Interesting suggestion from Christopher Harvie earlier this week, that the credit crunch crisis might deepen the political tensions between Westminster and Scotland.
Brown’s highly political approach to this situation is likely to
have echoes of Thatcher’s rude but effective tactic in the early 1980s:
namely, using his control over much government expenditure in Scotland
by (in the fortcoming central spending review) fomenting discord
between Scots spending ministers – and refusing to show any flexibility
over oil policy, which remains a mainstay of the Scottish economy.
political calculations, however, raise the fundamental question of the
divergence of interest between the Scottish and British economies, in
circumstances where the accumulating problems created or facilitated by
a generation of London-centric economic policies are starting to bite. (openDemocracy)
This divergence seemed to be creating tension between the unionist parties this week even as they were meeting to agree a common strategy:
LibDem leader Nicol Stephen is eager to set up a
new grouping that would consider further devolution, with suggestions
of taxation powers going as far as a Scottish share of North Sea oil
He angered other parties ahead of yesterday’s talks by seeking to
push their agreement to talk further than they had agreed. There is
opposition to a LibDem plan to set up a Scottish Parliament Committee,
with a stress from other parties that progress has to be made by
working with Westminster and the public more widely. (The Herald)
Any economic downturn will only magnify the importance of Scottish oil, raising shades of of the mid-1970s, when Whitehall was desperate to conceal the economic potential of an independent Scotland because the UK was depending on North Sea revenue as security for the national debt.