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Jim Arnott's insight:
I would hope that in an independent Scotland the trade unions would be an active partner with government, civic society, industry, academia et al in trandforming Soctland into a fairer and more just societry but not forgetting that we have to make our own way in an interdependent world.
Darling ignores calls to back release of secret Devo papers . Monday, 25 February 2013 01:25 . By a Newsnet Reporter . The SNP has called again for the release of Scotland's hidden devolution files in the interests of fairness and transparency during the debate on Scotland's independence referendum in 2014.
Over 30 files covering the Labour Government's 1997 devolution policy were set to be published at the start of the year under Scotland's 15-year rule, but have been kept under lock and key at the request of the Scotland Office.
The files were due to be released with almost 400 others until the Scotland Office intervened to stop the release of the 36 files relating to Tony Blair's Scottish Parliament proposals. The SO asked to inspect the documents before making a judgment at a later date on whether they can be published.
Brian Wilson, who was a Scottish Office minister in 1997, has said: "I am a supporter of maximum transparency and have no problem with anything that took place at that time coming into the public domain. It would be very strange if there had not been robust inter-departmental exchanges on such a significant piece of legislation."
However, a source close to the Scottish Government said the Scotland Office was cautious about releasing the files as it could provide a "gift" to the SNP, who would leap on any suggestion that ministers in the Blair government had watered down the devolution policy.
It is now seven weeks since Jamie Hepburn MSP first wrote to Alistair Darling asking asking former Labour MP to back calls for the UK government to release the files, but his letter has yet to be even acknowledged by the former UK chancellor - who was a government minister when the documents were compiled.
This renewed call comes a week after previously unpublished documents revealed that Rosyth naval dockyard lost out on a £5 billion naval contract in the 1990s after John Major's Tory government ignored evidence showing the Fife site was cheaper and safer to run than the eventual contract winner based in the south of England.
The Rosyth papers include claims by senior civil servants of the Ministry of Defence’s “south of England bias”, and were said by the SNP to demonstrate the MoD’s “utter disregard for Scotland”.
Mr Hepburn said:
“It is very strange that the UK Government wants to keep these files secret - it raises the question of what the Westminster system has to hide?
“The Chairman of the No campaign Alistair Darling must know, because he was a member of the then UK Labour Government when these files were compiled.
“I wrote to Mr Darling seven weeks ago calling on him to support my call for the files to be released - but he has not even had the courtesy to acknowledge the letter.
“The files relate to devolution, but may well contain information of relevance as we debate Scotland's future as an independent country. What Scotland needs is transparency so that people can make the most informed decision possible.
"I hope that Mr Darling will now support my call for the publication of Scotland's devolution files - otherwise people may start to ask what he has to hide?”
The BBC has defended its limited coverage of comments made by Irish Minister Lucinda Creighton on the EU membership of an independent Scotland, by suggesting that her clarification remarks following a BBC interview did not “add to the sum of human knowledge”.
Back in the 70s, the UK and Norway took two very different approaches to the roughly equal share of North Sea oil and gas that they had within their territo (Osborne’s tax breaks for North Sea oil and a Thatcherism flashback
Telegraph.co.uk North Sea oil to give George Osborne £25bn boost Telegraph.co.uk They include Statoil's £4.3bn outlay and 700 new jobs in the Mariner heavy oil development; Talisman's £1.6bn investment and more than 2,000 new jobs at its...
Jim Arnott's insight:
Please just read that headline carefully. What it is saying is that this will give Westminster - yes Westminster - a £25bn boost.
What is £25bn? We are becoming somewhat blase about these numbers.
It is £25,000,000,000 i.e £25,000 for every man woman and child in the Scotland. I wonder how much of this will make its way back to Scotland if we vote No in 2014. So think carefully about how you vote.
For myself and my family I will definitely be votong YES!
Scotland has always been an outward looking nation. The ties that bind our country to neighbours and friends across Europe are exceptionally important and according to recent opinion polls people in Scotland believe they are worth preserving.
What will Scottish Labour say to what Labour has said about retaining Britain's independent nuclear deterent. I hope Labour and Scottish Labour will define what they mean by "independent" nuclear deterrent.
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