By Martin Kelly
David Cameron’s insistence that there will be no further tax powers for Scotland regardless of the referendum result, is disrespectful an SNP MSP has claimed.
Kenneth Gibson MSP, Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, responded to the latest intervention by questioning the Tory leaders much vaunted ‘respect agenda’.
On Sunday it was reported that the UK PM had ruled out devo max for Scotland, saying it would be incompatible with the Union and that Scots would have to opt for independence if they wanted significant more powers.
However SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson has said Mr Cameron’s latest intervention showed a lack of respect towards the Civic Scotland groups who are to launch their own campaign on Monday in an attempt at having the devo max option put onto the referendum ballot paper.
Mr Gibson, who is Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, claimed that the UK PM’s decision to rule out more powers was different from that of his coalition partners, and said:
“Once more we are getting conflicting messages form the anti-independence camp. David Cameron’s sources have not only split the anti-independence camp but opened up questions about his party’s coalition with the Lib Dems who claim they want more devolution of tax powers.
“Today’s report also came as a surprise to the Scottish leader Ruth Davidson, who refused to comment on the source’s comments, which begs the question of how seriously the Tories in Westminster take their own bedraggled party in Scotland.
“And whatever happened to David Cameron’s ‘respect agenda’? These comments do not show respect for those in civic Scotland who wish to see an extension of the Scottish Parliament’s responsibilities.”
Mr Gibson likened Mr Cameron’s interventions into Scottish politics to that of Margaret Thatcher and called them “cack handed”.
Describing the Union as “outdated”, Mr Gibson added:
“This Tory argument is incoherent, inconsistent with the facts, and contrary to the sovereign right of Scotland’s people to determine the form of government best suited to our needs.
“As polling shows the tactics of the anti-independence camp are alienating them from people in Scotland. [Sunday’s] polling in the Scottish Sunday Express, which shows a majority in Scotland for independence, shows that positivity is overcoming the anti-independence parties’ negativity.
“The SNP is working day and night to continue moving Scotland forward and to match the aspirations of the people of Scotland and will be doing so in a positive way.”
Reports of Mr Cameron’s decision to rule out further devolution of powers took new Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson by surprise. Confronted on the Politics Show by Isabel Fraser, the new leader refused to comment and appeared to question the reports validity.
Devolution max is generally accepted to mean that all powers return to Scotland with the exception of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Supporters claim it would allow the Union to continue, but crucially would see Scotland keep all of its resources whilst paying a share for Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Critics argue that such a settlement would still allow Westminster to send young Scots into illegal wars and would also leave Scotland with no option but to keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde.