A step in the right direction

“The Scottish parliament is wholly accountable for the budget it spends but not for the size of its budget. And that budget is not linked to the success of the Scottish economy. That is why we asked the Calman Commission to look at the financial accountability of the Scottish parliament”

So said Gordon Brown in last night’s speech to the CBI in Glasgow.

A clear indictation that the Scottish Government will be given more fiscal autonomy.

Labour are beginning to move to the Nationalist agenda. It looks like another hurdle has been cleared to the destination of independence.

Having conceded the principle, all the SNP and Labour Governments need to do is sit down and argue over detail.

Detail like the SNP would like complete fiscal autonomy for Scotland; and Labour would like taxes and revenues (especially oil revenue) etc to still flow southwards into the Westminster treasury.

Indeed, the logic of Gordon Brown’s statement leads to complete fiscal autonomy. Only that will provide a definite link to the success of the Scottish economy.

If it is only a partial fiscal improvement then the Scottish Government of whatever party can always blame the Westminster Government. Admittedly we would see less of this if the same party was in power at both Governments, but the scope will always be there.

Without the complete fiscal autonomy that the SNP want then any failures of the Scottish Government might be landed at Westminster’s door.

Gordon Brown has now removed his fingers from the leaky Unionist dyke.

The worst thing he could do now is to put them in his ears.

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