"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Monday, 30 November 2009

New Powers for Scotland - Where's the Catch?

Jim Murphy

I purposely haven't posted on the UK government Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy's announcement, made earlier this week, of 'new powers' for Scotland, because I saw no need. It was a move to achieve headlines, nothing more and nothing less. It is not going to happen because labour will not win the election and the Scots won't be so blatantly bribed.

'Scotland will be given greater tax-raising powers under the biggest shake-up in the nation's finances for 30 years' reported Reuters and the MSM splurged similar headlines over their front pages. Sounds too good to be true that Jim Murphy would agree to implement the recommendations of the Calman Commission doesn't it? Of course it is.

Firstly there is consensus in the Scottish Parliament that Scotland should have control over its speed limits, drink driving laws and air gun law, but Westminster refuse to hand over any powers until after the general election. The Scottish government has made it clear that it is ready to legislate where agreement exists and has now laid out a timetable but it is the UK government which is stalling the process.

Commenting on the UK government's proposals to transfer certain tax raising and borrowing power, Pete Wishart MP stated: "The Calman Commission's own experts have described these flawed tax proposals as 'worse than undesirable, they are unworkable'.

"The SNP government is seeking full fiscal autonomy and with that full responsibility for Scotland's finances. Anything less risks being a messy fudge which will damage the Scottish economy in the long term."

The catch? None of the terms of the announcement will be implemented until after the general election. What if labour lose the general election? There's the catch. In that case will the Tories implement the Calman recommendations? No. David Cameron has already stated he would not consider constitutional change in the next parliament and that would mean until 2015 at the earliest.

Scotland doesn't need flawed tax raising powers which will tie it to England even more. We need full fiscal control. What other country is unable to raise and spend its own taxes and have full fiscal control?

2 comments:

  1. If that's what the people want, that's what they should get. However severing the strings from one end of the country to another is never ever going to come without a catch, that being the desire of politicians to keep control and power within their grasp.
    Sooner the Scots vote to go their own way, the sooner they (and the English) can order their countries the way they really want them to be.

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  2. Hi QM, the problem at the moment seems to be the polls in Scotland are showing a falling away in support for the SNP and a referendum. Also, any future referendum should extend to England, Wales & N Ireland as well because the entire UK would be affected. It isn't just a Scottish issue as the SNPers like to say.

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