There's been quite a lot of absolute tosh written about John Swinney's decision not to bring forward a bill replacing the Council Tax in Scotland with a Local Income Tax during this Parliamentary session.
I'll write that bit again, just in case you didn't catch it the first time.
There's been quite a lot of absolute tosh written about John Swinney's decision not to bring forward a bill replacing the Council Tax in Scotland with a Local Income Tax DURING THIS PARLIAMENTARY SESSION.
To quote John Swinney:
"The parliamentary arithmetic means that, while we might get the support of the Liberal Democrats for our proposals to introduce a local income tax, the Labour and Conservative parties are united in their opposition.
"In short, we cannot put together a stable majority to enable us successfully to steer detailed local income tax legislation through this parliament."
"The cabinet has therefore decided not to introduce legislation to abolish unfair council tax and replace it with local income tax until after the election in 2011."
Now that, to me, doesn't suggest a huge U-turn. It doesn't suggest that the party have suddenly decided that the policy is rubbish or that they think the current system of Council Tax is great. What it suggests is that the party have recognised their position, in light of the budget fiasco, as a minority government. They've looked around the chamber, seen they don't have the votes to pass such controversial and significant taxation-changing legislation and have decided not to waste parliament's time by bringing forward a bill that is not going to pass. Yet.
They still like the policy. They'll campaign on it going into the 2011 election, telling voters that if they give them enough MSPs they'll be able to pass it. So what is this hysteria from the other parties about?
Iain Gray calls it "the day Alex Salmond's credibility died". What, because he can count to 65?
Jeremy Purvis: "The Lib Dems are now the ONLY party in Scotland that want to scrap the deeply unfair council tax." Well, that's just blatantly wrong. The SNP WANT to scrap it... but the opposition parties don't want to help them. Its the price of minority government.
At least the Scotsman tells it like it is (and how many times will I get to say that?!!) when they say "LIT dead... for now." And Brian Taylor is his usual analytical self - pointing out, on balance, that opposition parties will attack and the SNP will defend their minority position.
You can say what you want about the policy (and I'm pretty sure I have in the past, though I can't find it on here) but if you haven't got the cards, you haven't got the cards. First the budget, now this. The SNP are learning about minority government. And I guess the other parties are too. As ever, we live in interesting times.
UPDATE: Just read Kez's take on it, which makes a good point about the issue. The SNP know there is not a majority for a referendum on independence, but they are still planning on bringing forward that legislation. That kinda puts the thing in perspective a bit. If only the LOLITSP could think on his feet like that and notice that kind of thing, then he might have a bit more credibility.