Legislative Programme

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:37 am on 16th June 1999.

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Photo of Keith Raffan Keith Raffan Liberal Democrat 11:37 am, 16th June 1999

It was interesting to hear the previous speaker, Mr Neil, who spoke from the fundamentalist wing of the Scottish National party and who exposed the deep divisions within that party, close as he is sitting to its front bench.

Those who speak for independence speak with emotional rather than with economic arguments. Mr Neil did not respond to Mr Johnstone's point about the fundamental contradiction in SNP economic policy. The SNP is forever criticising the Bank of England for setting interest rates in Scotland, yet it is prepared to concede the ability to set interest rates to the European Central Bank. I raised this, and several other points, with Mr Swinney on the hustings during the election campaign, but I never had a satisfactory answer. There is a basic contradiction in SNP economic policy, and I am not surprised that Mr Neil did not give way to Mr McConnell-or indeed to me. The question remains unanswered.