Tuesday 23 May 2017

Keeping a straight face

As the wheels increasingly fall off the Tory election battle jalopy, their Scottish branch office has managed to claim that a vote for the Tories in Scotland is a vote both for and against the same policy.  Apparently, if voters in Scotland vote Tory, they’re voting to keep the winter fuel allowance as a universal benefit in Scotland whilst introducing a means test on the benefit in Englandandwales.  And because it would not be a standalone piece of legislation, but part of the budget, it would not be affected by the legislation on English Votes for English Laws, so any Tories elected as part of ‘Theresa May’s Team’ from Scotland would be whipped into supporting the means test, whilst leaving the party’s MSPs free to oppose it in Scotland.
It gets better; because of the effect of the Barnett formula, the savings following the imposition of a means test in Engalndandwales would reduce the budget available to Scotland, which would then have to cut other spending to finance the continuation of the benefit.  So the Tory MSPs get to oppose an unpopular policy being introduced elsewhere by their own party, demand that the SNP doesn’t follow the Westminster Government on this policy, and then criticise any savings made elsewhere to pay for the policy.  Win-win, eh?
But how do they manage to keep a straight face? 

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