Following on from yesterday’s article about the BBC’s handling of the Scottish branch of the Tories making lots of noise about Scottish government plans, within its budget. to not pass on a Westminster tax break to higher earners, dear readers, please look out for the number of times you will see or hear in the media over the next few months the phrase “ Scots now pay higher tax rates than those in the rest of the UK.” It’ll become as familiar to you as some of the repetitive phrases of 2014 like “Strength and Security” and “the UK’s broad shoulders”.
We are talking here about the Scottish government not passing on a tax break to less than 1% of Scottish working tax payers, a minimum tinkering, designed not to rock any boats, protecting public services, A decision taken, we now see the consequences being greatly over-exaggerated.
Stuck in an ambush, where Westminster has devolved very limited powers so that they can look like they’ve complied with the fabled promises of the desperate panicked last days before the 2014 referendum, when they were losing, but designed in such a way that to use them without also having charge of the main levers of financial control, which are still firmly retained by Westminster, is fraught with danger, this Scottish government budget is still significant.
It is significant both symbolically and historically, as it heralds a point in time when major financial decisions (partial powers as they may be) not just decisions about how to spend the portion of our own money that Westminster decides in their benevolence to give us, start to be made by representatives of the people of Scotland, in Scotland, for the benefit of the people of Scotland, and that can only be a good thing.
The Unionist propaganda machine will however surely reflect the ire which they feel at the prospect of yet another demonstrated example of Scotland being different to the rest of the UK, validating that it is indeed a country in its own right, a country more than capable of making its own decisions.