The Smith Commission, my Opinion for what it’s worth

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.

Europe

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.

Crown Estates

Responsibility for financing the Sovereign Grant will need to reflect this revised settlement for the Crown Estate.

A lot of consultative roles.

State Pension

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.

Universal Credit

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.

Equalities

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.

Income Tax

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.
Corporate Taxes

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.

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9 comments

  1. Sianna MacDonald

    Absolutely understand where you’re coming from on this Grumpy (sorry, I dinnae ken your name!) and believe that the majority of us truly did not believe anything would ever come of the SC. What matters to me now though is, what will happen now? Will Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP hold fast and tell them to frack off? Or will it degrade into yet more discussions, simply wasting time until the people of Scotland grow so sick and tired of hearing about it they just shrug and give up on it altogether?
    I live in hope that we find the backbone to walk away from the Union, being a supporter of UDI (sometimes I think, the only one, lol) but know in reality that is unlikely to happen. All I can see for the foreseeable future of this whole thing is a return to more talks, more debates, endless babble that results in more of the same…Scots being shafted, punished, for daring to try for independence.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Sianna

      I wasn’t expecting much and suspected that anything that did come along would be fiscally neutral either way, but the report is not a big improvement on the Scotland 2012 Act and that is a real disappointment. Suspecting that Westminster would concede as little as possible and seeing it on paper really hits home the opportunity lost in the referendum. No doubt we will be told to move on, get over it, respect the settled will of 55% of the people blah blah blah. It is a betrayal for me, we need drastic change in this country and this is not it.

      It will be interesting to see how the SNP react and even if this gets through in Westminster. English MPs will shout and scream that it is too much based on little understanding of devolution or of what goes on outside London or England. That is their job to represent their constituents, I would expect nothing less, but hope that their reaction is not based on ignorance. Today is another opportunity lost for me and I will be watching closely what goes on from here.

      I will be voting SNP in May, there is no real alternative for a General Election but if the SNP fail to take advantage of their current high standing in Scotland then a more radical approach might be required such as that advocated by the SSP, who become more impressive every day.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

    • grumpyscottishman

      Jim

      I agree, I can’t see how this makes us better off. It delivers mostly extra responsibilities and a little extra power. Certainly not Home Rule as Ian Gray said today, he must understand little of politics. But then he is a Labour MSP.

      We all need to watch this closely and ensure that we do not go back in our box.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  2. hektorsmum

    Well Bruce the fact that nothing came out of the Smith Commission has not either surprised me or even disappointed me. How can I put this the 55% gave up any power that the Referendum gave them to change things for the better and it will take putting the fear of the Ballot paper into them to correct it. I too think that if we give the SNP the maximum amount of seats in Westminster, I have no thought that we can get anything like the pollsters give us, the stupid 55% are still there and there are many who will hop off and vote for their favourite Unionist Parties. We also need to give the SNP/SSP/Green parties the maximum seats that can be given for Holyrood, again the problem will be those who vote for the Other Two, Lib Dems have finished themselves.
    The only problem with UDI as I see it is we need to take the population with us for that. I have been reading a story which includes a bit of the American War of Independence, where Unionists found themselves on Ships back to the Auld Country, or were tarred and feathered and burnt out of their businesses. Now this is not an acceptable way to behave in the 21st Century but sometimes it looks very inviting. A certain chap in North Queensferry merits it

    • grumpyscottishman

      hektorsmum

      I was very angry when I saw it and then just laughed once I heard that even that had been watered down by the Unionists in London. This country is a joke, I don’t understand why they don’t just go ahead and abolish Holyrood as that is what they want anyway. I don’t think Scotland has been as shafted so much since Thatcher, I always wonder what would happen if Scotland did not have any Oil or Whiskey etc. I suspect we would have been cut adrift a long time ago and England would be an independent country. I agree with you that we have to support the SNP / Greens etc next May as this country desends into a right wing nightmare next May because I suspect it could be a Tory/Liberal Tory/Ukip BNP coalition in London.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. pa_broon74

    I think in terms of the Smith Commission, harbouring (very) low expectations meant you weren’t going to be disappointed. People voted No and they’re getting nothing.

    And now, like Tris and others are saying; if you complain you’re told to get over it because you lost.

    Its more than a little irritating.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Pa

      The Smith report was everything I feared but still made me very angry. When you consider that NI is to get control over corporation tax you see westminster are now eeking out the punishment for daring to want true democracy.

      I still think the union is on it’s last legs though, Scotland is on a path and they are just making that happen sooner than they think with their antics. They really don’t get it.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

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