LibLink: Michael Moore: The Smith Commission has delivered

The Vow deliveredThis was the week that the Government unveiled the 44 clauses of the Scotland Bill which will be debated after the General Election. Former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore was a member of the Smith Commission upon whose report the clauses were drafted. He says in an article for the Scotsman that the Commission has delivered and “the Vow” has therefore been kept:

Of course, we know that any devolution settlement short of independence will be unacceptable to the SNP. And already we have seen them start to pick fights over the draft clauses, as indeed they did moments after Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney signed up to the Smith Commission Agreement in December. But I hope that they will now take a minute, even if it is in private, to reflect on what has been achieved.

£20 billion in tax raising powers. A welfare budget starting at £2.5 billion. These powers, and much else in the clauses announced yesterday, mean the Scottish Parliament will become one of the most powerful devolved administrations in the world. The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for Home Rule for Scotland. That is what this deal represents.

The challenge for the SNP is now to ensure that they work with us to ensure the new Scotland Bill can get on the statute book as soon as possible. If they want people to take their commitment to more powers seriously then they cannot be a roadblock to these changes. This includes ensuring that power is not hoarded centrally, but passed down to areas like the Borders where Edinburgh can sometimes feel just as distant as London.

You can read the whole article here. 

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5 Comments

  • “The challenge for the SNP is now to ensure that they work with us to ensure the new Scotland Bill can get on the statute book as soon as possible”……..sabre rattling rhetoric, how is the SNP relevant in this?
    They only have 6 MPs out of 650. The 3 parties that published “The Vow” have a huge majority in Parliament, and even if Labour renege on their part of the deal under some procedural pretext, there are still enough Tory and Lib Dem MPs to ensure the Scotland Bill gets passed.

    The comment about devolution to the borders is sound, but the rest of this article just shows signs of increasing desperation that the SNP is managing to gain support whilst being the government in Scotland for nearly 8 years.

  • David Howell 25th Jan '15 - 2:21pm

    70% of tax raising powers & 85% of Benefits control in Scotland is STILL under the control of Westminster!

    So where is “the Vow”?

    This is NOT what was promised 2 days before the referendum vote as a panic measure to skew the result away from a Yes to a No.

    I think , as we like to say up here . . . “The games a bogey”.

  • Philip Wilson 25th Jan '15 - 3:27pm

    While I support greater powers for Scotland I think it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture. The failure of the coalition government and indeed previous governments to transform our consitutional arrangements from the status quo to a federal structure, with all the nations of the UK on an equal footing and with greater powers for the cities and regions of England, is I believe the underlining cause of much of the political tension. I had hoped after the referendum this would have been the way to move forward but Lab and Tories seem to just want their reforms for their own gain.

  • Toby Fenwick 26th Jan '15 - 10:47am

    To David Howell

    It is more than was promised, actually, which must be especially frustrating given that so many Yessers were confidently predicting “betrayal”. Perhaps instead of playing “Grievo-Max”, the nationalists could explain what the Scotland Bill stops them from doing?

    But we’ve already got enough evidence of what the SNP does with the powers of the Scottish Parliament: very little, fiscally. Tax varying powers were allowed to lapse, the Stamp Duty changes are now under review, and middle class perks (eg “free” university places funded by cutting 140,000 vocational course places) all point to a political programme solely about independence, not good governance.

    Didn’t we just have a referendum on that?

  • I honestly hope Michael Moore doesn’t actually believe what he appears to have been saying about the SNP since the specific measures were announced. Three reasons:

    1) The SNP are a nationalist party, not a home rule party. So, why on earth would they want to even pretend to their voters that they support the proposals.

    2) The SNP, whilst losing the referendum and not watering down their message, have managed to take a lead in the opinion polls that presents them with the opportunity of taking a majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats and doing severe damage to the Labour Party, whom they see as the great enemy. Why, 100 days from an election, would they do anything to threaten that lead or water down their message.

    3) I heard Michael Moore last week call (in terms) on the SNP to accept the settled will of the Scottish people as displayed in the referendum and cooperate on what Westminster offers. As a Liberal, does Michael Moore intend to stop working for electoral reform, UK wide, simply because Clegg lost our referendum? Of course he doesn’t.

    As with so many other of our party’s electoral problems, we would be far better off focusing on what Liberal Democrats offer, rather than attacking our opponents in ill thought out ways. Unless, of course, this line might help you hold your seat Michael.

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