16 Jun 2009

Calman Reflections

It would be churlish to call the recommendations of the Calman Commission irrelevant tinkering. Potentially granting the Scottish Parliament £10 billion pounds worth of tax raising powers, plus extending its remit in a number of other important areas is, in Unionist terms, significant.

But first of all, let's be clear: Unionist proposals maybe, but produced in the context of the SNP's historic win in May 2007 and the SNP's subsequent successes. So, even without participating, these concessions are nationalist victories, whatever the spin. Because as Jim Murphy, Brown and co all hail the Commission's recommendation, remember Jimbo's immediate predecessor as Secretary of State for Scotland, Des Browne said he saw no need whatsoever for a review of The Scotland Act, a view endorsed by both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

So whatever happened to that "settled will of the Scottish People"? And who are these Unionist appointed Calman commissioners, and now a committee of Unionist party leaders chaired by Jim Murphy to unsettle it?

Remember it was Nulab in 1997 that insisted on a separate referendum question on the new -parliament's tax raising powers when the power on offer was no more that what has turned out to be a theoretical right to vary the basic rate of income tax by 3p. But now Holyrood is to have, not just theoretical power, but the annual obligation to set all rates of income tax, plus the ability to vary these by as much as 10p.

But no referendum to endorse these significant new powers.

How very old politics. How so not 1997. How so not 2009 .....for it all to be down to of a small cabal of polticians to decide. No need for a referendum - incredulously confirmed on Newsnight Scotland last night by Tavish Scott, who leads a party screaming for one on electoral reform. And this morning Labour is making a virtue of having most of the Calman's proposals legislated on before the next UK General election. That's right, disgraced and corrupt MPs like Margaret Moran and Andrew McKay get a say, but the people of Scotland don't.

And whatever happened to the sovereignty of the Scottish People, the claimed DNA of the Scottish Constitutional Convention?

So, well done Calmun Commission, you've done you job within the remit you were given. But now surely it is the job of the people of Scotland. not a cabal of Unionist politicians (half appointed directly from London), and a whipped fag end Westminster parliament containing people that may end up in jail to decide the next steps?

Unionist politicians seem strangely afraid of the people - even on their own proposals!
Got a view - post it here by all means, but why not instead make it on Scots Voices an new broad based blog set up to discuss Calman and related matters? Worth a visit.


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