Wednesday 2 April 2014

Now's the day...

A story in The Scotsman (New tax-raising powers for Holyrood on the horizon) suggests that Scotland might be in line for more tax powers. Sort of. Maybe. Are we supposed to be impressed by this latest bit of legislative fiddling designed to give the appearance of meaningful reform? However much tinkering the UK Government does, devolution is still about power for Westminster not power for the Scottish Parliament.

Why should we settle for less than we might have? Why should we resign ourselves to having a little bit of control over certain aspects of taxation when we could have control of it all?

Above all, why should we continue to allow British politicians to decide what powers our parliament should have? Only the people of Scotland have the legitimate authority to determine the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

And what next? The original devolution settlement was portrayed as the best that Scotland could wish for. It wasn't long, however, before the British parties, under pressure from the SNP and Scotland's voters, admitted that it wasn't good enough. So we got Calman - another exercise whose overriding priority was, not finding the best arrangement for Scotland, but the arrangement which best suited the ruling elites of the British state.

The Calman "reforms" were supposed to make the devolution settlement ideal. Those reforms haven't even come into force and the British parties have already acknowledged that they are not satisfactory. Now they want to put a few more patches on the devolution settlement in the hope that doing so will fend off a Yes vote.

I can guarantee that whatever the British parties cobble together by way of a "more powers" offer, (a) those additional powers will not be delivered as advertised; and (b) even if they were delivered, they would not be enough.

Why continue with this ludicrous process of independence by a thousand increments? Why not end it now? The referendum isn't a choice between independence and some other option that is workable in the long term. It is a choice between independence now and independence in a few year's time. Let's do it now while there is still a chance that we can end the political union amicably and negotiate a new, lasting relationship between our two nations. A relationship founded on parity of status and mutual respect.

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