X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

The SNP’s dismal conference

21 October 2012

8:32 PM

21 October 2012

8:32 PM

The Scottish National Party conference in Perth ought to have been a festival of ideas, showcasing solutions that only be applied by independence. Instead it has reminded everyone that the SNP is bereft of ideas*  – and why the union is not in as much danger as Alex Salmond makes out.

Salmond’s speech laid into the “Lord Snooties” down south, and the “London government” which would “put this first class nation in the second class carriages.” His message – and that of his colleagues – seemed to be that an independent Scotland would have so much money that it’d be first class for everyone.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech suggested that the problem of Scottish poverty is not enough welfare payments. “Independence is about having the powers we need to eradicate, once and for all, the obscenity of child poverty in our rich society,” she said. Quite – but powers to do what? She didn’t say. The irony is that Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform agenda, which could yet make British poverty history, was born in Glasgow. He visited in Easterhouse, one of Glasgow’s welfare ghettoes, and realised that Britain was making the most expensive poverty in the world. IDS did so because Scotland is part of his country, and he cares what happens there.

George Osborne’s decision to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p was attacked by Sturgeon: “I do not believe that would ever be Scotland’s choice.” Entrepreneurs, take note. Alex Neil, now health minister, also said an independent Scotland would mean “a fair tax system that places the heaviest burden on the broadest shoulders”. Translated: tax the rich even more!

[Alt-Text]


The SNP conference has heard that the answer to every problem is more money. Here’s Kenny MacAskill, now in charge of policing:-

Swingeing budget cuts imposed by the Coalition Government mean I have to make changes to legal aid. They seem intent on abandoning a legal aid system south of the Border. We seek to preserve the integrity of it here. But, without independence all we can do is mitigate the damage.

Scotland’s state spending/GDP ratio is about 53pc, according to the CEBR, one or the highest in the planet. And still the SNP makes out that Scotland is being kept on starvation rations by the parsimonious English.

The SNP conference was at its weakest when trying to define Britain: not as the nation of Olympic triumph but as an institution whose main purpose is to fight evil wars. Here’s Alex Neil again:-

The ‘No’ campaign claims that the UK has been a raving success: Tell that to every family who have lost a young son or husband or brother because of the illegal war in Iraq. Tell that to the young men who have been serving in Afghanistan without the proper equipment to keep them safe and protected – many being the same young brave men who on their return from Afghanistan are now being rewarded with a P45. The UK hasn’t been a raving success for them.

Set aside what the UK military has given Scotland, the teenagers who left school with no qualifications and were given them an education and a career by the military  (my dad amongst them). Set aside the fact that the UK was pretty successful at winning two world wars. If an independent Scotland would be as pacifist as the SNP claims then it would be military P45s all round.

It’s been a bad summer for the SNP. The Olympics showed how popular Britishness is amongst Scots, as Salmond’s laughable “Scolympians” notion was ignored by a country which has never been as petty and small-minded as the SNP. If Salmond’s lot did have great new ideas for an independent Scotland, the union may be in some danger. But judging by the SNP conference, the union looks pretty safe.

* There was one good idea announced today – speeding up the dualling of the A9, which runs between Perth and Inverness.  Long overdue. Next: the Nairn bypass.

PS This article has been up for five whole minutes, without me being denounced by Cybernats. Where are you all?

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close