Apologies for the length of this blog. I have now had the chance to read the report and to say that I feel worse than I did on the 19th of September is an understatement. The Smith Commission, we were promised, would involve the implementation of ‘The Vow ‘or Home Rule, Devo Max call it what you like.
It does nothing of the kind and is an insult to every one of us who desire, no demand, meaningful change and the opportunity to improve the lives of all of the people of Scotland, and to have the powers to stop the horrid and awful attacks on the poor and vulnerable by the three unionist Tory Parties in Scotland and the UK.
We have been badly let down by this commission and this report is nothing short of a crime against democracy, not to mention that what the report contains are recommendations that still have to get past English MPs, so will no doubt be watered down beyond all recognition by the time it is implemented, probably long after my death from old age.
For people like Michael Moore, Iain Gray, Jackie Baillie etc to say this is Devo Max and Home Rule is an insult and a lie to all of us. I do not support this report in any shape or form and if I had my way the SNP would vote against this insult. I re-joined the SNP recently and will be watching closely their response to this report and their actions up to the general election next May. If I am not happy with that response then I will leave the party for a second time and join the SSP.
We need a radical response to this report, the recommendations in this report will do nothing to really improve the lives for anyone in this country, it may allow MSPs to feel slightly more important but will do nothing to eradicate poverty, end foodbanks, and create employment. It will not create a fairer more equal society, it will not end the abuse of companies and a small elite in avoiding their tax, it will not increase our democratic representation in either Westminster or Europe.
I feel conned today, I feel like we have been taken for even bigger fools than we were during the referendum and the unionist media will present this as everything it is not. They will lie and distort to try to improve the position of mainly the Labour Party but the UK in general. I beg you not to fall for those lies but again to make them pay for this insult at the ballot box. I also urge the SNP to give the strongest possible statement against this deceit, my future vote for your party depend on your actions now.
The need for radical change is not ended with this report, this report only highlights the contempt that politicians have for the Scottish people and the fact that many on the no side won’t care is heart-breaking. I’m ashamed of my country today.
Below are some highlights from the report:
These rules will ensure that neither the Scottish nor UK Governments will lose or gain financially from the act of transferring a power.
The Scottish Parliament will be made permanent in UK legislation and given powers over how it is elected and run. The Scottish Government will similarly be made permanent. The Parliament will also have the power to extend the vote to 16 and 17 year olds, allowing them to vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.
23. The Scottish Parliament will have all powers in relation to elections to the Scottish Parliament and local government elections in Scotland (but not in relation to Westminster or European elections). This will include powers in relation to campaign spending limits and periods and party political broadcasts. The Scottish Parliament already has many of these powers in relation to local government
elections in Scotland.
(2) powers over the disqualification of MSPs from membership and the circumstances in which a sitting MSP can be removed.
presuming that a devolved administration Minister can speak on behalf of the UK at a meeting of the Council of Ministers according to an agreed UK negotiating line where the devolved administration Minister holds the predominant policy interest across the UK and where the relevant lead UK Government Minister is unable to attend all or part of a meeting.
Responsibility for financing the Sovereign Grant will need to reflect this revised settlement for the Crown Estate.
A lot of consultative roles.
42. All aspects of the state pension will remain shared across the United Kingdom and reserved to the UK Parliament. This includes the new single-tier pension, any entitlements to legacy state pensions whether in payment or deferred, pension credit and the rules on state pension age.
43. Universal Credit (UC) will remain a reserved benefit administered and delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Within this framework, the Scottish Parliament will have the powers outlined in paragraphs 44 to 45 in relation to UC.
53. Responsibility for the following benefits will remain reserved: Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment, Child Benefit, Guardian’s Allowance, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Sick Pay and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
National Minimum Wage
59. The National Minimum Wage will remain reserved.
60. The Equality Act 2010 will remain reserved. The powers of the Scottish Parliament will include, but not be limited to, the introduction of gender quotas in respect of public bodies in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament can legislate in relation to socio-economic rights in devolved areas.
Onshore Oil and Gas Extraction
69. The licensing of onshore oil and gas extraction underlying Scotland will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The licensing of offshore oil and gas extraction will remain reserved.
75. Income Tax will remain a shared tax and both the UK and Scottish Parliaments will share control of Income Tax. MPs representing constituencies across the whole of the UK will continue to decide the UK’s Budget, including Income Tax.
77. As part of this, there will be no restrictions on the thresholds or rates the Scottish Parliament can set. All other aspects of Income Tax will remain reserved to the UK Parliament, including the imposition of the annual charge to Income Tax,
the personal allowance, the taxation of savings and dividend income, the ability to introduce and amend tax reliefs and the definition of income.
National Insurance Contributions
80. All aspects of National Insurance Contributions will remain reserved. Capital Taxes
81. All aspects of Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax will remain reserved.
82. All aspects of Corporation Tax will remain reserved.
83. All aspects of the taxation of oil and gas receipts will remain reserved.Value Added Tax
84. The receipts raised in Scotland by the first 10 percentage points of the standard rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) will be assigned to the Scottish Government’s budget. These receipts should be calculated on a verified basis, to be agreed between the UK and Scottish Governments, with a corresponding adjustment to the block grant received from the UK Government in line with the principles set out in paragraph 95.
85. All other aspects of VAT will remain reserved.
Fuel Duty and Excise Duties
92. All aspects of Fuel Duty and Excise Duties will remain reserved.
No detriment as a result of the decision to devolve further power: the Scottish and UK Governments’ budgets should be no larger or smaller simply as a result of the initial transfer of tax and/or spending powers, before considering how these are used.