Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Salmond's smugness gets the better of Lamont's laments

THE world is not Salmond-shaped.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Hats off to Tom Gordon for this gem. Referring to the hapless British Labour leaderette at Holyrood, Johann Lamont, he says,


"By the end, she sounded like a bag of cats being tipped down a blackboard."

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Labour ditches universalism as Scots declare support for Holyrood control of welfare and taxes

Labour ditches universalism as Scots declare support for Holyrood control of welfare and taxes | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

A major study on political opinions and the constitution by the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, published by ScotCen, shows that the majority of people in Scotland want welfare and taxation decided by the Scottish Parliament.

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Scottish independence: Abolishing Holyrood should be option - Tam Dalyell - Politics - Scotsman.com

Scottish independence: Abolishing Holyrood should be option - Tam Dalyell - Politics - Scotsman.com | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
BALLOT papers for the independence referendum should include an option for those who want to abolish the Scottish Parliament to “express their opinion”, according to veteran politician Tam Dalyell.
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Is Scotland a policy lab for UK health moves?

Is Scotland a policy lab for UK health moves? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
BBC Scotland political correspondent Glenn Campbell on how Scotland has led the way on key UK-wide policies such as smoking and drinking.
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The benefits of a unified government

The benefits of a unified government | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

During the 1980s, pressure for a Scottish Parliament stemmed largely from the view that devolution might be able to protect Scotland from the worst excesses of Thatcherism. The last fourteen years have certainly confirmed that logic, even if some of that Thatcherism was being pushed at Westminster by New Labour. The decisions taken at Holyrood by this administration and its predecessors have almost all been either better than Westminster’s equivalent decisions for England or at least no worse. That’s why the idea of abolishing the Scottish Parliament, as floated by the occasional fringe voice from the Tories or Labour, is now utterly inconceivable.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The "one parliament" point is an extension of the gradualist argument that once competed, within the SNP and elsewhere, with the absolutist position that saw devolution as an obstacle to or diversion from independence rather than a means to the end of restoring Scotland's rightful constitutional status. But it is an interesting point in its own right - not least because it is entirely pragmatic. It's just about making the system work better.

It is interesting too when examined in the context of the noises being made of late by the British parties in Scotland about continuing, or evolving, devolution. The gradualist case for accepting devolution at the end of the last century was that the devolution of one power would tend to weaken the case for reserving another. As more powers were devolved, it would become increasingly difficult to justify keeping the reducing number of remaining powers in Westminster's hands.

Who can doubt that the gradualists have been proved right.

But all of this leads us to an intriguing thought experiment which illustrates the vacuousness of the unionist portrayal of devolution as a continuous process. It inevitably begs the question, if devolution is an evolutionary process, what does it evolve into?

If devolution continues - as the British parties are desperately trying to pretend will happen in the event of a No vote - where does it go? If it is more than ineffectual, and quite possibly damaging, tinkering around the fringes of policy areas, then devolution must mean nothing less than the transfer to Holyrood of full powers in particular policy areas. Given that there are a finite number of policy areas, and a finite range of individually transferable powers within each of these policy areas, "evolving" devolution must inevitably reach a point where there is but one area in which the UK Government retains its influence over policy in Scotland. And, quite possibly, only partial power.

Surely it is at this juncture, if not much earlier, that we would be asking, "What's the point?".

If it is daft and inefficient to have powers divided between two parliaments, how much more daft and inefficient is it to have a situation where the Scottish Parliament exercises the full powers of an independent nation with but a solitary exception?

Even if there were a devo-whatever option available to voters in next year's referendum; even if there was a chance that this devo-whatever might be delivered by a UK Government; and even if that devo-whatever was the "evolving" thing that the British parties portray, it would be a nonsense that would inevitably lead to the kind of ludicrous division of powers described. Which, being clearly unsustainable, must in turn lead to full independence.

So why are unionists peddling a concept of devolution that they must surely be aware is both unworkable in practice and will lead to the very outcome that they seek to avoid - independence for Scotland? There seems to be only one possible answer.

It has been truly said that power devolved is power retained. The reality is that a devolved administration can be snuffed out like a light pretty much on the whim of the central government. The only conceivable motive for persisting with devolution as portrayed by unionists is the power it leaves in the hands of the British state to emasculate or abolish the Scottish Parliament.

One way ore another, the "two parliaments" anomaly will be resolved. The question is whether it will be resolved in favour of Holyrood or Westminster.

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Holyrood: Power closer to home - Politics - Scotsman.com

HOLYROOD is just as influential as Westminster in the eyes of the public for the first time since devolution, a survey published today reveals.
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Holyrood should be given powers over all taxes except VAT & national insurance, say Tory MPs

Holyrood should be given powers over all taxes except VAT & national insurance, say Tory MPs | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
CONSERVATIVE MPs have advocated devolving all taxes to Scotland except VAT and national insurance to "stimulate economic growth".
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