Tag Archives: Smith Commission

Brokenvow Sign

So It’s Devo F*&k All Then

The Smith Commission has given it’s considered views on which powers should be granted to the Scottish Parliament. That’s all well and good but these proposals fall somewhat short of the mark, they amount to nothing in reality (apart from full control of road signs). Oh how Unionists must be laughing at their cocaine and whore parties tonight.

Brokenvow Sign

Brokenvow Sign

The Smith Commission Report is available here. The ins and outs of this report will be pored over for some time I’d imagine, with Unionists giving us all the “Vow Delivered” clap trap and “Now the Scottish Government must tell us how it’s going to use these significant new powers.” The simple fact is that although some new powers are being offered they all come with caveats. If the Scottish Government makes efficiency savings in one area and saves some cash, then the block grant from Westminster will be cut. If the Scottish Government chooses to use some devolved power which costs a bit more, the money will have to be found from within the existing block grant.

The most striking part of the report for me is in paragraph 76 which says, “Within this framework, the Scottish Parliament will have the power to set the rates of Income Tax and the thresholds at which these are paid for the non-savings and non-dividend income of Scottish taxpayers.” Which means that the Scottish Government can tax the workers, but not the rich. That’s a nice touch of Tory there.


Keep Calm Learn Your Command Words

The UK Government Commands

The government has issued its commands to the Smith Commission today, and what a right riveting read it is too. The “Command Paper” was published to “set out the range of proposals that have been made on further devolution.” So what’s it all about?

In a nutshell it re-iterates the main Unionist parties’ preferred options for further devolution to the Scottish Parliament.  Can you remember what went down before the referendum? Each of the main Unionist parties had a wee bit of a get together and , between the champers and caviar, came up with a range of proposals. They then published them:

Scottish Conservatives and Unionist Party: Commission on the Future Governance of Scotland

Scottish Liberal Democrats: Federalism: the best future for Scotland

Scottish Labour Party: Powers for a purpose – Strengthening Accountability and Empowering People

Now, as we all know, the word “Scottish” means nothing in those party names. We know that they take their orders from London. So whatever view is expressed in those papers is the settled view of the Westminster holding party. The commands are therefor issued directly from Westminster. If we think back to composition and remit of the Smith Commission, which was discussed in an earlier post, we can see that it is 60% Unionist – 40% Pro Independence and a consensus has to be reached (in a very short timeframe). Which means that whatever the Unionist parties agree to will be the consensus.

Having had a read of the document that means that Air Passenger Duty will be devolved. Ace, the only increase in tax raising powers will be the ability to vary the rate of tax on air passengers. There are various proposals for the devolution of spending money, but you can’t spend what you haven’t got. But we might be able to borrow a bit from the treasury, if they let us. Of course, the Barnett Formula will be adjusted to reflect the taxes raised in Scotland.

I’m looking forward to the Unionist crow fest tomorrow when the House of Commons will get to shove the referendum result down our throats again. That’ll be just dandy. Oh, don’t forget Gordie Broon’s wee debate on Thursday either. Then we will have to wait until the end of the month for the Smith Commission to report, but I wouldn’t expect anything of substance to come from it. So much for “Devo-Max” Gordie; you’ve been played for a fool and so have the people of Scotland.


Lord Smith of Kelvin

The Smith Commission

The Smith Commission was set up in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum in an effort to fulfil the promises of the no campaign who had been panicked into making the promises of more power to the Scottish Parliament by the narrowing of the opinion polls. The commission has a very tight timeline to consider which powers should be devolved, courtesy of Gordie Broon’s ‘timetable’. The aim of the commission is to get representatives of all of the main political parties together and somehow get them to agree to a set of proposals by 31st October. Not long to consider the constitutional future of a country you may think, and I would have to agree with you especially since nothing has happened yet except for the naming of (almost) all of the representatives.

The representatives are:


John Swinney and Linda Fabiani


Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman

Scottish Labour

Iain Gray and (probably) Gregg McClymont

Scottish Conservative

Annabel Goldie and Adam Tomkins

Lib Dem

Michael Moore and Tavish Scott

The astute reader will have already spotted a problem with this set up. There are 4 pro independence representatives and 6 unionist representatives. So we have 40% of the participants representing the pro-independence movement and 60% of the participants representing the unionist side. Not exactly representative of the referendum outcome is it? The commission already smacks of bias to me, how about you?

Lord Smith of Kelvin

Lord Smith of Kelvin

Another potential problem is Baron Smith of Kelvin who’s bum creases the red leather cross party benches in the unelected House of Lords when he can be bothered to turn up. He has knelt before the queen twice, once for a plain knighthood and again for a knighthood into the order of the thistle. He’s about as establishment as you get. Robert Haldane Smith, to give him his mortal name, is also the chairman of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) who were fined £1.25 million in 2012 for sharp doorstep selling practices and another £10.5 million in 2013 for “prolonged and extensive” miss-selling. He is also a non executive director of Standard Bank Group (which was fined more than £6 million for breaching money laundering regulations in 2014). So as we can see he has vested interests in the energy sector and financial services. He is attributed with no political party affiliation but he owes his loyalty to the queen who “purred” when she heard the result of the referendum. But lets be kind to him and call him neutral, until we learn otherwise,

The commission’s terms of reference are, “to convene cross-party talks and facilitate an inclusive engagement process across Scotland to produce, by 30 November 2014, Heads of Agreement with recommendations for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. This process will be informed by a Command Paper, to be published by 31 October and will result in the publication of draft clauses by 25 January. The recommendations will deliver more financial, welfare and taxation powers, strengthening the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom.”

The commission is welcoming proposals from everyone, for details of how you can submit your ideas click here.

I, for one, hope that something meaningful comes from this commission. We shall have to wait and see. However it is then up to Westminster to legislate and GIVE us those powers, and with a general election just round the corner, I can’t help but feel that the issue is going to be kicked into the long grass. When it finally resurfaces it will end up being watered down so that we end up with a wee sweetie to sook on.

Some of things that I would like to see are the devolution of income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, energy policy, welfare, pensions, land policy, air passenger duty, fuel duty, alcohol duty and last but not least the constitution because as things stand what Westminster gives they can also take away. Will we get to see any of these things? I doubt it because I don’t trust the Westminster establishment. But I’ll try anyway. Maybe you should have a wee think and come up with your own ideas, don’t forget the deadline of 31st October to get them in.