Calman – an offer we can’t refuse, even if we want to.


It isn’t even a Hobson’s choice … there’s no choice at all….

It isn’t even a Hobson’s choice … there’s no choice at all.

The yet to be revealed ‘new powers’ for Holyrood, from the parties who finished third and fourth in the Scottish general election vote, are to be forced upon Scots regardless.

The so called consultation that will take place with the Scottish government on these same powers is no more than a cosmetic exercise aimed at giving the impression that the Westminster coalition’s so called ‘respect’ agenda has substance.  It is the only consultation planned, the Scottish people are apparently not included in this respect circle.

Today’s Scottish newspapers are replete with headlines proclaiming these new powers, however none of the journalists can explain exactly what they are nor when they will be introduced.  There is little to suggest that there are other options available to the Scottish people.

What of the calls for a mature debate on Scotland’s fiscal future?

Well anyone tuning into last night’s Newsnight Scotland would have been left saddened and depressed as once again the BBC seemed more interested in providing an SNP bashing platform for Unionist guests than providing the the viewer with mature, open and informative debate.

David Mundell, Nicol Stephen and Wendy Alexander embarked on an ‘SNP turkey shoot’ as host Gary Robertson allowed their attacks to go unchallenged.  Why was there no representative from the Scottish government on the show?  Given the subject matter and the near certainty that the SNP and/or independence would be attacked then the exclusion is bizarre to say the least.

Viewers were told by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem guests that the National Conversation was “defunct”, that full fiscal autonomy was a bad idea and that the exclusive Calman Commission had been wonderful and open and its proposals were good for Scotland.  Wendy Alexander dutifully informed us that full fiscal autonomy was a bad idea because the two ‘Scottish banks’ had been baled out to the tune of over £400 billion.

However it was at the end of this awful one sided programme that the most insidious comments were made.  In an appalling example of misrepresentation and blatant demonisation, the former Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen made a thinly veiled attempt at equating the SNP with the vile Nationalist groups from Europe’s recent history.  One doesn’t have to be a genius to work out what this politician was trying to suggest.

Mature debate? No, the trades descriptions people would have a field day with this stuff.

So, where does this leave Scotland and her people?

The answer is that Scotland could end up with poor infrastructure, high taxes and public services under severe pressure with not one single Scottish voter ever having endorsed Calman.

What we witnessed last night will be replicated in the weeks and months to come.  There will be no mature debate for the simple reason that educating the Scots to the reality of what is being proposed is too dangerous.  The economic time bomb that is the tax powers is analogous to the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot – implementation, according to respected academics, will seriously damage the Scottish economy and render the Scottish parliament even more powerless than it is now – boom!!; the Scottish government will be neutered.

Labour’s Iain Gray has demanded that the Tory/Lib Dem Calman powers be in place before the Holyrood elections of 2011.  Not content with blocking any referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future the Labour leader at Holyrood wants Tory/Lib Dem plans railroaded through before the Holyrood elections; thus preventing the Scottish electorate any say whatsoever.

No debate, no referendum and no veto – we are voiceless, vote-less and powerless.

If Calman is indeed introduced with no referendum and Labour’s Iain Gray subsequently ends up being First Minister then we can add the word ‘gutless’ to the list.