Watered down ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ via the Smith Commission hailed by David Cameron as ‘Fair’ smacks of a liar and a cheat. For a second lets look to the ‘no voters’ in last years Referendum vote for Scottish Independence. People who voted no did so in the belief that a no vote would bring ‘Home Rule’ and a 99% free Scotland. Looking back as we now do we see that it was panic stations by David Cameron but for me the worst culprit in all of this was Ex Prime Minister and Labour Leader Gordon Brown. He stood there on live TV and promised the Scottish populous the Earth then he retired for a nice job working in the European parliament with his Wife. Mr Brown’s house is almost visible from my front door, just over the forth road bridge, he lied, he panicked the over 65’s into voting no, it was this age group in the end that made it a no vote, the irony in all this was in 1979 there was a referendum that Scotland actually won to be free but it never happened on some technicality. In the 1979 devolution referendum 52% of voters said YES as did 43 to 19 Scottish MP’s, The Labour Party said NO, by imposing an unheard of and made up on the spot ‘undemocratic 40% rule’. so back in 1979 Scotland Voted yes with promises as was in 2014 said, nothing was given in 1979, the age group that let us down in 1979 or the people who voted yes or no and seen the lies and betrayal are NOW the over 65’s in Scotland, ironic the generation of people who had lived the lie before, fell for the lies twice. Thankfully in a few years there 100% WILL be another Referendum or Scotland via the SNP with Plaid Cymru and the Green party could join Labour in Westminster for a 4 party coalition. If you don’t know the UK has a 2 party coalition Government at present with the Tory party and Liberal party. The Conservatives won 36% of the vote, Labour 29% and the Lib Dems 23%, They have 306 MPs – they needed 326 for a majority so it was a decision in the end by the Liberal Democrats to use their 23% to add to the Tory 36% and together get a 2 party Government over the line with over 326 seats at Westminster in the 2006 federal election as a minority government, so could we see an SNP/Plaid Cymru/Green Party holding up a minority Labour Westminster Government that will deliver the ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ and the ‘Vow’ AND MORE!! I say why not!
DAVID Cameron pledged to press ahead with his plans to strip powers from Scottish MPs when he came to Scotland to say his pre-referendum vow on more powers for Holyrood had been delivered.
The Prime Minister said the pro-UK parties’ promise to strengthen the Scottish Parliament had been kept when the UK government yesterday published draft legislation to transfer new powers north of the Border. On a visit to Edinburgh, Mr Cameron said the new powers were “the right resting place” for devolution but added there would be no let-up on his plans to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English matters at Westminster. The UK government Command Paper, containing 44 draft clauses, was published ahead of its Burns Night deadline and is a key milestone in the fulfilment of the “more powers” vow made by the leaders of all the pro-Union parties in the dying days of last year’s referendum campaign.
However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed the draft clauses had been “significantly watered down” from the proposals originally agreed by the Smith Commission, set up to consider new powers for Holyrood after last year’s independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon said: “Too much of what the Prime Minister has set out imposes restrictions on the recommended devolved powers and would hand a veto to UK ministers in key areas.”
The document, entitled Scotland in the United Kingdom – An enduring settlement, set out the “more powers” package arrived at by the Smith Commission last year. The package, signed off by all Scotland’s main parties, included the ability for Scotland to vary income tax bands and rates, further borrowing powers, control of air passenger duty and control over £2.5 billion worth of welfare. The prospect of a more powerful Scottish Parliament has seen Mr Cameron promise to resolve the “West Lothian Question” – the anomaly whereby Scottish MPs vote on areas reserved to Westminster such as health and education even though they do not affect their constituents.
Mr Cameron underlined his commitment to “English Votes for English Laws” (Evel) yesterday after Ms Sturgeon said this week that SNP MPs would begin to vote on English matters.
Ms Sturgeon said SNP MPs would abandon their policy of not voting on English health because NHS funding south of the Border had an impact on Scotland’s budget.
The Prime Minister said Ms Sturgeon was “wrong” to argue that MPs from Scotland should be able to vote on English health and education.
Mr Cameron said: “If I win the election, the government I lead will put in place the measures necessary to make sure that key element of English Votes for English Laws is delivered. “On [that] issue, I have been very clear. I think it is only fair as a Westminster Member of Parliament, I don’t have the ability to vote on Scottish health or education or Scottish housing. “I don’t see why in the future that SNP members, or indeed Labour, Liberal or Conservative members or Alex Salmond himself, should be able to come to Westminster and have a decisive say in English or Welsh education, health service or other issues. “So if I am your Prime Minister after 7 May, you will get in full these measures set out in this document, in a bill in the first Queen’s Speech of a government I lead. But there will also be very clearly set-out rules put in place so that English MPs have the decisive say on issues that only affect England. I think that is fair and right.”
As soon as the draft legislation was published, the SNP went on the offensive, claiming that the proposals were watered down and gave UK ministers a veto over welfare powers that were supposed to be devolved.
The UK government denied Ms Sturgeon’s claims, while Mr Cameron called on the SNP to start talking about how Scotland’s new powers can be used to improve schools and hospitals.
Mr Cameron said: “From my point of view this is the right resting place, we have now got a very strong Scottish Parliament raising the majority of its revenue. “There are more powers than most other devolved parliaments in the developed world. I certainly don’t want to spend the next five years debating, is that the right balance of powers. “Of course, some people will argue that there needs to be more changes. The SNP are already doing that. Of course they were never going to accept Smith as an outcome, because they want to break up the United Kingdom. “That is their prerogative, but we have demonstrated through a referendum that is not the will of the Scottish people.”
Ms Sturgeon claimed a clause dealing with the Universal Credit payment, the UK welfare reform that has seen the merger of several benefits into a single payment, amounted to a UK government veto. Although Universal Credit remains reserved to Westminster, under Smith’s package Scottish ministers are to be given the power to vary some of benefits within it. The clause said Scottish ministers should consult the Scottish secretary about making changes to Universal Credit and that the secretary of state should also give agreement about when a change should start.
Ms Sturgeon claimed that the welfare provisions did not enable the Scottish Parliament to create new benefit entitlements across devolved areas and required the approval of UK ministers for any changes to Universal Credit – including action needed to end the so-called ‘bedroom tax’. Ms Sturgeon said: “The proposals on welfare do not allow us to vary Universal Credit without the permission of the UK government. That means we will not have the independence to take action to abolish the bedroom tax. “At the same time, the power to create new benefit entitlements in any devolved area has simply not been delivered, while the Command Paper makes clear that, pending devolution of disability support, the roll-out of personal independence payments and the cut to spending on disability benefits will continue.”
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael denied Ms Sturgeon’s claims. He claimed the clause in question had been inserted to ensure that there would be “consultation” between the two governments and added that “consent would not be unreasonably withheld”. He said: “It is going to be more important than ever that Scotland’s two governments are able to work together in a mature, co-operative and collaborative way. “It would be refreshing if instead of trying to kick up dust, the Nationalists would tell us what they want to do with the powers.”
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