Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Devo plus gains support from three unionist MSPs, somewhere along the line, the indy option could get drowned out, one referendum, one question!
Politics is always about strategy; some people have a feel for politics and tread the light fantastic, seemly coming up with the right ideas for the right time.
But there are danagers as Harold Wilson said, “a week is a long time in politics”.
However policy should never be based on short term considerations but long term planning.
Accidents and disasters happen which require attention.
The independence is a long way off, I have blog on why the SNP need so long before the referendum, it is because they don’t have enough people to work for them, too many tasks and not enough people of a high enough calibre and standard to implement tasks set by SNP HQ to branches.
That is an entire blog post on the short comings of the SNP in itself and why they need a new political structure, possibly for the future.
Anyway, as well as the SNP having its problems, the unionist parties need a strategy to resell the union to Scotland.
MSPs from the three main opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament are backing a new campaign for much greater devolution.
Devo Plus is a watered down version of Devo max.
It is a political carrot that allows Holyrood full control of income tax, corporation tax and some welfare spending.
So, what makes Devo plus better than Devo max?
Quite simply, Devo plus can be pushed through Westminster by MPs, where as Devo Max favoured as a fall back in the event of a no vote cannot, the SNP has 6 MPs in Westminster.
6 out of 650!
Westminster would keep control of pensions, VAT and national insurance which means that Holyrood would have more levers but not every lever.
In an ideal world, it would be better to have full autonomy but it isn’t an ideal world, and the more options pushed onto the table, the more that have to compete with the independence option.
Independence is credible, but requires more work than the SNP has done or indeed signed up for.
Statements, slogans and spin wouldn’t cut the mustard with the public.
So far, Devo Plus has the personal support of three MSPs from Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott, the Conservative MSP and former presiding officer Alex Fergusson and the Labour MSP Duncan McNeill are fronting this, which tends to suggest others are backing it.
Edinburgh-based think tank Reform Scotland and former Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis are advancing the new option and tinkering with the Devo Max idea which floats about and is ‘promoted’ by the SNP who keep raising it in the hope that someone will run with Pan McB.
Jeremy Purvis said:
"The term devo-max has been used, wrongly, as an umbrella under which all fiscal solutions from Calman to independence can hide, when in fact it is a very specific proposal by the SNP, which would lead to constant friction. Fundamentally, it does not address accountability issues either."
In floating Devo Max, the SNP thought they were hedging their bets, but the unionists are quite as stupid as everyone seems to think, if the independence referendum fails, Devo max is replaced by Devo plus or we have independence, Devo this, Devo that and Devo the other, people will get confused.
One question is needed, a straight forward yes or no is all that is required.
If Devo plus is on the ballot paper and wins, the SNP can’t claim a win, it also puts the unionists on the front foot for the next Holyrood election.
And election which will be different that 2011.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University