"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."

Friday, 3 December 2010


I'm cross-posting this from my own blog because some of you may be interested in following the Scottish constitutional proposals.  Thanks to GV for the platform.

This week saw the launch of the long-awaited Scotland Bill which Michael Moore, Scottish Secretary, described as 'reflecting the settled will of the Scottish people'.

I'm not so sure it's settled in the least although it's certainly progress.  Who would have thought that, after less than 4 years in power, the SNP would manage to provoke unionist parties into proposing such an extension of Scottish constitutional powers since devolution - even although Alex Salmond calls it 'Calman Minus'?  There is no doubt these changes were a result of the SNP performing well in government; in fact so well that the unionist parties, in a desperate attempt to curtail any progress to the SNP's Independence Bill, suggested Westminster could look at ways to increase powers to the Scottish Parliament.  The result was the Calman Commission and the unionist parties pledged their support for its findings.  A watered-down version of the findings are included in the new draft Scotland Bill.

Many who want full fiscal powers for Scotland have criticised the proposals as 'too little' and 'tinkering at the edges', however I too thinkAlex Salmond must be pinching himself. 

Newsnet Scotland is promoting a suggestion that those who support Scottish independence to write 'independence' on the coalition's AV referendum ballot slip on 5th May.  I wouldn't put it past the powers that be in Westminster to now combine all ballots onto one paper but I will take part as long there is no indirect damage to my Scottish general election vote.

Another suggestion, which could be very effective alongside this campaign, is made by that tenacious writer of letters to Scottish newspapers, Alex Orr.  In today's Scotsman he makes a very good casefor a Scottish referendum on the Scotland Bill.

... Given the fact that the 3p adjustment necessitated a referendum question, it is only right and proper that the Scotland Bill proposals should be put to the Scottish electorate in a referendum.

Few would or could argue with that, especially after the noise opposition MSPs made last week about the SNP government allowing the current 3p tax policy to lie in the long grass.  Surely they would think it only fair the people have their say?

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