Labour MPs, English Tories and Ukip have attacked Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy’s plan to pay for 1,000 extra nurses through taxes on mansions south of the Border.
The “1000 nurse” undertaking is every bit as idiotic as it appears. The main purpose was, as ever, an attack on the SNP. If anybody thought any further than that at all they might have supposed that they had accidentally hit upon a good example of the “pooling and sharing across the UK” that they are always banging on about – making it a double-barrelled electioneering salvo.
Both barrels backfired disastrously.
The attempt to wrong foot the SNP was catastrophically ill-thought with an undertaking which handed them the power to define the most crucial part of the promise – the number of nurses. It wasn’t a promise of 1000 nurses. It was a promise of 1000 more nurses than an entirely unknown figure.
Not only is there no way that this promise could be costed, there was no way it could be delivered. Health is fully devolved. It wouldn’t matter how many British Labour MPs were returned to Westminster from constituencies in Scotland, they would have no power to implement this “policy”. Unless, of course, Murphy’s mob are fantasising about British Labour taking power again at Holyrood in 2016. In which case, they seem to be envisaging that British Labour administration taking its instructions from an equally imaginary British Labour government in London.
So much for the “autonomy” that Murph The Mendacious has been mouthing-off about.
The “pooling and sharing” bit (supposing it was even considered) has backfired for the simple reason that nobody in England – and certainly nobody in London – is the slightest bit interested in any form of resource redistribution which does not work to their advantage. And, as we have seen all to clearly, they are vehemently opposed to any “pooling and sharing” which so much as looks as if it might work to Scotland’s advantage.
All Murphy’s mob have done is expose the utter vacuousness of their whole “pooling and sharing” argument.
British Labour in Scotland, assisted by much of the media in Scotland which had elevated Jim Murphy to the status of “Protector of the British State”, are now desperately trying to salvage something from this “1000 nurses” fiasco by portraying it as a bit of clever political gamesmanship worthy of Alex Salmond. It isn’t! It is a clumsy mess which exposes the petty, intellect-crippling anti-SNP obsession of the pretendy “Scottish Labour Party” and the yawning emptiness of all their “One nation” rhetoric.
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