IT has become commonplace in the media in Scotland for every initiative from the Scottish Government to be greeted with dire and apocalyptic warnings of catastrophe.

When the Scottish Government raised income tax on higher earners the Scottish Tories – and some Labour figures – immediately wailed that there would be queues of traffic on the M74 as Range Rovers piled high with Agas flee to a lower tax regime in Tory-run England.

Will no one think of the upper middle classes? They're the real victims here.

Predictions of ruin and disaster are very much the stock in trade of the anti-independence media in Scotland because to them the very biggest disaster of all would be the calamity of Scotland actually managing to achieve something positive by itself.

READ MORE: Tories and Labour left red-faced as thousands move to Scotland despite tax hike

That would be evidence that Scotland is not in fact a hopeless basket case utterly dependent upon the good graces of that well known charitable institution run by kindly and benevolent candidates for sainthood, the British government.

However, like most of the overwrought warnings of calamity and catastrophe, utter ruination is not in fact what has come to pass. Quite the reverse.

A study carried out by HMRC on behalf of the Scottish Government found that there has been a steady increase in net migration of taxpayers in the five years since Scottish Income Tax was introduced in 2017-18.

In 2021-22, the last year for which data is available, £200 million in extra taxable income has been brought into Scotland, contrary to the predictions of better off people fleeing from Scotland, more higher and top-rate taxpayers have been moving to Scotland than leaving.

Provisional findings from the study were shared with Scottish ministers ahead of setting the 2024-25 Scottish Budget, which saw the creation of a new advanced rate of 45% income tax for those earning between £75,000 and £125,140.

Who'd have thought it? A country which prioritises better public services and a higher quality of life for its citizens over stripping the public sector to the bone is actually an attractive place in which to live.

You can be quite certain that this welcome news will not receive a fraction of the attention in the Scottish media which it gave to the hysterical doom mongering of the Scottish Government's political opponents.

Will Ofcom ever impose a meaningful sanction?

The media regulator Ofcom has warned broadcasters using politicians as hosts – we're looking at you here GB News – that "the highest level of due impartiality applies during election periods" and breaches could result in "statutory sanctions".

So far, breaches have only resulted in some tsks and a disappointed look, so it's scarcely surprising that Britain's poisonous right-wing ecosystem continues to act as though broadcasting impartiality regulations are more akin to the serving suggestion on a packet of cornflakes than anything to which they have to pay heed.

GB News has already been found in breach of broadcasting rules after three Conservative MPs acted as newsreaders across five different episodes of its programmes.

The National: Dame Melanie Dawes said Ofcom will lay out plans ‘within a day or two of the King’s Speech’ (House of Commons/PA)

Melanie Dawes (above), the chief executive of Ofcom, told BBC Radio 4 that GB News had been found in breach of the broadcasting code 11 times in the last year and the channel has been warned "fines are on the table".

However despite these numerous and repeated breaches the channel has yet to suffer any meaningful sanctions. No wonder it continues to flout the rules, rules which it would probably denounce as “wokery” anyway.

Mhairi Black takes the hapless Tories to task

SNP MP Mhairi Black has challenged the British government on the issue of Israeli war crimes after a mass grave containing the bodies of more than 300 people was discovered next to the Al Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in Gaza. Other hastily buried bodies were found outside the al Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Black said that the discoveries were on a par with the discovery of mass graves in Ukraine in the early days of the Russian invasion.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, the love child of Beaker from the Muppets and a member of the Maggie Thatcher fan club, took maximum harrumphage at the suggestion, insofar as a wet roll of kitchen towel is capable of harrumphing.

The National: Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden speaking in Whitehall after a statement to Parliament (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The hapless Dowden (above) was standing in for Rishi Sunak, who is off in Germany trying to pretend that the rest of the world cares about what he has to say.

Dowden was only promoted to his present role because there is no one else left – and because Sunak was impressed by his ability to defend any Conservative policy, no matter how crazy, cruel, or unhinged, with the same blank look of incomprehension.

Black said: "Two years ago, when mass graves were discovered in Ukraine, this house united in condemnation and rightly treated these graves as evidence of war crimes which Russia must be made to answer for.

"Yesterday, Palestinian officials uncovered two mass graves outside the bombed hospitals in Gaza. These graves also constitute a war crime, don’t they?"

READ MORE: It's hard to find words to speak on Gaza, but silence will be complicity

"Ah no but weeel, but no but," squirmed Dowden, before insisting that Israel can be trusted to investigate the matter fully. That has worked out so well in the past, hasn't it.

The issue is crucial to the question of the lawfulness of the UK's continuing supply of arms to Israel, even as credible evidence mounts of war crimes committed by Israeli forces against the civilian population of Gaza.

As Black put it to Dowden: "The UK's own arms policy states that if there is even a risk that war crimes may be taking place then that is reason enough to halt the sale of arms.

“Given all we know, why then is the Prime Minister yet to do so?"

The official response of both the Conservative government and the Labour party under Keir Starmer to calls to halt arms sales to Israel is: "Ah no but weeel, but no but."

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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