Tag Archives: smith commission

Alistair Carmichael wants Orkney and Shetland to control their share of the Crown Estates

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TAlistair Carmichael has tabled an amendment to the Scotland Bill which would devolve control of the Crown Estates revenues to local level for Orkney and Shetland and, interestingly, the Western Isles. The Independent has the story:

Mr Carmichael said that the SNP administration is “in practice and instinct a highly centralised government” and did not want “devolution downwards”. Under his plan, the islands would have their own commissioners deciding how Crown Estate land is run.

He added that the Crown Estate owns and manages the seabed, which is of great importance to islands that rely heavily on the fishing industry, with salmon and trout farms. Mr Carmichael said these farms have to pay a percentage of their turnover to lease these areas, which is “a tax by any other name”.

This should present a challenge to Angus Brendan McNeil, the SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar which includes the Outer Hebrides, because he should support the extra revenue for his local community. He won’t, of course, because the SNP likes to keep everything nice and centralised in Holyrood. Even if he violently disagreed with their policy, he would be forbidden from criticising it in public thanks to particularly draconian standing orders by which nationalist MPs have to abide.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 5 Comments

Alistair Carmichael MP writes…A proud day as we move nearer to Liberal Democrat vision of home rule for Scotland

Saltire - St Andrews Flag - Scotland - Some rights reserved by byronv2One of my first political campaigns was the 1979 referendum on a Scottish Assembly, as it was then styled.

The failure of that campaign was formative in my political thinking.  We all learned the hard way some simple political truths. Constitutional change is only achieved by working with people from other parties and of no party and that our liberal vision of Home Rule for Scotland within a strong federal United Kingdom is more relevant today than it has ever been.

As a teenager growing up in a small tight-knit island community I also quickly realised that local communities were best placed to make the decisions that affect them. We also understood that Government in Edinburgh was just as capable of getting things wrong for us as government in London.

Fast forward thirty five years and it was a proud day for me as Secretary of State for Scotland when we won decisively the vote to keep our 300 year old family of nations together with a promise of extensive new powers for our Scottish Parliament.

We set up the cross-party Smith Commission to bring people together and build consensus on what these new powers should be.

No party got everything they wanted but we owed it to the majority of Scotland who made the democratic decision to reject independence to see through their desire for more powers – a desire shared by our party.

I was pleased the Smith Commission aimed high.

The draft clauses I have published today will mean our Scottish Parliament will raise over half of what it spends. It will create a new Scottish Welfare State System with a starting budget of more than £2.5 billion.

And it will introduce votes for 16 and 17 years olds for Holyrood and local government elections.

Smith also made another important point that has not received the attention that it deserves, namely that the process of devolution should not stop in Edinburgh but should be driven to local communities across Scotland.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Labour’s attitude to abortion devolution says a lot about their attitude to Scotland

When I wrote about the Smith Commission report last week, I was intrigued by its decision not to devolve abortion law to Scotland despite all the parties wanting to do so,  Here’s a reminder of what I said:

One last point: I’d quite like to know the story behind the fudge on abortion and embryology:

  • The parties are strongly of the view to recommend the devolution of abortion and regard it as an anomalous health reservation. They agree that further serious consideration should be given to its devolution and a process should be established immediately to consider the matter further.
  • The devolution of xenotransplantation; embryology, surrogacy and genetics; medicines, medical supplies and poisons; and welfare foods (i.e. matters reserved under Sections J2 to J5 of Head J – Health and Medicines, Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998) should be the subject of further discussions between the UK and Scottish Governments. Those discussions are without prejudice to whether or not devolution takes place and in what form.
  • If they all agree, why not just devolve it?

    Scotland on Sunday had an explanation. Apparently, it was Labour who vetoed its inclusion:

    Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

    Devo-max for Scotland: what Lib Dem members think

    Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 747 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

    On Thursday, the Smith Commission published its recommendations on how to take forward the promise made by all three party leaders to deliver extensive powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote.

    As my co-editor Caron noted then: “Federalism was never going to come out of this. It couldn’t, given that you need the co-operation of the rest of the UK to do that. We need to keep campaigning for a proper UK wide constitutional convention after the election.”

    Before Lord Smith had reported, though, we tested the water in our survey. How happy were Lib Dem members, most of whom are English, about the priority being afford to the Scots?

    Posted in LDV Members poll and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

    Vow Max? Has the Smith Commission delivered for Scotland? And what next for Yorkshire and the north?

    In the febrile pre-referendum atmosphere, the Daily Record put together a “Vow” signed by all 3 UK party leaders to deliver “extensive” powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote. There would always have been further devolution. This “Vow” just put the inevitable on a more detailed timetable.

    A Commission under Lord Smith of Kelvin was put together to deliver on that timetable and has done a power of work in just over two months. They have consulted widely, taking submissions from the five main political parties and many civic organisations and individuals. I managed to get my own submission in at 2 minutes to the deadline.

    In the august surroundings of the National Museum of Scotland, Smith and the 10 members of the Commission unveiled the consensus they had reached. I have to say that I have been a little sceptical about this process. I knew that in the interests of self preservation it would have to deliver something credible or we’d be back facing another referendum before we could blink.

    Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

    Last chance to make your views heard on more powers for Scotland..

    Well, not the last chance ever, but certainly the last chance to make a submission to the Smith Commission, which is looking into delivering more powers for Scotland in the wake of the independence referendum.

    My view is that it was very clear that people wanted significantly more powers. I don’t think that was predominantly why they voted No, but it was clearly indicated during the debate.

    The difficulty that the Commission has now is that the Labour Party, which has been dragging its feet on more powers anyway, now has no leader and no direction. Like the other parties, it has submitted its own recommendations, which are by far the most timid, but how is it going to get its act together enough to agree anything more substantial. It will have to, because  the most basic instincts of self preservation tell you that “The Vow” made must be kept.

    Posted in News | Also tagged and | Leave a comment
    Advert



    Recent Comments

    • User AvatarMichael BG 25th Sep - 1:55am
      @ Nick Baird There are 1.44 million people unemployed all of which are looking for a job and don’t have one. There are about 2.3...
    • User AvatarJoeB 25th Sep - 12:59am
      It is only a decade since we had 8 Mps and 5 London Assembly members in London. The first Mayoral election in 2000 contested by...
    • User AvatarJack Graham 24th Sep - 11:45pm
      Oops, got that back to front. 'As you sow, so shall you reap'
    • User AvatarJack Graham 24th Sep - 11:42pm
      There is not a snowballs chance in hell of getting PR. Since we had one for the AV vote, there would have to be a...
    • User Avatarpaul holmes 24th Sep - 11:14pm
      Very brief opinion poll blips don't count for much. The Alliance in the early 1980's polled at very high levels for rather longer than one...
    • User Avatarpaul holmes 24th Sep - 11:09pm
      Just because a policy is self evidently (to you and me!) needed, does not mean voters will be motivated to vote for it. I think...