When is a grotesque unfairness not a grotesque unfairness?
The Telegraph's Allison Pearson writes on the Barnett Formula:
I don’t care whether our Government is keeping quiet about this grotesque unfairness to stop pro-independence feelings from growing in Scotland. I do care that English students are carrying vast amounts of debt on their young backs, while their exact contemporaries north of the border embark on adult life in the black.
Well perhaps you should care. Why is toleration of a grotesque unfairness acceptable if it is done by Unionists with the political intent of keeping Scotland in the Union?
Presumably the £4.5bn a year by which Scotland is overfunded would go some way to mitigating the severity of the Government's austerity measures in England. We are told that the Barnett Formula, although unfair, must remain in place until after the stabilisation of the public finances (which, by happy coincidence, will be after the referendum on Scottish independence - and, in all probability, after the term of the present government, which means that Cameron and Clegg will have broken their pre-election promise on Barnett reform).
People like Allison Pearson may be able to tolerate a policy of Killing Home Rule by Kindness during boom years but it will be interesting to see whether they regard it as a small price to pay during the austerity years. The tone of her article suggests not.