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Down the river of your choice

David Cameron is ‘delighted’ with the report of the Smith Commission, and is quoted as saying ‘We are keeping our promise to the Scottish people.’

That is all we need to know about the proposals that have been published today. Anything that gives such pleasure to the Prime Minister, and to the Westminster parties, who  fought so hard, so viciously and so unscrupulously to keep their hands round the throats of the Scottish people, is by definition against our interests.

The ‘sweeping new powers’ we were promised turn out to be the right to set our own income tax rates and bands. The single most contentious area in the fiscal management of any nation; that’s what we’ll be given.

  • The level of personal allowances will be reserved for Westminster.
  • Taxes on savings will be reserved for Westminster.
  • Corporation tax will be reserved for Westminster.
  • Indirect taxation and excise duty rates will be reserved for Westminster.
  • More than 80% of the welfare budget will be reserved for and controlled by Westminster.
  • All job creating powers will be reserved for and controlled by Westminster.

My friends on the ‘No’ side will rush to reminded me that Scotland rejected independence. They are correct; we did.

We did so on the basis of a cross-party promise of ‘sweeping new powers’ for Holyrood. In fact the Smith Commission recommends  hardly any new powers for Scotland, only a series of responsibilities, and even then the main one, devolved income tax, will be hamstrung by the retention of key elements by London.

The Blessed Baroness Bella Goldie gave the game away, when she said that Holyrood politicians will now have will now have ‘to look taxpayers in the eye.’ We are being handed a stick with which we can beat ourselves senseless, but the whole bag of bloody carrots is being retained by Westminster.

What sops are we being given?

  • The vote will be extended to sixteen and seventeen year-olds.
  • Air Passenger Duty will be devolved.
  • Licensing of oil and gas extraction will be devolved.

Thus, we may prepare for a future of barely literate electors emerging from our underfunded schools in the hope of a job with Ryanair, or in a fracking operation whose revenue will continue to fill the London coffers.

Lord Smith, whose commission delivered this fudge, refuses to answer questions on what it all means, insisting that he is only the referee. If that is so, he has given a red card to the aspirations of the 45% who voted Yes, and to the significant percentage who voted No, in the expectation that the notorious Daily Record ‘Vow’ could be kept, and not shown up for the sham it undoubtedly was.

Categories: Politics
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