Thursday, 29 January 2009

Let's Talk About It

Following yesterday's vote rejected the Budget Bill, Tavish Scott this morning has offered that the Lib Dems will sit down and talk with the SNP about a budget through quickly that will meet the challenges facing Scotland. His comments were welcomed by Finance Secretary John Swinney. Tavish said in a radio interview:

"We need to move forward and build a better budget for Scotland. I recognise the situation we are now in. Obviously we'd like to make [the 2p] argument, but we want to be constructive about this - we are where we are now. The government have got to get a budget through in short order, but we can certainly make progress if we get round the table and have a real discussion about finding a way to make this budget respond to the challenges this country faces."

Here's hoping that diplomacy can find a solution to this impasse. Events of the last few weeks have shown that there may be a lack of trusting dialogue on that score. But there is still time before the current budget runs out to get a solution of the next fiscal year in place for Holyrood and to enable the councils to make their plans based on that outcome. Malc agrees that the time for consensus is now though I hope that Jeff is wrong and that the resultant budget is not cobbled together.

We need at this time discussions to have a budget that will help Scotland, if not to totally weather the storm ahead at least to be ready for when a fair wind blows again to get back on track as painlessly and effortlessly as possible. However, as Malc has live blogged about FMQs it would appear that Alex is still entrenching himself a little even after a hand of friendship has been offered.


  1. Lib Dems have backed down on 2p tax cut. That should help.

  2. Indeed it should. Maybe somebody should have informed the FM before he took questions this afternoon though.

  3. I'm (for once) not assigning blame to any party but it makes you wonder, if a non-cobbled together budget can be brought together so quickly (before Feb 4th), it makes you wonder why all of the parties couldn't manage it the first time around?

  4. That is a fair point Jeff (BTW I read in today's paper that they plan to get it through all three stages by Feb 11th).

    Seeing as most of us thought that the deal was singned and sealed with the Greens weeks ago what potentially happened was that the SNP ahd stopped negotiating with both ourselves and Labour thinking they had enough votes to seal the deal. As were back to the drawing board with limited time I think all the parties are now focused on getting something out that that at least is stepping out in their direction if not taking the full stride.

  5. Yep, fair point, that's probably it.

    I actually think this could pan out to be the feel good story of the Scottish Parliament so far, for all involved.

    Maybe it's the Obama effect...