Behind Douglas Ross’ economic plan is an electoral attack plan

He is back again! After a summer following the MIA in Moray, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has returned to the political radar to present a blueprint for the economy.

It was a minor slip. Barely enough to get any of last week’s Nessie hunters excited.

After all, economic plans rarely come to fruition, particularly the Scottish Tory schemes.

But there were moments of interest.

The plan was a mixture of the all-too-familiar and the absurd. It unequivocally said that long-term economic growth should be the Scottish Government’s top priority, and urged the usual mix of Quango cleanup, workforce planning, lifelong learning and tax cuts.

There was also an appeal to downsize devolved government.

Not so that fewer people could perform the same work more efficiently. But apparently the private sector could take advantage of the sudden flood of former civil servants.

Some ideas seemed to ignore a quarter-century of decentralization.

Like a “Joint Scottish Economy Board” where Scottish and British ministers would agree on Scotland’s economic strategy.

“It would be responsible to and funded by both governments,” the blueprint reads, and would make Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK “as seamless as possible”.

Note that there was no indication that the board would collectively agree on the UK’s economic strategy, just what Scotland could get provided it integrated ever more deeply into the bosom of the Union.

The idea that an SNP Green government, or almost any other Scottish government, would limit its options by opting for a bear hug on the Treasury is a failure.

Other ideas seemed fickle. There was the ‘business regulation handbrake’ which would result in the Scottish Government delaying or repealing regulations ‘in times of economic recession or poor performance’. The introduction of new rules would, according to the blueprint, “ensure stability”.

However, rules that are alive, then dead, and then alive again are not necessarily the stuff of stability. There are also no rules that only work when the weather is nice and become too onerous when it rains.

Certainly it is better to pass laws that are permanent and work in a changing economic climate.

The idea would also lead to deferring regulation indefinitely should things get difficult.

Given that governments are making regulations not just to piss off businesses, but to protect consumers and the environment, that’s a recipe for terrible problems down the line.

unspun | Analysis: Is Kate Forbes in danger of looking like a loser?

Despite calls for corporate and council tax changes and income tax cuts, there has been a distinct lack of interest in Holyrood for new tax powers.

While Mr Ross was keen on transferring Holyrood’s tax and spending powers to the councils, where the Tories could actually use them, there was no evidence that further powers would be transferred from London to Edinburgh.

If he really thought he would one day be in power in Holyrood, surely he wished he could pull more levers and lower taxes? That he wasn’t that excited speaks for itself.

What the event made quite clear was how the Scottish Tories plan to fight the upcoming general election.

Mr Ross all but ignored Labor (one mention) and focused his fire on the SNP and in particular the Scottish Greens, whom he sees as Humza Yousaf’s Achilles’ heel.

The businesspeople at Mr Ross’s introduction might not have been a representative sample, but they represented a range of industry bodies and their dislike of the Greens was palpable.


It’s something that’s also a hot topic in other business forums.

The SNP’s proximity to the Greens, a party opposed to the pursuit of economic growth, is viewed with deep suspicion by many of those who supported the SNP under Alex Salmond.

Mr Yousaf was warned about this on a recent Holyrood Sources podcast but shrugged.

But a new poll by the Fraser of Allander Institute this week will be a brutal result for him, showing a chilling breakdown in ties between business and his government.

Mr Ross doesn’t have many cards in play after the chaos of Liz Truss and the Year of the Five Chancellors, particularly when it comes to business, but siding with business against the Greens is one of them.

If the Scottish Tories can survive the election as the party that does business, it will do him good.

To this end, he offers the insurgent SNP MPs a chance to damage the Greens using the Tory votes. Even if they refuse, it will create tension and divisions within the government.

Mr. Ross’ economic plan isn’t all that big, but he has a much better plan of attack.

…Did you like this article? Sign up for a free account unspun Newsletter and receive it directly in your inbox every weekday evening at 7 p.m. Click here 👈

Grace Reader

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button