Thursday, 8 April 2010
Kenny MacAskill waves hello to Cameron
Interesting to see Kenny MacAskill, Scottish Justice Secretary, sending out a wee signal to the Tories when he hit the election trail today.
MacAskill joined forces with the Tories in attacking Labour's proposed proposed 1p NI rise in 2011.
He could have welcomed the 1p rise as a useful bulwark to protecting public services - and protected health and education budgets mean bigger Barnett consequentials for Scotland - but instead chose to give a sign that the SNP is prepared to side with David Cameron in the event of a hung parliament.
MacAskill warned Labour’s plans would cost Scottish police and fire services £10m a year. The 1p rise, one of several Labour measures to aid economic recovery, equated to the wages of 275 police officers or the running costs of the Scotland Office, which he said should be abolished.
To be absolutely fair to MacAskill he cursed both their houses - Labour and Tory.
He said: "The Tories are planning a special cut for Scotland despite being funded by Scottish resources, while Labour are going for a double whammy, hitting Scotland with a £400m real term budget cut and a National Insurance policy which will hit frontline services."
Last week Alex Salmond outlined his shopping list of demands for a hung Westminster parliament. But that was only half the story. The SNP would have to sell their votes to get any concessions and be bound in a budget vote and a confidence motion.
When I asked him directly if SNP votes would be used to prop up a minority Conservative government he dodged the bullet. In other words he has not ruled out making a deal with the Tories in exchange for SNP votes in Westminster.