A recent economic report by the Scottish National Party (SNP) is a major disappointment for those in the independence movement who want to end austerity and cuts.
The SNP published its much anticipated growth commission report—produced by former SNP MSP and banker Andrew Wilson—last week.
It’s an attempt to deal with some of the economic arguments raised during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign—and makes some crucial concessions.
It includes keeping the pound for the foreseeable future—and thereby accepting the British Treasury’s control over key economic measures.
It accepts the European Union’s (EU) deficit limit of 3 percent of GDP and agrees a £5 billion “solidarity payment” a year towards the British national debt.
It also wants to keep corporation tax in line with Britain.
Positively, the report does make a case for higher levels of immigration into Scotland—in contrast to the racist nonsense punted by Tory politicians.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon enthusiastically welcomed the report, focusing on the need for economic competence and offering a business-friendly agenda.
In doing so she exposed the SNP’s continuing commitment to the European Union’s free market economic model. The report rightly points out that Scotland is a wealthy country which is more than able to make it on its own.
But it then sadly accepts many of the failed economic strategies that have led to a situation where a third of children in Scotland live in poverty.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard rightly condemned the report as a “cuts commission”.
Unfortunately, he continues to oppose independence and a second independence referendum. That means that his argument will make little headway with the 50,000 independence supporters who demonstrated in Glasgow a few weeks ago.
The Scottish Parliament recently overwhelmingly voted to reject the Tory government’s Brexit bill.
This seeks to retain all the powers transferred back to Britain from the EU in the hands of the Westminster government. It is undoubtedly a “power grab” by the Tories which will undermine devolution. We don’t want that sort of Brexit.
The independence movement has the opportunity to build a broad anti-austerity alliance which could push forward the case for Scottish independence. The SNP’s report has undermined this.