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Look at this – the Tories are proposing that Scottish MPs will not have the power to set Income Tax rates outside of Scotland, as part of devolution. This means Scottish MPs won’t be able to set any Income Tax rates at all, as Scottish taxes will be set by the Scottish Parliament.

This is an annoying complication for the system, created by the Tories in response to the plans for Scottish devolution. It is divisive on many levels. People in Scotland and the rest of the UK will be watching rates in each other’s territories like hawks, ready to complain at the slightest sign that they are getting a worse deal. Scottish MPs will effectively have less power than their counterparts in England, Wales and NI – will they be happy about that? The Welsh and Northern Irish will be pushing for similar powers, that would give their own MPs less power than those in England. People in England might just be unhappy that their Income Tax rates will be set by Conservatives, who hold more seats in England than anyone else. And Conservative MPs are already saying that Scottish MPs will still have too much influence.

Resentments will grow – but isn’t this what the Scottish National Party wants? Hasn’t it learned that the best way to have its way is to divide the opposition?

Isn’t that why SNP adherents have been spreading lies about the Labour Party north of the border? Claims about pensions, the Vow, working with the Tories and who knows what else are always made as bald statements because there is no evidence to support them, other than that they don’t lead to a fully independent Scotland.

Divide and rule – it’s an age-old Tory tactic. We all know that super-rich bankers caused the crash that provided George Osborne with his excuse to impose austerity on us all. But the Tory lie is that the previous Labour government overspent, and the Tory tactic has been to victimise claimants of unemployment and disability benefits under the pretext that they are skivers and scroungers. They’re not – these benefits are correctly claimed in 99.3 per cent of cases.

And pensioners have all this to come from 2016, if the Tories retain office in May!

Note that the measures proposed by William Hague today fall short of the English Parliament that many people wanted. The Tories know what they’re doing, you see – they want to spread resentment against the Scots. It’s the “Us” and “Them” mentality.

Note that Labour wants a cross-party investigation into the matter. No doubt the ScotsNats will call that “weak” if they get the chance.

So why this strategy by the ScotsNats?

Are they trying to irritate the rest of us so much – by their own admission they don’t think they have any influence on national politics, so this must mean they can only be an irritant – that, sick and tired of their nonsense, we end up declaring, in Cromwellian tones, “In the name of God, go”?

How would Scottish citizens who haven’t been seeking independence, and who haven’t been causing such annoyance, feel about being cut adrift with the rest of them?

And how would the rest of the world treat an independent Scotland whose leaders (and their supporters) had been shown to have been acting in such a childish way?

It seems to this writer that this divide-and-rule strategy marks the Scottish Nationalists as far too similar to the Tories than either would care to admit.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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