Donors turn off the tap on Scottish Labour over constitutional pusillanimity
The Herald reports that several major donors have stopped giving funds to Scottish Labour, with one saying that their leader had to “do more” to back the Union.
It reports that this created a “funding black hole” that covered, and doubtless contributed to, the Party’s disastrous performance in May’s Holyrood elections, when it fell behind the Scottish Conservatives.
As we explained on this site earlier this week, Ruth Davidson’s strategy is to hoover up unionist voters with a firm constitutional line. Kezia Dugdale, her Labour counterpart, has helped her out by suggesting she might back independence in the event of Brexit.
Scottish Labour have been skewered early on the horns that are rushing towards the party nationally: their coalition is fracturing in irreconcilable ways, and rather than making a bold decision to seize as much of the remnant as they can they seem paralysed, trying to work out how to win it all back and losing more in the process.
Jones tells Labour to “get its act together” and opposes EU referendum rematch
The First Minister of Wales, who along with Sadiq Khan is one of Labour’s most senior elected representatives, has accused the national party of failing to provide “effective opposition” to Theresa May’s Government.
Carwyn Jones was interviewed whilst on an official visit to the United States, for which he has been criticised by the Welsh Conservatives for flying out of an English airport.
He also told an audience in Chicago that despite being a staunch (and extremely opportunistic) Remainer he is opposed to having a second referendum on Brexit, which he feels would be viewed as “an attempt by the establishment to overturn democracy”.
A rerun is the official policy of Owen Smith, the Welsh MP who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership. Jones has refused to endorse either candidate.
In other news, his administration will introduce Wales’ first new tax for 800 years on Monday when it exercises new powers to introduce a replacement for Stamp Duty.
Irish nationalists deflate as polls show similar lack of post-Brexit momentum
In what Sam McBride describes in the News Letter as a “crushing blow” to Sinn Fein, a BBC poll has found only a negligible increase in support for a change in Northern Ireland’s constitutional status despite the Brexit vote.
There is a small but clear rise in support for the Province’s accession to a greater Irish state, but it is not clear that this is down to Brexit.
In any event a far cry from the mass public backlash that the Republicans – and a chorus of doom-mongering Remainers – had predicted. As Alex Kane points out, Sinn Fein and the SDLP haven’t even convinced their Catholic base.
SNP face budget pressures as independence drive continues to stall
The Scottish Government has come under pressure to outline which taxes it plans to raise to fund the Nationalists’ spending promises, the Daily Telegraph reports.
A new report from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute warns that the devolution of major new budget responsibilities means other parts of the budget may face deep cuts if new funds aren’t raised.
Elsewhere this week John Swinney, the Education Secretary, ruled out allowing schools to opt out of local authority control – despite arguing that headteachers were best placed to make decisions for their pupils.
Swinney’s put his centralising instincts on full display in his previous post as Finance Minister, when he used a council tax freeze to ratchet up Edinburgh’s influence over Scottish councils.
Meanwhile, the latest polls show that Brexit has still not delivered a boost to Scottish independence, and writing in the Times (£) Alex Massie warns that Nicola Sturgeon risks doing her Party great damage if she keeps stoking the fires of a referendum she doesn’t intend to trigger.
DUP hit out at Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein
The Democratic Unionists have been on the offensive this week, with shots fired at both their major nationalist coalition partner and their smaller unionist rival.
Gregory Campbell, the party’s MP for East Londonderry, has complained to the police ombudsman about the PSNI’s decision not to question Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister, over Bloody Sunday.
Elsewhere Arlene Foster, the First Minister, attacked a UUP plan to turn the entire province into an enterprise zone. She claimed that the Opposition document was “entirely uncosted” and contained propositions which were “six to ten years old”.