So 10 days on from our historic no vote we are still awaiting news on what further devolution Scotland is to be granted. David Cameron has kindly decided that Lord Smith of Kelvin, a former BBC governor lol, will lead the devolution commission. You have to laugh or you would cry at the irony, an unelected Lord and former BBC Governor will lead the debate on new powers for Scotland. But what is devo max compared to what we have now:
Currently Westminster retains control and decision-making over the following: Defence, Social Security(benefits), Immigration, Foreign Policy, Employment, Broadcasting, Trade and Industry, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Electricity and Gas, Consumer Affairs, Taxation. and the Constitution. Scotland has administrative control over Health, Education, Law and Order, Environment, Social Services, Housing, Local Government, Tourism, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Transport. All of this is funded via the Barnett Formula so while operational day-to-day management lies with Holyrood in many ways how this can be done is dictated by Westminster by how much money they provide via the funding formula.
Devo-Max would mean that Scotland would have full control over Health, Education, Law and Order, Environment, Social Services, Housing, Local Government, Tourism, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Transport, Social Security (benefits), Employment, Broadcasting, Trade and Industry, Nuclear Energy, Oil, Electricity and Gas, Consumer Affairs and Taxation. This would leave Westminster with control over Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Now I could settle for that, for the time being, even though I wouldn’t trust any of them not to take us to War, as we have seen in the last few days, or keeping us in the EU.
However, I just do not believe devo max will be delivered and the reasons I have for this is both the Labour Party and their hunger for power, which they feel requires Scottish MPs at Westminster, and the fact that they really do view Scotland as North Britain. The Conservatives on the other hand are desperate to retain Oil and Gas, and Whiskey revenues because otherwise the UKs balance of payments will be even worse than it is now.
So, and this is where the SNP and the YES Movement have to remain strong, is what I think will happen. I think that Scotland will receive, grudgingly, and with a huge battle with Labour the following and it will not be good enough:
Control over all income tax but no ability to lower this.
Control over the crown estates with limits, slight change on what is in the Scotland Act 2012.
Control over elections, not Westminster elections.
Some control over Social Security but not the ability to increase or lower payments in any way which would take them out of tune with England. There will be power to say scrap the bedroom tax but this would have to be picked up from the block grant and cuts elsewhere, there would be no additional funding.
Scotland Act 2012
Control over the things already announced such as the ability to raise or lower-income tax by 10p in the pound, will be scrapped in favour of the responsibilities highlighted above which is the Tory preferred option. Any change is applied equally across all tax bands. Other minor tax powers: control of stamp duty and landfill tax. The ability to borrow money, up to £2.2 billion a year. Guaranteed Scottish representation in the BBC and Crown Estate.
Legislative control over several more issues including limited powers relating to drugs, driving, and guns.
I just do not believe that Holyrood will get the powers it needs to bring about real change and to make lives better for everyone in Scotland. Basically we are going to be shafted big time, in particular from the Labour Party. My advice to the SNP is that they should work hard to get devo max, they should be transparent with the electorate, they should be honest about who is blocking what and if devo max is not what is offered they should walk away.
The Scottish people, especially the nay sayers, can then see that they have been lied to and who is exactly to blame. We then make them pay in the May 2015 General Election and then we move forward to the next referendum, which will happen within a few years and we will win. I also suspect that the reasons certain clowns within Labour like the war man Jack Straw want to ban referendums on independence is that they know it’s coming, it’s just a matter of time.