I understand the SNP’s decision not to look at revenue options and simply to hand on Westminster’s cuts, though I disagree with it. But today UK Ministers have told us that someone in the Scottish Government let the powers lapse in 2007 when the SNP took office. Even the Labour/Lib Dem 1999-2007 coalition had the good sense to retain the power itself, though they didn’t use it (and during those budgetary boom years I think that was the right decision).

Michael Moore’s letter says it will now take two years to get the relevant HMRC systems up and running again, and then another ten months to bring any change in. It’s extraordinary. If some ultra-Unionist party had handed back a Scottish tax power the Scottish people explicitly and overwhelmingly endorsed in 1997, the SNP would be calling for Ministerial heads to roll. You simply cannot bang on about hypothetical future powers as an excuse for not using the existing ones, let alone when you’re returning them to Westminster.

Through SNP incompetence or deliberate intention, the voters now have their choice limited, and it will be much harder to find ways to raise revenue and step away from these Tory cuts. Someone should consider their position.

Does it remind anyone else of this epic speech? A nationalist Government, a nationalist Government, scurrying about in limos handing powers back to London.

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