More powers for Scotland – guaranteed

Rennie, Davidson, Lamont More powers photo popWe brought you the joint article from yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday in which Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie and his Conservative and Labour counterparts Ruth Davidson and Johann Lamont. Now this lunchtime, the three leaders appeared at the iconic Edinburgh monument on Calton Hill to issue a joint statement.  Whether it was wise to drag journalists up there in this blistering heat will be seen from the coverage that ensues. I’ve already seen one point out that the monument was once known as Scotland’s Folly. I think he might actually have meant Edinburgh’s Folly, but never mind. Anyway, Willie Rennie is used to running up hills and the view from the top is amazing.

The statement that the three leaders issued was unequivocal:

Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how we are governed.

We believe that the pooling and sharing of resources across the United Kingdom is to Scotland’s benefit in a partnership of four nations in which distinct national identities can flourish and be celebrated.

We believe that Scotland and the United Kingdom have been strengthened since the advent of devolution.

We support a strong Scottish Parliament in a strong United Kingdom and we support the further strengthening of the Parliament’s powers.

The three parties delivered more powers for Holyrood through the Calman Commission which resulted in the Scotland Act 2012.

We now pledge to strengthen further the powers of the Scottish Parliament, in particular in the areas of fiscal responsibility and social security. We believe that Scotland should have a stronger Scottish Parliament while retaining full representation for Scotland at Westminster. Our common agenda can bring people together from all of Scotland, from civic society and every community.

The Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have each produced our own visions of the new powers which the Scottish Parliament needs.

We shall put those visions before the Scottish people at the next general election and all three parties guarantee to start delivering more powers for the Scottish Parliament as swiftly as possible in 2015.

Our common endeavour will deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament in a stronger United Kingdom.

Of course, the Yes campaign will say that this is promising “jam tomorrow” and remind everyone that Thatcher promised devolution and didn’t deliver. The political environment then was very different. Then, Conservatives were against and Labour lukewarm to any sort of devolution. Now, we’ve had a thriving Parliament for a decade and a half. Even if the three parties produced a list of exactly what would be offered post devolution, the Yes people would attack it and say it wouldn’t be delivered. Having said that, Sir Menzies Campbell’s “Campbell II” document laid out a process whereby the Secretary of State for Scotland would convene a meeting within 30 days after a no vote and a joint plan would be put to the electorate but at least it means that there will be an inclusive debate, that is open to the people who supported independence to take part in. To be honest, the move for future change needs not to smack of a stitch up between politicians, It needs to have some sort of input from civil society in the same way that the Scottish Parliament originally developed.

Nick Clegg has welcomed the leaders’ statement and said that more powers were inevitable:

Today our unshakeable commitment to home rule for Scotland within a strong United Kingdom has come to a significant milestone.

I stand fully behind this coming together of the three Scottish party leaders to achieve the next milestone. More powers for Scotland are inevitable.

It’s actually up to those of you south of the border to do your bit to campaign for English devolution so that we can have the Federal UK that we have always wanted.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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5 Comments

  • Frank Booth 16th Jun '14 - 3:43pm

    What’s the point of having the three leaders of their respective parties in Scotland promising more powers or the Scottish parliament. They have the power to deliver precisely nothing. Clegg’s words are significant since he is at least based at Westminster, but I wish he would ditch this ‘Home Rule’ nonsense, a term that belongs in the days of the British Empire. Home rule surely means independence. It also makes Scotland sound like it’s currently a colony which it most definitely isn’t. The 19th century nostaglia of the current liberal leadership needs to be kyboshed.

    We need to have a serious think about what powers are best kept at UK level and how power can be devolved sensibly. A federal UK would need to have England divided up into regions. England is way too powerful to stand on its own within the UK. It would not be stable. Neither do I think an English parliament centred in London would please the English regions.

  • Alternatively you can vote Yes and guarantee Scotland gains all the power and is never governed by Westminster again.

    Dependence is for bairns!

  • jedibeeftrix 22nd Jun '14 - 12:30pm

    Which is all fine and well, if you do not see the rest of the UK as your familiy with whom you are willing to share governance, and unwilling to assent that the gov’t may act in your name.

    In which case, fine, vote for independence.

    I personally see the Scots as my ‘family’ and hope they vote to stay.

  • roger heape 23rd Jun '14 - 9:43am

    If there are more powers for Scotland answering the West Lothian question becomes even more pressing.Since the English will have less say over Scottish matters, its unreasonable for Scots to continue having a full say over English matters.Easiest way to handle is for Scottish MP,s not to be able to vote on English domestic matters.

  • But when Scotland budget is doled out by Westminster are there many issues that are solely English domestic matters?

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