Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News of Calman Death Throes Premature

A couple of weeks ago Malc was all for rushing the Calman Commission into intensive care. If not to remove the Liberal Democrat life support. However, news that Labour's submission also calls for greater financial powers for the devolved Parliament would mean there is life in the Commission yet.

Labour are now calling for borrowing powers for the Parliament which brings it in line with both the SNP and Liberal Democrats. They may have mocked when Tavish Scott got an agreement out of Alex Salmod to present to Calman on this, as one of the conditions for backing the budget. But now it seems to have persuaded Labour to also get on board on this one so maybe a stronger devolved Scotland is still on the cards. Indeed the Labour MSP with responsibility for the Calman Commission Pauline McNeill said:

"I am also convinced that Holyrood should have prudential borrowing powers, which would allow us to develop a more coherent strategy for fighting the recession. Labour's submission supports the conclusion of (economist] Anton Muscatelli that borrowing powers are closely allied to revenue-raising powers."


So there you have it. A future budget to help us through the recession may well be more easily paved if such working together on these issues may well grease the road to consensus.

It does not however throw the doors open for all five of John Swinney's steps to independence.
  • Current framework Scottish Parliament can vary tax by 3p
  • Assigned Revenues Budget determined by amount of revenue collected in Scotland. No power to alter taxes and no block grant
  • Enhanced devolution powers Holyrood able to set some taxes. Limited borrowing powers
  • Full fiscal autonomy Taxes set in Scotland. Percentage of revenue paid to Westminster for defence and foreign affairs
  • Independence All revenues collected in Scotland. Holyrood able to borrow and determine monetary policy
While the Lib Dems have agreed to fiscal autonomy Labour are currently just announcing their move to enhanced powers. Plans to push either further may well backfire on the Finance and First Minister's face.

2 comments:

Wardog said...

Is this a possible scenario?

The SNP put forward their referendum bill with three questions, the opposition refuses to support the bill but takes huge flack in the press and from the public, under pressure the Liberals propsoe a referendum on the Devolution Max option.

Labour are unsure but the Greens & Margo are in support.

The SNP then state that they will DELAY the independence question due to lack of parliamentary support, proposing a referendum at the end of the next parliamentary session, say 2015 if they are voted back in....

The SNP lends it's support to a referendum on Devolution MAX in 2011

Devolution Max being defined pretty much as per John Swinney's conversation paper as full fiscal federalism........ with payments made to Westminister for International Representation & say Defence. This it would be a powerful gradualist approach..... a stepping stone to full independence and a way to flush out the Liberals on the Federalist Question.

David Cameron get's elected to power in 2010, the SNP return over 20 MP's but the Tory's have a small but workable majority.

The 2011 referendum returns an unequivocal YES vote.

The SNP get re-elected to Holyrood in 2011 with a majority of over 5

Westminister has an enforced 'austerity' era of cuts and tax rises.

Labour are in the wilderness and Scottish Labour finally initiative discussions with their UK colleagues to forma stand alone affiliated party in Scotland, becoming increasingly left leaning, anti-nuclear and supportive of full federalism.

The SNP begin negotiations to implement Full Fiscal Federalism and take control of Scotland's Revenues to tackle the recession recovery. LIT is introduced early giving people significant tax reductions based on their ability to pay and the Scottish Future's trust is tasked with creating a new Future's Fund from Revenues.

A full and frank discussion takes place in 2013 about Scotland's represetnation in the world and as base for Nuclear weapons as Afghanistan is still raging and tensions between the US/UK & Iran escalate and the Tories start to cause problems in Europe.

Malc said...

I'll wait and reservre judgement until this happens Stephen.

Though I do seem to remember Labour saying they'd back something before and changing their mind.. Can't think what that was...

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