The Vow has been delivered but we were still misled
It is great news that the UK Government and the Scottish Government have agreed on the fiscal framework surrounding the Scotland Bill. From the sound of things it looks like a great compromise for Scotland. The UK Government wanted a settlement that would reduce the funding for Scotland if Scottish income tax receipts declined. The Scottish Government were hell bent against that idea for obvious reasons. They have now agreed that the UK Government will reimburse the Scottish Government for any losses under the new plan and they will revisit the agreement in five years time. The final sticking point was that if no agreement was to be reached in 2022 the funding formula would default to the UK Government plan. George Osborne is said to have called Nicola Sturgeon and agreed to drop this aspect of the deal. Now when they renegotiate both sides will come from a neutral stance with no preconceived way forward. This could go either way for Scotland depending on who the next UK/Scottish Governments are in 2022.
I welcome the deal as the Scotland Bill is the most power transferred from Westminster in the history of the UK Parliament. The powers will make the Scottish Parliament more accountable and give us the ability to instate a more just tax and benefits system. The fact the Scottish Parliament will now be permanent is also welcome. It is far from perfect as we need control of more levers such as Corporation Tax and VAT to really control the economy properly. However, it’s still a substantial transfer of power.
Independence for Scotland, like most big political changes in UK history, will most likely come in gradual steps. The more power we have in Scotland, the more we demonstrate we can use the power well, the more trust people will have that we can go it alone.
And although I see many people stating that the Vow has not been delivered. It patently has. As we have said before the Vow was too vague to break. What has not been delivered is the spirit of how the Vow was portrayed to us by those with no real power to act on what they were saying. Previously we talked about how the likes of Gordon Brown, the BBC and the print media misled us with talk of much greater powers than those in the Scotland Bill. The Scotland bill even fell short of what the Smith Commission proposed which itself was a shadow of how the Vow advertised.
The Vow has been fulfilled as the Vow was too vapid not to be. We feel let down by the Scotland Bill due to the deliberate propaganda dispersal that accompanied the last days of the referendum campaign. We were bombarded by a bunch of non accountable people lying in order to disguise the fact the promise was more that it was. Anyone sensible who fell for the spin will not fall for it again. This week has been a better week for politics on both sides of the border. Those who hold the power have gotten together and discreetly negotiated a mutually agreeable compromise. Now we can move forward into the next era of the great political resurgence that is happening north of the border.
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