I see that Jeff has taken time out from his extended break in the Far East and down under to ask ""what are the Lib Dems Playing at?". Well strangely I think exactly the same with regards to John Swinney.
In October 2007 the spending review issued plans for this budget period. This was long before most parties the SNP or Labour woke up to just what was going on in the world around them. It was indeed a long time before John Swinney or Alex Salmond told us that an "economic storm" had engulfed Scotland. The change is this budget over those spending plans is only 1%. That is the weakest, most miniscule reaction and attempt to boast their economy of ANY Western democracy to the current crisis. It is indeed the budget of do nothingness when everyone is crying out for action.
Jeff earlier today also passed comment on here that the Lib Dems should not vote against the budget stage 1, as they did, but sit down and get some of our 2007 manifesto pledges discussed. In case Jeff hasn't noticed while swanning around the Far East and Australia, on his banking bonuses I guess, people have moved on from the 2007 manifesto. They are concerned about the budget, that of their own pockets. People are now more likely to shop around for a bargain. Indeed you now see far more people scouring the reductions at supermarkets before they get marked down than a year ago when hey merely waited.
The Lib Dem proposals offer £330 pounds back into the pockets of the low and medium earners of Scotland. £330 pounds that in the words of one person I saw on TV last week would make the difference between having to decide whether to heat or to eat but allow the luxury, shame though it is to say that, to do both.
While his and his fellow Nats criticise the Lib Dems for not knowing fully where the savings can come from what is clear is that at least we are looking they clearly haven't had a major rethink. Oh and as for there needing to be more spending as well. That is because while giving money to the poorest will instil some economic stimulus it is also the time for Government to step up to the plate.
So what are the Lib Dems doing to answer the question? We're not looking for a quick fix we know that isn't possible. We're also not prepared to sit back and take a lily livered approach to Scotland Future as we trust that by doing next to nothing Scotland will end up going deeper and staying longer in this downturn. This is most definitely not a time for business as usual budgets which is what the SNP have offered up, in that actually both Labour and the Conservatives so somewhat agree even if they allowed the passage of stage one. Neither of those other parties support can be said to be in the back.
Vince Cable, who is widely regarded as one of the few who saw this coming, has back Nick Clegg's proposal for real and permanent tax cuts for the lower earners as part, not all, of the required stimulus at this time. While the Lib Dem position has been ignored at Westminster with their sizable Labour majority, We here in Scotland through Tavish Scott and Mike Rumbles who was sent to show intent have a Parliament that is meant to rely on consensus so we laid down a challenge to not be as timid as Gordon and Alistair the Scots running thing for the UK. However, Alex and John are actually proposing less than even the little that those other Scots are doing.