possible that Iain Gray bottled it when it came to the crunch or that Kerr is indeed going and Angus spoke to a member of Labour staff who hadn't been informed about the plan.

I had thought that a relaunch 10 days out from polling was a strange measure smacking of desperation but when the relaunch starts to go wrong on top of the entire campaign going wrong, Labour must really be in trouble.  In the aftermath of the 2007 election a friend of mine remarked that he thought Labour would look back on the leadership of Jack McConnell as their halcyon days.  I thought he was daft at the time but it's starting to look like he's a bit of a clairvoyant.

Mind you go!

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Labour's supermarket tax proposal?

I can't resist a bit of reading from time to time and so I've eventually drifted to Labour's "Manifesto for Growth".  Even with Labour's recent record on economic matters I thought it would be interesting.  It's not all that interesting (actually pretty boring) but there is one wee thing; this paragraph:

We will work to ensure that Scotland is competitive and will do so through the taxation system, by investing in our transport and communication infrastructure and in skills, so our young people are job-ready and meet the needs of business. 

Elsewhere in the document there are commitments to continue the SNP's Small Business Bonus, to not raise the "tartan tax" and to maintain parity with the English poundage on non-domestic rates (which would actually be a slight rise in business rates, but I'm sure that they didn't mean that or they wouldn't have said 'maintain', they're just unaware of the financial landscape) and Gray recently gave in and accepted that the SNP's Council Tax freeze is the right thing to do.

So here's the question - from which part of the taxation system does Labour intend to find the resources to fund this investment?  They've ruled out most of it and it appears to me that there is one avenue left open by this document.  Remember the Tesco Tax?  The large retailer levy was condemned by Labour when John Swinney proposed it, but so was the Council Tax freeze, free prescriptions, and anything else proposed by the SNP and Labour has performed one volte-face after another.

Yup, I think Labour's proposing a Tesco tax.  Whodathunkit?