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The Smith Commission, The ‘Vow’ & Scottish Independence

28 Nov

published by one more yes


The further powers being recommended for the Scottish Parliament in the Smith Commission fall far short of the expectations raised in the ‘Vow’ made by the Westminster leaders. This will come as no surprise to many, as will the entirely predictable spin that the media and unionists have put on the recommendations claiming that the leaders have delivered it.

The wording in the Vow was ambivalent at best. However, even with the greatest stretch of the imagination, it is not credible to claim that what is now being recommended in the Smith Commission amounts to ‘extensive new powers’. (70% taxation and 85% welfare spending is retained by Westminster).

This would hold true even if the Vow had been made in isolation, but it wasn’t. It was made against the backdrop of Gordon Brown’s timetable for “nothing less than a modern form of Scottish Home Rule” and claim that the UK would be “as close to a federal state as you can have where one part forms 85% of the population.”

When the Vow and Brown’s proclamations are taken together, it is hardly surprising that many people would have been persuaded to vote ‘No’ on the promise that Scotland would receive if not all, near-to-all, powers short of foreign affairs and defence.

At no stage did Gordon Brown, the media or the Westminster leaders dissuade the electorate from believing this.

We now know the reality of the powers being recommended in the Smith Commission: they are neither ‘extensive’ nor anywhere near tantamount to those required for “Home Rule” or a “federal state”.

It transpires that even retention of the Barnett formula is not what people expected from the Vow. The implication was that it would continue unchanged, which technically is possibly the case, but no mention was made of the ‘zero sum’ game now proposed in the Smith Commission i.e. the more income the Scottish Government raises through the new tax powers, an equal amount will be deducted from the block grant.

Whatever spin the unionists, the media and the Westminster leaders put on it, the Vow has not been delivered.

That’s history now; let them enjoy the subterfuge for the time being.

As the Scottish people make up their own minds about whether the Vow was delivered or not, time will prove, that all the ‘spinners’ have succeeded in doing is postpone the inevitable: Scottish independence.