On a quick read through of the SNP manifesto I found the following.
The good bits:
Another independence referendum is on the back burner. “The SNP will always support independence – but that is not what this election is about. It is about making Scotland stronger”.
Increased spending on the NHS. (I hope they actually do it this time as they failed last time) But what party is going to have a manifesto that will state we are going to cut the NHS?
Scrapping the Bedroom Tax and a halt to the rollout of Universal Credit and PIP.
Social Security Founded on respect. Looks like the Social Security side of things might actually improve (let’s wait and see)
Opposition on TU Bill
Good policies on Immigration
An end to Tory Government
Abolish the House of Lords
They are committed to house building, a good thing. But no commitment to rent controls, this is a bad thing.
I disagree with all parties, not just the SNP, when they then go on about “affordable housing” and “help to buy schemes”. I want a council house building programme, that creates good housing for all. We need to break this lunacy of “you need to own your own house”.
Why are we so fixated on owning property? This has been drummed into us since the 80’s and Thatcher’s great Council house sell off. To own your own property is not the be all and end all. It is this that is in fact creating the crisis of capital again.
Build and maintain eco-friendly council houses, at affordable rents, for all.
Then we get to:
“We will give more power and resources direct to schools, to put teachers, parents and communities in the driving seat of school improvement”
“We will also raise an additional £500 million from reform of local tax over the next Parliament and invest it directly in schools, providing the money to head-teachers to use to improve education locally.”
This was how the Tories started the process to turn all schools into Academies. It is always about giving more power to Head Teachers and communities. Then the reality kicks in that is more about destroying local government and local democracy, whilst preparing our education system for privatisation.
George Osborne said “It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education. So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago, to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy.”
A slippery slope I think. It always amazes me that the SNP will continue to ape the Tories and then their supporters and those advocating people to vote SNP, will never question this tack. They are again dictating to local government on their spending. This is all part of the SNP drive to centralise everything and destroy local democracy. They already dictate teacher numbers and are now starting to interfere by going direct to school heads and negating Local Government.
On Further Education:
The STUC this year passed a motion condemning the SNP decimation of Further Education College places and a total lack of funding. Already we have lost 152,000 college places. All we get from the SNP is to continue funding FE at present levels.
This is another SNP centralising disaster where they “re-profiled” and create super colleges to save money. I can remember the time when FE colleges were a great and wonderful thing, all about making higher education available to all. They provided part time courses, night classes, foreign language courses (something you can’t even get in Fife now). They provided a way back into education for everyone. They were run and controlled by Local Government.
“We will not allow fracking or underground coal gasification in Scotland unless it can be proved beyond any doubt that it will not harm our environment, communities or public health.”
No mention of Coal Bed Methane and still no outright ban. This is the same rehashed statement we hear from them again and again. I would bet my last pound that after 2017 and all the consultations, it will be announced that Fracking is perfectly safe. Mark my words.
“We will invest in our transport infrastructure and reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50 per cent during the course of the next Parliament.”
“use the full powers of the parliament to secure the most competitive business rates in the UK.”
And so the race to the bottom of a low tax economy begins. This might not appear to be much, but it is the start. What do you think Osborne will now have to do? He will of course now have to reduce APD in Newcastle etc and will happily reduce business taxes south of the border.
“We will increase the amount of income exempt from Income Tax to £12,750 by the end of the next parliament, freeze the basic rate of Income Tax to help low and middle income earners, but not implement the tax cut for higher rate earners proposed by the the Tories. Instead, we will freeze the higher rate threshold in 2017/18 and ensure that it will rise by a maximum of inflation until 2021/22 . These measures will generate at least £1.2 billion in additional revenue over the next parliament.”
They will not of course increase the top rate of tax, for those earning over £150,000.
“From next year, we will cap any increase made by councils to a maximum of 3 per cent a year. We will reform local taxation by asking those living in the highest banded houses to pay more and reducing tax for low income families with children. We will increase the financial accountability of local authorities. By assigning a share of Income Tax to councils, they will be less reliant on central government funding, and incentivised to grow their local economies.”
Yet again they are recycling a Tory policy. This is the same thinking and will have the same negative result as with the Tories and their forcing cities to accept Mayors. It is all designed to “incentivise to grow their local economies”. After nine years of a “temporary” council tax freeze we get regurgitated Tory Ideology and in reality the Council Tax.
“we believe that City Deals should be made available to all Scotland’s cities, in addition to Glasgow, bringing substantial new investment to places that are key drivers of growth in Scotland.”
And yet another Tory policy. This is a policy the Tories are forcing on cities south of the border. It is a trap that will in reality cut funding going to these regions, because they will need to increase income by attracting investment. In other words they are pitting city against city, region against region. A further drive to the bottom.
The whole point of the UK is for the equitable re-distribution of wealth from those regions that, due to their position or industrial and financial supremacy, have the most to those regions that have least. This is what the Tories are trying to destroy. Let all the major cities compete against each other whilst protecting the financial centre in London.
“We will take all possible steps to ensure that our public procurement processes support progressive workplace practices and also that companies engaging in unacceptable practices like blacklisting, exploitative zero hours’ contracts or tax evasion, do not benefit from public procurement.”
They have failed miserably on all this so far and have even rejected motions from the likes of Neil Findlay that would actually do something positive.
This is more SNP say one thing do the opposite and blame somebody else. As was the case on the Living Wage for public procurement, it will be EU rules that stop them doing anything. This will be the same EU that they will campaign to remain in.
No commitment to hold a public inquiry into the Blacklisting scandal.
Nothing in this document and even at the STUC, there was no commitment from Nicola to keeping the Cal-mac Ferries in public hands. Of course this again is because of EU rules.
“To the people here for the Cal-mac campaign today, I can promise we will continue to work with you to protect our lifeline ferry services, because the communities that are served by these services absolutely rely on them. They are some of the most important services we provide in this country and I understand the passion that is demonstrated for them.”
The above statement is just a reaffirmation of the current dire situation, where Serco will be given the contract.
No commitment to Nationalise rail or to do anything about proper public transport regulation.
“The European Union is far from perfect, however we believe that it is overwhelmingly in Scotland’s interests for us to remain a member, engaging with the institutions as fully as we can, and to argue for reform from within.”
This must be the biggest contradiction in politics. We must remain in the EU and argue for reform from within. But for the UK, we cannot, apparently, ever hope to reform or change Westminster.
From the White Paper: “An independent Parliament elected entirely by people in Scotland will replace the current Westminster system. Under that system, elected representatives from Scotland make up just 9 per cent of the 650 members of the House of Commons; the House of Lords is wholly unelected”
What percentage of representation will Scotland have on the unelected commissions of the EU.
How can they put this forward as logic, it will be easier to reform an undemocratic, unelected EU, than it is to reform the UK. I would have far more respect for them if they came clean and told the truth.
No mention of TTiP/CETA trade agreements. The Greens and Labour have declared outright opposition.
Tell me again where they are even remotely Social Democrats. So far they are in the main aping the Tories.