Sunday, 25 April 2010

We're poorer than Ireland and Iceland - whatever Labour say

I spoke in the Economy Debate in Parliament on Thursday. Unfortunately I was so angry at the hypocrisy of the Labour motion that I seem to have damaged my throat! Anyway you can read why here if you're interested. During the debate I called on the Labour Party to apologise to countries like Iceland and Ireland for the despicable glee with which they've talked about their recent economic difficulties.

When Ireland and Iceland got into trouble (like the UK did, remember) folk like Jim Murphy and George Foulkes were cock-a-hoop and almost singing it from the rooftops because those two countries are part of the "arc of prosperity" often referred to as examples of small independent nations who, surprise surprise could look after themselves.

So when their economies got into trouble (again, like the UK's did) this lot used it as "evidence" that they couldn't look after themselves and therefore neither could Scotland. Bit of a strange analysis but that's what happens when you clutch at straws.

Now, however, the International Monetary Fund forecasting (generally very accurate) tells us that Ireland and Iceland will both, between 2010 and 2014, be wealthier per head of population than the UK. Norway of course will be a great deal wealthier but they were lucky, they discovered oil and gas. Hmmmm.

Economic recovery is not dependent on the size of the country but how your government tackles the problems and that is the point. We are dependent on a government based in London which will always use economic levers to tackle the economy of the South East of England, our neighbouring country. Ireland and Iceland will use the best economic levers for Ireland and Iceland and they'll either get it right or they'll get it wrong depending on how smart their government is.

The real disgrace here is that politicians representing Scotland, ie representing us, embarrassed Scotland by jumping for joy when the people of Ireland and Iceland were facing such tough times. The Labour opponent of Angus Brendan McNeill MP actually said the words "Iceland's finished, so is Ireland's economy" on Radio Scotland on Friday.

Can you imagine how we would feel if Irish politicians were now to be saying such disrespectful things about our country? I know that desperate times call for desperate measures but I really do think the Labour Party are not fit to be in power if they cannot control themselves and behave respectfully to our friends in other countries.

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