Ruth Davidson won her party leadership campaign saying the Scotland
Bill was a "line in the sand" IMAGE: STOCKPIX.EU
Scottish independence: Tories in 'disarray' over devolution
The Tories in Scotland have been accused of being in complete 'disarray' over their alternative to independence as reports today claim the Chancellor has a secret plan to devolve income tax if people vote 'No' in the Scottish independence referendum.
At the same time Ed Miliband and David Cameron have been asked to “face facts” and accept that Scotland can be just like Norway, after both leaders heaped praise on the Scandinavian country.
Earlier this year the Prime Minister David Cameron, on a visit to Scotland, argued that more powers for Scotland were "on the table". Mr Cameron's offer contradicted his Scottish leader Ruth Davidson's view that the powers which were then on offer in the Scotland Bill were a "line in the sand."
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Recent reports seemed to reconcile the views of both Tory leaders but again it seems that the Tories are in a "shambles" with Chancellor George Osborne now seemingly hatching a plan to devolve income tax completely to Scotland should Scots vote 'No' in the referendum.
The move could prove to be shrewd for the UK Chancellor as the powers the Treasury would most like to hang on to for financial reasons are corporation tax and North sea oil taxes.
By offering to devolve income tax Mr Osborne could win over many 'Devo Plus' voters who otherwise would prefer independence to the status quo. Such a move would give the 'No' camp something positive to offer during the referendum campaign thus clawing back some of the constitutional centre ground.
The development would help offset initial advances the Yes camp have made into Devo Plus territory.
Sir Tom Hunter today became the third leading Scottish entrepreneur in as many weeks to call for significantly more fiscal powers for the Scottish Parliament. Speaking at the Business in Parliament event this morning, he said: “We in Scotland need fiscal responsibility; quite simply we need to be responsible for what we raise in tax and what we spend in tax.”
Sir Tom's intervention into the debate will heap further pressure on the 'No' parties to explain what they will be campaigning for in the 2014 referendum.
Scotland could thrive like Norway
During a visit to Oslo, David Cameron has this week praised the “vital relationship” between the UK and Norway, with Norway supplying over a quarter of the UK’s energy demands.
This follows on from a speech Ed Miliband gave last month to the Sutton Trust in which he lauded the “more equal” societies in Finland, Norway and Denmark.
Commenting on reports in today's Times, Kenneth Gibson, SNP MSP for Cunninghame North, said:
“The anti-independence parties are continuing to blunder in this very important debate, creating more confusion and head-scratching.
“The Tories and other anti-independence parties do not have a credible or a consistent stance on what the alternative to independence is – one minute the Scotland Bill is a “line in the sand”, the next a vague promise of more powers, and now there are secret plans for the devolution of income tax. Which is it? Or it may well be that their alternative to independence is a big fat zero.
“This simply demonstrates the shambles among the anti-independence parties on the Scottish constitution – they can’t come up with any clarity about what they think the people of Scotland should be able to make decisions on.
“The anti-independence campaign is unravelling – this latest blunder comes after the Tory party in Scotland was ignored and side-lined with David Cameron’s admission that he was ‘not too fussy’ about the poll date.
“With business experts this week welcoming the SNP’s plans for a fairer, more progressive tax to replace stamp duty, saying it will make a huge difference to people’s lives, imagine what Scotland can achieve with the full range of fiscal levers available to any normal parliament.
“While the No camp is in disarray, fighting and meeting behind closed doors, the SNP is setting out the positive benefits of how being independent will make life better for families and individuals across the country.”
No Camp drags Queen into politics
The SNP has criticised the “No” campaign following Lord Michael Forsyth claims on BBC Question Time that the Queen has a political agenda and would fight to stop Scotland becoming an independent country.
Lord Forsyth, well-known for championing the poll-tax, said The Queen and Royal Family would “move heaven and earth to maintain a United Kingdom.”
This will be viewed as a deliberate attempt to scare voters as Lord Forsyth well knows that independence will not affect the United Kingdom which will still be intact regardless of the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum.
SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell described the Tory Lord’s comments as preposterous and ill-judged.
He said: "What an embarrassment for the anti-independence camp, this really is a gaffe of gargantuan proportions just weeks before the re-launching of their campaign.
"It is also extremely insulting – both to the people of Scotland and to the Royal Family - to suggest that the Royal Family would interfere in the politics of the nations of the British Isles.
"It must be a nightmare for Labour grassroots supporters, having to watch the Tory-led anti-independence campaign as the Labour leader in Scotland backs the same anti-independence message as Michael Forsyth. Labour people must be squirming with embarrassment, and will have watched last night’s Question Time through their fingers.
"Scaremongering is the only card the anti-independence parties have as they are unable to present a coherent positive case for the status-quo.
"The people of Scotland are looking at a choice between the pro-independence movement and the Westminster led ultra-negative No parties – I am confident that the people of Scotland will make the right choice at the referendum in 2014."
Support Our: INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM APPEAL
It must be yes ,not for the past but for now and forever in the future for we will have no future if its the same as yesterday.
Why is STV not doing debates?
They might as well say they’ll give everyone in Scotland a gold bar if they vote no.