Wednesday, 11 March 2009

If You Gonna Do It, Do It Right

The SNP wanted to sneak in their alcohol minimum pricing policy, and other alcohol related laws, in as an amendment to the 2005 Licencing Bill. However, with the far reaching ramifications of it in European law and to Scottish industry in distilling and brewing the business committee has quite correctly in my opinion said it should be presented as primary legislation.

The differences are that as a piece of Primary legislation these proposals will get the parliamentary time and scrutiny they deserve. The legal ramifications can be fully looked into, something that the SNP may well have been trying to avoid by tagging it as an amendment to existing legislation.

However, the fact the the party that wants to lead us into an Independent Scotland is prepared to flaunt, edge around or downright ignore or overrule existing legislation is a worrying concept. What would they do if they had carte blanche over all legislation in Scotland. We've already seen worrying signs that they will whip up what exists and not necessarily replace it immediately, PPP/PFI has yet to be replaced with the Scotland Futures Trust for example. They are only willing to do things their way, look at Budget the First's failure earlier this year. So it does lead to the question. Can a party which already wants to shirk around European or UK law really be trusted to do the same with Scottish law, even if they want to be part of Europe?


  1. That's a wee bit harsh on the SNP Stephen! This has been discussed since them came into office and only now the opposition parties are jumping up and down shouting, although I note most are saying they're not against the policy but the process.

    So it's going to take a WHOLE YEAR for this to be scrutinised? What nonsense.

    You're contradicting yourself there now Stephen, on the one hand you're complaining the alcohol legislation hasn't been scrutinised then you complain the SFT is taking too long.

    If the libdems hadn't messed around with a 2p tax reduction and helped with the SFT things may have been different.

    Who can tell?

  2. Actually no and this is where I do get anoraky.

    First the full raft of the SNP proposal were only mentioned in the Autumn, just before the Nat and the SNP conference. Because as I blogged at the time the two youth branches both spoke out. The Nats Table a amendment to their policy committee's motion, our tabled the motion that the policy committee tabled an adendum.

    Second while the ideas have been discussed in the generic the details have not been seen until the SNP laid down the White paper. There is too much in that detail that could not be addressed by due Parliamentary process if squeezed into the time frame of an amendment. However, as Primary legislation the SNP would have equal possibilty to discuss their intent as the opposition parties have to point out the points of difficulty.

    Finally SFT is supposed to provide funding for capital projects. Alex Salmond harks on at both Tavish Scott and Gordon Brown about savings are not needed now because we need investment. Maybe he should get his own greenhouse in order over SFT before throwing stones.

    Sorry SFT really stands for Scottish Failure Trust just at a time it or an equivalent is needed.