He's going to give a lecture today suggesting the yes/no indy question was bound to polarise support and that a federalised UK could form a useful middle ground. Hold on though, no bugger knows who Murdo Fraser is do they?
This is him:
Murdo Fraser is Conservative MSP for the mid-Scotland and Fife region since 2001. In his time he's been deputy leader of the Scottish Tories and currently holds the position of convener of the Economy, Energy, and Tourism Committee. He also contested the last leadership election and probably would have won had Ruth Davidson not been parachuted in by David Cameron. Davidson only entered Holyrood in 2011, Fraser on the other hand had been in harness for ten years but had been making noises about further devolution during his leadership campaign, some time later, Ruth made public her 'line in the sand' promise - make of that what you will.
Now though, its all change. Unionist parties are tripping over themselves to make noises about maybe offering more powers possibly at some point not specified in a future which may or may not transpire on this plane of existence.
And that is what Murdo will be talking about during his lecture at Glasgow University.
|The relevance of this image will become clear soon enough, unfortunately.|
The SNP offered the opportunity for a third question but made it clear they'd be campaigning only for a yes. Unionist parties accused - I know, can you believe it? - Salmond of wanting a safety net for when is heinous plans for full autonomy went awry and said they would only campaign for a no vote and the status quo.
To clarify, nobody wanted to campaign for any sort of further devo option -so it didn't go on the ballot.
Now though, with the Yes campaign gaining ground and - please excuse this analogy - unionist sphincters twitching like rabbit's noses: devo-something is firmly back in the picture. We need to remember - if it had been on the ballot and we voted for it - Westminster would have been compelled to deliver it. Now though, all unionist parties need do is offer some ill-defined ill-thought out options then distract voters so they don't look too closely and realise its all unworkable flim flam.
I'm going to say something boring now, but its important. With that in mind, as a reward I'm placing a cute picture after two very short paragraphs.
Its about the Barnett Formula and further tax raising powers for Holyrood. Holyrood has had tax raising powers since its inception but never used them - why? Put simply, because the Barnett Formula - which is used to calculate the Scottish Parliament's block grant...
|The block grant pays for all of the above. (This isn't the picture by the way.)|
There now, that wasn't so bad was it? And, you'd have to agree - important too?
At first glance, you might think these devo-options aren't that bad - I mean - its more power isn't it? Well no, in terms of the income tax varying part for example - it means more responsibility & bureaucracy with no gain. In other areas, its not anything like enough. Its all just a sop to make you vote no.
These devo-options seem fine if you don't think too hard about it. But - a wee bit like having a new puppy in the house - its only when you start finding dog shit behind the settee you begin to equate the aspiration with the reality.
While you can train that out of a puppy, you can't train the mendacity out of a Scottish unionist politician with a strong vested interest in the status quo.
If you doubt that, you could do an internet search with the words 'Westminster gravy train' or 'Scottish Referendum 1979' or 'McCrone report' or 'Gordon Campbell Secretary of state for Scotland 1970 to 1974' or 'MOD job losses in Scotland under the union' or 'Shipbuilding job losses under the union' or 'Westminster expenses scan-
Well, the list goes on and will continue to grow until we vote yes.