By a Newsnet reporter
Scottish Labour has been plunged further into crisis by deepening rifts over leader Johann Lamont’s devolved income tax plans, just a fortnight ahead of the party’s 2014 conference.
The plans to fully devolve income tax powers to the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote in the independence referendum were introduced in an interim report last spring by Scottish Labour’s devolution commission. The commission is chaired by Ms Lamont.

The recommendation prompted a backlash which has intensified ahead of the party conference this month.  Last month, Scottish Labour’s former finance spokesman Ken Macintosh urged his party colleagues to distance themselves from the plans, warning that they could backfire on the unionist party by devolving so many powers that the country would “effectively become independent by default”.

Days later, the situation deteriorated for Ms Lamont when it emerged that Scottish Labour MPs may be planning a boycott of the party conference over the situation.

In the most recent escalation, Friday’s Financial Times reported senior Labour sources indicating that the devolution commission would put forward a watered down “compromise” in a bid to avoid the embarrassment of a boycott, with one Labour MP told telling the title that further devolution powers would result in a “zero sum game”.

“There is this idea that somehow giving freedom over income tax is some kind of magic bullet,” one Labour MP told the FT, “It is a zero-sum game to try to out-nationalise the nationalists.”

According to the FT, one Labour MP dismissed his MSP coleagues. “It is a small gene pool up there, isn’t it?” he said. “They have always had a reputation for factions and infighting.”

Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish warned that split could lead to major problems for Johann lamont. “I do fear that the party is in danger of getting itself into some real difficulties,”

In a blow for Ms Lamont’s leadership of the party, the FT reported that she was having “difficulty establishing herself as a strong leader”, while Linda Fabiani MSP, who sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Referendum Bill Committee, said the feud showed that Westminster was still “calling the shots” on the party’s decisions in Scotland.

“The news that Labour’s already weak proposals for more powers are to be watered down even further in a ‘compromise’ with MPs in Westminster is a serious blow to Johann Lamont and puts an end to the absurd pretence that the powers Scotland needs can be delivered after a No vote,” she said.
“Johann Lamont’s leadership has been hamstrung from the beginning by the splits between her party’s Westminster and Holyrood factions – Scottish Labour MPs are even threatening to boycott the party’s conference later this month.  Ms Lamont was supposed to be the leader of all of the Labour party in Scotland – but this spat over more powers shows that Westminster is still well and truly calling the shots.

“A Yes vote means we don’t need to rely on grubby deals and compromises between Labour’s warring factions – with independence, Scotland will have control of all the powers we need to grow our economy and create a fairer society.”

Pressure has been piling on Ms Lamont over the policy as the party conference approaches.  Last month, Glasgow MP Ian Davidson warned the income tax plan would “undoubtedly be to Scotland’s detriment” and result in the loss of the Barnett Formula.

While Scottish Labour sources have insisted there are no rifts within the party, the Financial Times reported the group’s “reputation for factions and infighting” and Mr Davidson said the party was split “from top to bottom” over the issue.

The worsening crisis has not been helped by developments at local government level this week after Labour councillors in Aberdeen attempted to ban government ministers – including First Minister Alex Salmond – from entering council buildings on official business following a row over budget.


2014-03-08 18:53

Another reference from British Labour about our genetic deficiency here in Scotland.
Not only a small pool of genes but one that has problems making political decisions.
The question for Labour must be,does income tax alone fund the total welfare bill?
We need complete control of ALL of our income in order to create the sort of society we wish to see in Scotland and tinkering around the margins just won’t do it.
2014-03-08 19:11

Hmm… I dont know why but “destroyed from within” was the first thing I thought about when I read this

Roll on the 18th
2014-03-08 19:14

Westminster has no powers to devolve that are equal too the power of Independence, there’s simply no way these promised powers can pass through Westminster in that short space of time. Powers delivered after a no vote do they think our heads button up the back, jam tomorrow we’ve heard before and got eighteen years of Tory government instead.
2014-03-08 19:34


According to the FT, one Labour MP dismissed his MSP colleagues. “It is a small gene pool up there, isn’t it?” he said.

Coming from one of the Feeble 40, that’s saying something. They consider their most senior figures as: a man who describes himself as an ex-MP, a man content to lead a Tory-funded Unionist campaign, a thug as chair of the Scottish Committee and Margaret Curran. That’s not a rich gene pool of talent itself, is it?

2014-03-08 19:48

The archive link to FT for those unable to view:
2014-03-08 20:40

Thanks for that, I found it significant that unlike this article from here in Scotland the picture in the FT piece is of Darling, much better known to people in rUK despite it being mostly about Lamont’s problems. Is it therefore any wonder at the ignorance of Scotland in the rest of the UK?

2014-03-08 20:59

Devolving more powers ? not a chance,take them away is the bet I’d put on.Now if they really honestly wanted to make a difference the could have said that the powers that are devolved shall be written into law and non-returnable,that would make a lot of people sit up,of course it would end the BT united as well.Labour are rotten to the core and have been for many years,greed and selfishness is what they are all about.The split is there and some will say they are for the “party” and we know then that they are not for the Scottish people,but we knew this anyway.I do think if we started to ask them to pledge the powers to be non-returnable we may help push them along a bit further,towards their place in history.
From The Suburbs
2014-03-08 21:12

Labour MPs are opposed to the modest proposal to devolve Air Passenger Duty.

However we must continue to point out that Unionist MPs at Westminster will lose their gravy train and be unemployed after independence.

Problem is that Unionist MSPs lack the self confidence to take major responsibility and decisions for themselves.

Independence will release the suppressed inferiority complex that has been inbred into the Scottish people thanks to our unionist directed educational system and BBC propaganda.
2014-03-08 21:25

For Sale:
DevoMAX idea.
Unwanted Christmas Present.
Still in unopened box with original tags attached.
Cost £150 billion less Barnet formula per annum.

Pickup only: We cannot deliver.

Call J. Lamont. Glasgow.
2014-03-08 22:03

The Labour party in Scotland has exhibited hubris for generations. Corrupt and self-serving, its inherent contradictions are now rising to the surface like stinking pus.

When the eruption occurs will our msm report it honestly and in any depth?
2014-03-09 01:56

Westminster’s men/women in Scotland. Has it ever been Scotland’s men/women in Westminster with this lot? They make me truly sick to the core. Blinded by the trees they are. Or maybe that’s blinded by the perks for the labour family. If we show labour up for what they are in this debate we’ve won it! We need to go on the attack!
2014-03-09 20:23

“Another reference from British Labour about our genetic deficiency here in Scotland.
Not only a small pool of genes but one that has problems making political decisions.”

It certainly seems to be a preoccupation of theirs. It isn’t that long ago that one of their number recommended putting birth control chemicals into treatment for drug addicts, which is, of course, straight out of eugenics 1.0.1.

Although whether he even knew of the existence of the word ‘eugenics’ or not, is another matter.

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