Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Rennie urges Labour and Tories to improve devolution offers

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has claimed plans to give extra powers to Scotland risk being held back by “forces of Conservatism” - including the Labour Party.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Here we go again!

When the Scottish Parliament was first reconvened back in 1999 it was, according to unionists, the very exemplar of devolution. It was not long, however, before those same politicians who had lauded Scotland’s devolution settlement as the greatest thing since universal suffrage started acknowledging its deficiencies. And so we got the Calman Commission - rigged, as these things must be within the context of the British state, to ensure that the power and privilege of the British state’s ruling elites was not put in the slightest jeopardy.

Roll forward only a relatively short time and, before the watered-down Calman proposals are even fully implemented, the British parties are to found, once again, grudgingly admitting that this settlement too is inadequate and scrambling to cobble together a new devolution package. We are then treated to the unedifying spectacle of the British parties squabbling over which of their incoherent and largely unworkable plans allows them to lay claim to the title of “the party of devolution” at the same time as they try to present that they are united in their determination to deliver “more powers” despite none of them being able to say what these powers might be, when they might be delivered, or how they might benefit Scotland.

Now, in the wake of a No vote in the referendum, they are back to the same squabbling. Squabbling which totally misses the essential point that it is not British politicians such as Willie Rennie and his Red and Blue Tory allies who should be deciding these matters anyway. It is for the people of Scotland to decide what powers their parliament should have.

This is the same Westminster elite that has already got it wrong so often that there is absolutely no rational reason to hope that they might somehow get it right on this occasion. Even if their definition of what is right did relate to what is best for Scotland, they have proved themselves incapable of figuring this out. The reason being that they are not in any way concerned about what is best for Scotland. Their sole concern is the preservation of the structures of power and privilege which define the British state.

British politicians will NEVER devise a satisfactory devolution settlement. There is no satisfactory devolution settlement.

Which makes the comments about “uncertainty” from Alistair Carmichael look all the more ludicrous. This dullard whines about the uncertainty supposedly caused by the popular independence movement and pro-independence politicians’ adherence to the democratic principle of self-determination. Meanwhile, he remains dumbly unaware that the real uncertainty is caused by the endless constitutional tinkering of British politicians as they frantically try to stem the rising tide of civic nationalism, progressive politics and democratic activism which they justifiably regard as a threat to their power and privilege.

Will Alistair Carmichael be the last person in Scotland to realise that the constitutional question can only be settled with independence?

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