Records and parallels of two politicians. Peter Sammons reflects …..
The same, but different
There is a huge irony in the records, and parallels, of a former prime minister and an aspiring one (Truss and Sturgeon). One ignored the other; one railed against the other. That was, perhaps, their shared interpersonal dynamic. Yet the similarities go further than at least one of them might like to admit. Tick these boxes:
- Cut tax whilst raising spending
- · Omit details on ‘funding’ of economic ambitions
- · Borrow on international bonds markets to fund public expenditure
- · Raise tax on business
- · Not voting for the government becomes a confidence issue
- · Trickle-down economics?
On five of these six, one political operator is as ‘guilty’ as the other, at least in ambition and public pronouncement. On the sixth we have a question-mark simply because the SNP’s projected future ‘wonderland’ will, they assure us, mysteriously ‘lift’ the economic and social prospect of all Scots – presumably through some ‘trickle-down effect’. Perhaps it is just the language they don’t like using.
It is not for Christian Comment to become an economics advisory, especially in relation to the SNP’s Churchillian vision of eternal sunlit uplands (should that be ‘highlands’?) in the event that Indyref2 can be secured and Scotland marches off to become a small footnote in Germany’s “European Union” (am I being unfair?). In researching this article the fullest, most believable and straightforward economic comment we could find was this one, from Economics Observatory: https://www.economicsobservatory.com/what-might-the-public-finances-of-an-independent-scotland-look-like
The Scottish Executive’s own forecasts must be taken with some caution, as such ‘forecasts’ are inevitably highly political (based around the idea of a further ‘independence’ referendum, and the need to persuade the Scottish electorate to back independence), and likewise partisan. The clearest point in the Economics Observatory report is this: “Scotland currently receives much higher levels of public spending but contributes slightly less tax revenues per person than the UK average. For example, during the period between 2014/15 and 2019/20, spending averaged £1,550 (or 12.3%) higher per person in Scotland than the UK average, while revenues were £325 (or 2.8%) lower per person. As a result, the implicit Scottish deficit – the gap between spending and revenues – averaged 9.2% of GDP, compared with 3.1% of GDP for the UK as a whole during this period”.
Scotland becoming a low tax destination (a la Eire) seems unlikely for three profound reasons (1) with zero post Scexit fiscal transfers to Scotland, neighbouring Britain will have more fiscal room for tax reductions and possibly attract some Scottish enterprise south of the new border (2) Germany’s EU is unlikely to grant admission to a low tax Scotland at precisely the same time they are pressuring Ireland to raise taxes! (3) a Scottish government would have less room for manoever for tax reduction. Indeed tax rises are on the SNP agenda, with all that is implied in such a fiscal model.
This report is also noteworthy (and recent): https://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/news/politics/independent-scotland-could-face-181-26276527
The currency of politics, at its worst, is sheer hypocrisy – promising things that cannot be delivered and leveraging peoples’ pride and prejudice. Hypocrisy seems to be the thing that most angers God, whether in those who claim to follow Him, or in broader social discourse. Hypocrisy is a form of lying, and we all know where lies come from (John 8:44). Hypocrisy will ultimately be dealt with. God is in charge of politics: [God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. (Isaiah 40:22-24)
One wonders how soon some politicians will survive in the world of real, international politics – especially where they egregiously stand opposed to God’s revealed purposes. Whatever the future may hold, we are obligated to pray for our rulers, even where their purposes are opposed to God (1 Timothy 2: 1-4). Let’s do it …..
Peter Sammons is commissioning editor at Christian Comment.