I've been reading that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are saying they want fair funding. Ieuan Wyn Jones Plaid's leader has said of demands of the other parties in the event of a hung parliament:
"We would demand fairer funding for Wales and Scotland to protect jobs, our schools, our hospitals and the most vulnerable in society.
"At the heart of our platform there would also need to be a real commitment to grow our economies through fast transport links and additional support to create thousands of high-quality jobs in the green and creative industry sectors."
So looking at the departments they want:
- Enterprise - protected/increased
- Education - protected
- Health - protected
- Business - increased
- Transport - increased
- Environment - job creation - increased
By my reckoning that is every single Scottish Department that they either want to see no cuts or increased investment in.
Now watching the Ask the Chancellor's debate I know that what the nationalist parties are asking for above seems to be beyond the reckoning of the UK economy. While yes the most vulnerable in our society should and ought to be protected (I know under the Lib Dems they will be) there is issues in the others. Creating jobs in green and creative industries is something that the Lib Dems promise and the Labour budget has actually gone some way to help with. The Lib Dems are also promising a pupil premium for the most disadvantaged children. Guess what? As a result of the Barnett formula this will mean additional money for Education coming to Scotland and Wales through the calculator.
But let's not beat about the bush while both Alistair Darling and George Osborne failed to answer the question of what cuts they would bring, Vince Cable was honest to say 'None of us can guarantee no cuts in any department'. However, it is how you make those cuts that is significant and how you fund them. There are some things that the SNP would agree with Vince scrapping of Trident, doing away with the ID card database, all projects that will release billions to be used elsewhere meaning less cuts. But the SNP have failed yet to look closer to home. they have failed to look at what they can do to make savings to allow the very goals they expect from others to be as well funded as they want.
Look at the fact that we are now on our third consultation regarding Independence. We have a Scotland Futures Trust that has yet to deliver. These are just two headline issues there are others in the quagmire or quangoism that the SNP have control over. Only a few weeks ago the SNP were saying they were opposed to any cuts in Scotland's budget, reality may have settled in slightly, though not from my reading of the above, now they are saying "More Nats, less cuts". May I ask after this launch, where? Where are they planning the lesser cuts for Scotland if all the devolved areas that they and Plaid Cymru in coalition in Wales have control over are to be protected or enhanced.
I know the song says 'you gotta have a gimmick' but I don't think wearing blinkers and not taking ANY responsible actions in this crisis is a very good look for either Alex Salmond or Ieuan Wyn Jones.