Voting for a new Britain: Campaigns Briefing 15 Days to Go

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The Independent Online
Lib Dems `soft on drugs'

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS walked into the familiar charge of being "soft on drugs" after the Scottish party leader, Jim Wallace, said he supported the idea of a Royal Commission to look at all aspects of drug abuse, including the likely effect of decriminalisation of cannabis. David McLetchie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said it was typical of the "soft" Liberal Democrat approach. "Raising this issue at this stage is disastrous and divisive," he said

Unions back tax rise

THE HOLYROOD Parliament should be prepared to use its tax-raising powers to boost public services, the Scottish Trades Union Congress agreed, contrary to Labour's pledge not to raise taxes in the first four-year term. Labour would spend an extra pounds 10m on cancer centres in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Edinburgh, said the party's health spokesman, Sam Galbraith.

Stand and deliver

THE LIBERAL Democrats yesterday floated the novel idea that ministers in the Welsh administration should receive "promise-related pay". Michael German, the party's Welsh leader, said ministerial earnings should be tied to the degree to which they met their pledges. The Tories responded that, on this basis, Mr German would be "poverty stricken".

Call for news watchdog

A BROADCASTING watchdog to monitor the coverage of Scottish news was called for by Canon Kenyon Wright, a veteran home rule advocate and one of the few independent candidates in with a chance of winning a seat at Holyrood.

Quote of the day

"IF IT [independence] was measured in purely money terms you might as well hand the prize to Alex Salmond." The Scottish Conservative leader David McLetchie, hastily adding he was still strongly opposed to independence.