compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
United Kingdom means United Kingdom.
SIR – It is now becoming clear just how disastrously misconceived
and destructive the UK devolution process has been, in particular
Tony Blair’s policy to provide for a Scottish parliament for reasons
which, in retrospect, look increasingly like electoral expediency.
Far from choking off the emerging electoral support for Scottish
nationalism and shoring up the Labour vote, the decision to offer
Scots a heady mix of far greater political autonomy, the continued
ability to interfere in English politics through the West Lothian
anomaly, and a preferential financial settlement, with no
commensurate fiscal liabilities and responsibilities, has had the
opposite effect. It has resulted in Scotland running up an annual
£16 billion deficit which the rest of the UK has to bankroll, while
the Barnett formula continues to confer a greater per-capita public
spend on Scots than on any other UK region.
Let us hope that any new referendum campaign will be clear about
what the real implications of independence for Scotland would be.
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