What a title but I suspect true. There has been much debate the last couple of days around Gordon Brown and Ming Campbell’s intervention to the constitutional arguments of Scotland.
But before I go on, the Scotland Act 2012 will deliver additional powers to Scotland in 2016 or thereabouts, however the process to decide these powers was started in 2007. This means that the Scottish Government will have responsibility for a new Scottish rate of income tax to be in place from April 2016 but this will have taken nine years, other powers include:
New borrowing powers for the Scottish Government.
Full control of stamp duty land tax and landfill tax from April 2015 .
The power to introduce new taxes, subject to agreement of the UK Government.
The power to legislate on matters relating to air weapons.
Giving Scottish Ministers powers relating to the misuse of drugs.
Giving Scottish Ministers powers to set regulations for the drink-drive limit .
Giving Scottish Ministers powers to set the national speed limit .
Giving Scottish Ministers powers relating to the administration of elections to the Scottish Parliament
The Act also formally changes the name of the Scottish Executive to the Scottish Government.
The above is supposed to be the biggest transfer of powers from Westminster in 300 years but when you think about it is still insulting and pretty much meaningless at the end of the day as they will do little to actually change the economic and political landscape in Scotland.
However, Gordon Brown is saying that in the event of a no vote Scotland might, just mibe, get some of the following:
A new UK constitutional law to set out the purpose of the UK as pooling and sharing resources for the defence, security and well-being of the citizens of all four nations.
A constitutional guarantee of the permanence of the Scottish Parliament.
A new division of powers between Scotland and Westminster that gives Holyrood more powers in employment, health, transport and economic regeneration.
A new tax sharing agreement that balances the commitment of the UK to pool and share its resources with the need for accountability to the electors in all the places where money is spent.
New power-sharing partnerships to address shared problems on poverty, unemployment, housing need and the environment.
A “radical” transfer of powers downwards from Westminster and Edinburgh to local communities.
All of what Gordon Brown is saying is vague, and it tells you nothing at all about what any of it actually means. It doesn’t commit the unionists to any additional powers for Scotland and in particular the pooling of resources would probably result in more money from Scotland going south as Gordon Brown has said in the past he would not be against. Gordon Brown is offering nothing but more poverty and cannot guarantee anything as he has no power and I would suggest little influence anyway.
Ming Campbell has said that his report will also suggest a timeframe in which new powers could be delivered “swiftly” in the event of a no vote. He said: “This is a momentous opportunity to grasp the growing consensus on more powers. “In the event of a no vote in 2014, we can move swiftly towards delivering what we know that majority of people in Scottish wish to see. “That is, a stronger Scottish parliament within the United Kingdom family of nations.” So Ming is saying, well I’m not really sure what he is saying but it certainly isn’t any more powers.
Whichever way you want to look at it, to make meaningful change in Scotland , the Scottish Government, at the very least, require control over all social security and taxation powers and I mean all. Being able to raise tax, in whatever way, and for that money to go to Westminster is an absolute waste of time and just sets us back even more and makes us poorer. The simple reality is that if you vote No in September I suspect there will be no additional powers anytime soon, in fact what is more likely is the return of powers to Westminster and the ending of the Barnett Formula which decides our pocket money. I believe a No vote will result in even more poverty, less representation and will give the unionists free rein to do whatever they want to Scotland, against it’s will, and they will do whatever they want because you will have voted to give them that license.
We all need to sit up and take notice of this debate, research it, listen to what the Better Together camp are saying but more importantly what they are not saying, and what they are not saying is what additional powers will come to Scotland.
Think before you Vote.