The Scottish National Party are out to pick a fight, any fight on any pretext, so that they can act the injured party and gain the sympathy vote. They know they are on borrowed time and it is running out for them; not just with Scotland’s voters but also with their own members and supporters. Likewise with Sinn Fein, who are in exactly the same position in Northern Ireland (and also failing to make a decisive break through in the Republic). Both parties are National Socialist, which may come as a surprise to many SNP members and elected representatives who think and are told they are social democrats. As such, they are both adept at misleading the public and spinning the facts as they pursue their overriding aims of independence and reunification. In that process they are creating anxiety and further divisions that will inevitably lead to aggression and violence. SF can turn this on and off very easily to suit their agenda. There is also an aggressive element that has attached itself to the SNP and with little excuse would ape its cousins across the North Channel. Their justification, notwithstanding their behaviour and provocation, is they are both victims and being forced to respond because they have no choice. They are being taken out of the European Union against their wishes!
Having studied the Treasury Red Book and carefully considering the Chancellor’s presentation of the Budget to the Commons, the word that springs to mind is – bodge. The definition of which is – to repair or adjust in a false or clumsy way, that is not as good as it should be, making it look good for a day or two before it collapses; or simply to put a square peg in a round hole. This perfectly sums up the Budget and Philip Hammond. We became resigned to his predecessor’s style of presentation over substance and lack of attention to detail, which invariably resulted in every one of his budgets unravelling within a short space of time. While acknowledging the fundamental soundness of George Osborne’s strategy to eliminate the annual Budget deficit and then start to reduce the National Debt, there is no doubt that his tactics were questionable and he kept missing his target. He was so consistent in this respect that I did not even comment on his 2016 Budget as it contained a number of ticking time-bombs, the latest of which is set to explode in April with the new rates for Vehicle Excise Duty that undermine the Government’s climate strategy. With Chris Grayling warning motorists to think very carefully before buying a diesel car, and the implication of coming penalties and taxes on them, whatever was Hammond thinking of by pressing ahead with the new VED instead of announcing a review in his first Autumn Statement?