While I welcome all the extra powers the Scottish Parliament can wring out of Westminster I remain convinced that only a fully independent republic will serve Scotland’s needs.
The Calman Commission recommendations which underpin the Scotland Bill published this week are in truth little to do with extending Holyrood's powers - they do allow monies raised in Stamp Duty and any new landfill taxes to remain here, but the additional powers are indeed very minor extensions - as their central purpose is to make Holyrood more accountable to the electorate for its expenditure decisions.
The power to raise income tax, the Bills central proposal, already exists via the referendum held in 1997. They have of course never been used and the reasons are simple enough. The prospect of paying higher taxes in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK is not something voters would relish. Indeed in the last decade only the possibility of reducing taxes here by 3p in the pound have been contemplated by the four neo-liberal parties in control of the purse strings at Holyrood.
The recent fiasco over the SNP's decision to let the current 3p income tax varying power lapse was like watching two bald me fighting over a comb as none of the major parties in Holyrood have any intention of using these laws.
What is required is a Scottish Government which takes on the wealthy, that raises the taxes of the super rich through measures such as the Scottish Service Tax - the SSP's income based alternative to the hated Council tax. Of course the Scotland Bill traps any Government at Holyrood intent on implementing such measures as it cuts the current block grant from Westminster by up to 35%. So Westminster giveth and Westminster taketh away. And that of course is the rub. Indeed it was always the aim of the Calman Commission.
The SSP meanwhile supports an economic policy which meets the needs of the millions not the millionaires. We recognise that in this day and age only a fully independent Scottish republic can deliver that.