Devolution

Where Are We Now?

First of all, welcome to A Scottish Voice. We are a newly formed political blog focusing (mainly) on Scottish political issues. Here are some of the things we support and represent:

  1. Scottish Independence. We support self-determination. Not just for Scotland, but for all of those who seek it. We believe in friendly neighbours rather than unequal partners.
  2. We are not party political. This blog is not to campaign for any individual party, our contributors represent a range of political parties within Scotland.
  3. We all lean to the left… And not that faux Labour left that seems a bit lopsided to the right.

We’re sure we will get better acquainted as the days, weeks and months roll on. For now, let’s get on with it!

Where Are We Now?

The Vow

During the campaign for Scottish Independence we were presented with an abundance of information from each side; some of it scared us, some of it excited us. However, in the end, Scotland chose to stay part of the United Kingdom in the hope that we would be given more devolved powers for Holyrood.

Yes, devolution played a huge part in the No campaign. The buzzword ‘Best of Both Worlds’ became a pull-string response to most of the electorate’s questions, saying that we could have the strength and security of staying part of the UK whilst attaining more powers for Holyrood. This promise did not just manifest itself within ‘The Vow’ (which was so helpfully presented to people, in the final week of the campaign, on the front page of the completely *ahem* unbiased ‘champion’ of Scotland, The Daily Record), Labour had been promising more powers months beforehand. With 25% of No voters voting that way because of promises of devolution and nearly 10% of No voters making up their minds within the last week of campaigning, it seems that devolution was a  deciding factor in a vote that could have been different with a mere 6% swing. So, surely these extensive new powers will be taken seriously by Westminster? Surely ‘The Vow’ wasn’t merely a method to dupe the Scottish electorate into voting a certain way? Well…

Since the Vote

Vow

noun

A solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way.

Since the 19th, the three signatories of ‘The Vow’, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg, immediately started to backtrack on their word. It took less the 24 hours for cracks to form.

Now, the problem here was that the signatories didn’t actually have the backing of their parties. They had made a promise on more powers without consulting anyone and apparently didn’t stop to think that their peers may not necessarily agree with them.

Stay with us as we try and collate Westminster’s next steps in this devolution process:

30th September: Gordon Brown calls on 100,000 Scots to sign a petition to show Westminster that we want them to keep a promise that they made… 12 days after 3.6million Scots turned up at polling stations across the country.

3rd October: Nick Clegg names himself as the ‘guarantor of more Scottish powers. Apparently Nick Clegg is the only person in the entirety of the UK that has forgotten what happens when Nick Clegg promises something.

7th October: The Smith Commission announced the representatives who would sit on the committee for devolved powers to Scotland. They included representation from SNP, Greens, Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, four from the Yes campaign, six from the No campaign. The idea was to get representation from both campaigns, although Lord Smith seemed to misplace his letter to the SSP asking for their representatives. Hmm, funny that.

13th October: Alastair Carmichael presents The Command Paper, a paper Nicola Sturgeon referred to as a ‘cut and paste job’, which presents absolutely nothing new on the subject of devolved powers.

14th October: MPs convene within the Houses of Commons to discuss devolution within the UK. Well some of them convene…

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 16.28.06

Among the MPs who didn’t bother to turn up to the devolution debate were the three signatories of ‘The Vow’ and the Chairman of Better Together, Alistair Darling. To rub salt into the wound, Scottish devolution took a backseat during the debate, which largely focused on devolution within England and ‘English votes for English laws’ or EVEL for short.

16th October: Gordon Brown tables a debate on the UK Government’s relationship with Scotland. Let’s hope all those absent MPs from the other day have learned their lesson from the Social Media backlash and have turned up for this deba…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 18.04.57

Oh, come on, seriously?!

We now wait and look to the near future, when the Smith Commission will convene to discuss extra powers for Scotland. But what about things other than devolution? Funding and austerity and oil and everything else that influenced our vote? Well, we’ll just leave you with a selected recap of what’s been said and what we know since the referendum. Hope you enjoy reading, folks. Sleep well.

  • BBC finally reported on months old knowledge that new technologies and findings would mean decades more oil than previously thought.
  • Labour seemed to recall that the NHS was actually under threat and something needed to be done about it. Johann Lamont claims Scottish Labour and SNP should work together to help save the NHS from the current ‘funding crisis’. But, I thought the NHS was safe, Johann?
  • Welfare cuts will hit 1 million children and 600,000 families in Scotland. These are branded as Tory welfare cuts, although Labour have already voted to lock in the next round of austerity cuts and also voted WITH the Tories to put a cap on the welfare budget.
  • Tories are jumping ship and joining UKIP, who now have an elected MP thanks to Douglas Carswell’s defection. Murmurings of a Conservative/UKIP coalition start bubbling to the surface once more.
  • Remember that YouGov poll that came out on the 6th of September, showing Yes on 51%, which caused the FTSE 100 to crash and the GBP to drop? Well, it seems that the GBP continued to fluctuate after the No vote, dropping to its lowest point in nearly a year on the 6th October and then smashing that record by dropping even further on the 15th October. Oh, and the FTSE 100? Well…

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 15.19.11

  • The graph above shows the FTSE 100 since the second televised Salmond vs. Darling debate, with it steadily increasing, levelling and the completely crashing following a No vote. In fact the FTSE 100 is at its lowest point in over a year.
  • As if the rest of the list wasn’t enough, MPs also voted to bomb Iraq. For the third time in 35 years.

Don’t Go, Just Yet

You know what? We can’t leave you with all of this doom and gloom. Have a gander at some of the amazing things that have happened since the referendum:

  • People have become politically enlightened. They are engaged within debates all over the country, showing a great sense of passion for politics. This is a marvellous thing to happen in a country where the stale, archaic system would happily welcome an uninformed electorate. Collectively, we have a voice and it sounds incredible!
  • Independence parties have shown a great increase in membership since the referendum, with Scottish Greens and SSP trebling their memberships to over 7,000 and 3,000 respectively. The SNP have seen an unprecedented surge in membership, with figures rising at such a rate that not even social media could keep up with it! The party now stands at over 82,000 strong and counting, taking the position of the UK’s third largest political party.
  • No longer are people content to sit back and believe the MSM, they are using different forms of media to read through the spin, taking it upon themselves to ‘become the media’.
  • The campaign has made us care more about those around us. George Square has played host to massive donations while foodbanks across the country are overwhelmed with support. There is still a lot more work to be done and the big hurdle is to label foodbanks as redundant, but compassion for your neighbour is a start.

George Square Food Bank

  • Finally, we could not sign off without mentioning the current state of Scottish opinion polls. With SNP looking likely to get another majority government or form a ‘Yes Alliance’ with other pro-independence Holyrood parties, another referendum may not be far away. Nicola Sturgeon has already stated she can see independence within her lifetime – it is now a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’. As for 2015, well here’s an average of YouGov’s Scottish polls for Westminster, conducted since the 18th September:
Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 03.15.42

Note: Electoral Calculas insists on using ‘NAT’ as the SNP’s abbreviation.

Goodnight, Westminster. We’ll be waiting.

A Scottish Voice.

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