arushAnthony Rush believes Scottish Labour made a fundamental mistake with its tax policy, and says he wants us to champion compassionate government.

 

I will not mince words and offer condolences for what wasn’t a good result. The Scottish Labour Party should be ashamed of it.

I agree that the idea of investing in people is right in principle, but I believe the policies to achieve a satisfactory return on that investment are wrong.  I want compassionate government. I don’t say “more compassionate” because I don’t believe that the Tories or SNP are at all compassionate. The former hardly hides it, and with the latter compassion is only pretence.

I don’t deny that Scotland could be independent, but for me it’s the worst of all options.  I am sad to say that the next 5 years are at best going to be 5 years of further economic stagnation.  With the reduced level of contribution from the North Sea we are on the brink of recession from which it will be difficult to escape.

Scottish Labour’s policies on taxation are fundamentally wrong and ignore the realities.  Scotland has very little which will attract or retain inward investment and a large proportion of private sector jobs rely on that investment continuing.  Jobs lost – as we have seen from the oil industry – will be highly paid.  Scotland will lose a disproportionate amount in tax revenues and spending power.

Such losses will prevent the SNP delivering on their promises to increase public spending.  But their promises were exceeded by Scottish Labour and, if instigated, those policies would increase a level of inequality not easily recognised but nevertheless pernicious. I am referring to the inequality between those on zero hours, some self-employed and part-time compared with those paid by the taxpayers.

Kezia Dugdale referred to productivity in the last Big Debate.  The reality is that for Scotland to flourish there has to be a renewed work ethic for hard work – especially in the public sector.

I was pleased to hear Alex Rowley talk about developing a policy which embraced home rule within the Union.  Whilst I have my misgivings about federalisation between vastly unequal sub-central states I do agree that greater de-centralisation is attractive.  I would like to see it happen here in Scotland first.  But of the utmost importance is for the party to reject full independence unequivocally– in or out of the EU.

I look forward to hearing more from Alex.  In particular I would like him to advocate a position where we give no support to the SNP on tax changes (including APD) and increased public spending unless they are part of a comprehensive package which makes Scotland an attractive destination for investment and skills.  New powers need new policies.

Ruth Davidson has stolen Labour’s mantle of compassion. She is as far away from being a traditional “Tory” as Kezia is (I have met them both).  Both of them have to recognise that they must not allow the SNP to enjoy success.  To do so will  give them another 5 years at the next election.