It’s difficult to see how the description of John McLaren as a “leading economist” accords with his abysmal failure to recognise that the whole of Scotland’s budget is determined by Westminster. Somewhat curiously for a supposed “expert” he seems to suppose ‘Barnett consequentials’ are a novel and previously unknown phenomenon that he has just stumbled upon in the course of writing press releases for British Labour in Scotland (BLiS). Or, as he would doubtless call it, his ‘research’.
When he says that the Scottish Government’s draft budget is duplicitous, what he actually means is that it is amenable to different interpretations. This has already been pointed out by the Fraser of Allander Institute in a report which has clearly rattled BLiS and prompted them to call on one of their tame economists for help.
It is simply a fact of life that the complexity of government budgeting makes it all but impossible to present a concise summary which takes account of every angle and nuance. A situation which is greatly aggravated by the added guddle of haphazard and inept devolution. Grown-ups are aware of this. The behaviour of the British parties at Holyrood is pathetically immature. Which may help to explain why the sensible adults who make up the bulk of the electorate continue to put their trust in the SNP rather than a bunch of ranting British nationalists and tribal loyalists who cannot see a situation without screeching about a crisis.
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