"THE Scottish Liberal Democrats published plans to grant sweeping new tax powers to the Scottish Parliament yesterday - a move which heralds a fundamental shift in the balance of Scottish politics.The piece goes on to describe the Liberals as moving to a "quasi-independence" position.
Announcing an approach which could pave the way for a governing SNP-Lib Dem coalition at Holyrood, the Liberal Democrats gave their initial backing for Holyrood to be given almost complete control over taxation in Scotland."
Fiscal autonomy in and of itself is appealing to me solely for the reason that if we had it, this would deprive the nationalists of an excuse for blaming Scotland's problems on everyone else. But don't imagine that the Liberals have come round to this policy on a matter of principle; as is so often the case, their hypocrisy and willingness to tailor their political programme to their electoral advantage is breath-taking. Their recent by-election win in our Gordy's constituency was due in no small part for blaming the Labour candidate for transport policies that were not his preserve as a Westminster MP but rather that of the Scottish Executive - in which the Minister responsible for transport is in fact a Liberal Democrat.
My God, in Scotland any opposition would have to sink pretty low before I would feel able to support Labour again but I'm just about there. In Westminster elections, I have felt unable to vote Labour ever since George Galloway became my MP in 1987. Thank goodness he has chosen to inflict his shameless vanity elsewhere, although being generally sympathetic to the English, I regret he chose to take his peculiar brand of charlatanism on the unwitting constituents of Bethnal Green and Bow.
Now that he's gone, is there any political force in Scotland that can match the Liberal Democrats for sheer shame-faced opportunism and hypocrisy? I think not. They understand that their days with Labour are coming to an end - and in this divorce, I cannot but take Labour's side. Hate doing that north of the border, because up here they are the real conservative party.