Posted By: April 16, 2015

Brian Feeney. Irish News ( Belfast). Wednesday, April 15, 2015
BIG row has developed in Scotland about the demand of the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon for full fiscal autonomy and tax-raising powers for the country.

No, no, the Labour party says. That would mean a gap of £7.6 billion in funding to Scotland. The country’s economy would have to grow faster than any developed country to fill the gap. Not true, say the SNP.

Never mind who’s right. At least in Scotland they’re having a detailed economic argument.

Here, nothing. Oh yes, there’s the standoff on welfare cuts (or welfare reform as the DUP like to say) but that’s not an argument about economics. It’s just about distributing the annual block grant to the north’s glorified county council.

Could you name the DUP spokesman (with the DUP it’s bound to be a man) on economics? Could you name the Sinn Féin spokesperson on economics? You might say Pearse Doherty but he’s a TD from Donegal who has made a bit of a name for himself in the Dáil for his mastery of financial arguments. Remember when people used to say if challenged about some economic statement, ‘Yeah, but I’m a socialist so yam [I am]’, as if that assertion was explanation for anything they said about politics? The modern equivalent is, ‘Yeah, but I’m agin austerity so yam [ I am].’