Archive for the Scotland Category

Scottish Devolution 10 years hence

Posted in Scotland with tags , , on 3 December 2008 by Maggie

I should think by now that most of you know that my first political love is for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (the UK).  Since their sovereign state was taken from them in 1707 with the Acts of Union, Scots have been under English rule.  The word “tyranny” comes to my mind, but then, that’s simply my opinion, and the opinion of at least 5 million others.  Has Scotland benefitted from English rule as part of the “United Kingdom”?  Less so than the “United Kingdom” has benefitted from Scotland and its resources.

Something one must understand is that England does not have its own entity within the parliament of the United Kingdom.  It is not the fault of the English people that it happened this way, but it is an awareness that the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh have that the UK is and always has been England, and therefore in supporting the work of the UK parliament, support of England proper is assumed without the English having a delineated share.  This is a huge problem for both the English and for the rest of the countries involved in the United Kingdom.  The voices represented are misrepresented all the way along the line.  Having said that, and because of this, my reference to the parliament that sits in London is “English Parliament” and/or “the English”. 

My own work with the passing of the Devolution Referendum in 1997 made several things clear to me.  One was that without Scotland, the United Kingdom could very well fall flat – something neither the English monarchy nor English Parliament wish to see happen.  England has gone well out of its way to keep Scotland under its thumb under the auspices of the UK.  One of the reasons is because the mindset of national identity is very strong in Scotland, and Scots are quite vocal about it. 

In the news articles leading up to the Calman Commission’s preliminary report issued 1 December, the English seem to have realised that one thing they can do in order to contain the Scottish national identity and the prospect of independence is recommend a process called “assigned revenues”, rather than the requested expansion in Scotland’s taxation powers through Holyrood.  What this means is that English parliament wants to give Holyrood a certain amount of the taxes collected from Scottish taxpayers with the admonition, “Here, work with this – the rest of the money is ours.”  When the Devolution Referendum passed, this was not how it was set up.  This recommendation from the English would cause a deterioration in the current process and make life more difficult for the Scots.  (My opinion:  Yet another 1745 “clearances” behaviour from the English.)

Scottish taxpayers should be livid with this suggestion.  By allowing a set amount of funding without provisions for economic fluctuation, services are then limited, and based entirely on the whim of English parliament.  The services rendered by English parliament are UK-wide, and so the Scots (just as the Northern Irish and Welsh) would see an increasing amount of their tax revenues go for improvements to the infrastructure and services in England more than they see it in their own infrastructure and services.  The taxes in the United States, state-by-state, are better allocated within each state than the taxes in the UK, nation-by-nation, are allocated to each nation. 

There are so many complicated ways the English are trying to keep Scots subservient to them, and this is just one of them.  Another is the claim the English attempt to make to North Sea oil, drawing a boundary in the oceans clear around the landmass of Scotland and insisting this belongs to the United Kingdom.  Oil-based revenues are high.  Without them the English would be devoid of a rather large cash cow.

Throughout the month of December, I am going to read and comment on the Calman Commission’s preliminary report.  I want to make it clear, though, that there is no love lost between me and English rule.  I am a staunch supporter of the SNP and will continue until the day I die.  I will, however, be as fair as I possibly can in my commentary on the report.  Unlike my friend SNP First Minister Alex Salmond, I will not always accuse the English of dastardly deeds.  I realise it is a point of survival for the English. At the same time, Scottish Home Rule (at the very least) is also a point of survival for the Scots.