The chief architect of devolution today dismissed the 'offer' of more powers for Scotland in return for a No vote on September 18, as a 'desperate bribe' by the anti-independence parties.

Canon Kenyon Wright, who chaired the Scottish Constitutional Convention which laid the groundwork for the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, warned voters not to be taken in by parties that fought hard to keep a 'more powers' option off the referendum ballot paper.

He said: "David Cameron and his establishment colleagues could have done this long ago.  Like many, I argued for a second question offering a middle way - which I saw not as devolution but as 'constitutionally secure autonomy within a reformed UK'. That door was slammed shut - but not by Scotland.
 
"So Messrs Cameron, Miliband and Clegg cannot be surprised if I now see independence as the only way left open, to give Scotland power over her own affairs that is both complete and secure.  Their way offers neither."
 
Canon Wright, a retired Episcopalian clergyman, added: "The latest 'offer' of more powers from the unionist parties looks suspiciously like a rather desperate bribe - but it is not an answer to Scotland’s needs.

"The central issue at stake in the referendum is simple: Where should the ultimate power to make decisions that affect the lives of people in Scotland lie – at Westminster or in Scotland?

"As I should know, devolution - however 'max' it may be - is not the way, for two fundamental reasons. First, devolution is incomplete.  It leaves vital areas directly under the control of Westminster.  Take just one example of many - if the UK, as seems more and more likely, leaves the EU, Scotland will be dragged out too, at great cost. 

"Second, devolution is insecure.  The wording of today’s 'offer' is very revealing.  It indicates that greater powers would be 'granted to Scotland'. Granted indeed? By whom?

"Scotland’s history is marked by Claims of Right, all of which rejected as a matter of Right the powers claimed by the 'Crown in Parliament' to decide for Scotland.

"Devolution is power, not as a right, but by gift – or more accurately by loan, since gifts can’t usually be taken back.  Westminster would retain the permanent power to grant, alter, or rescind.  Devolution leaves the UK as a whole fundamentally unreformed."
 
Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, echoed Canon Wright's remarks. He said: "The fact that the anti-independence party leaders have come together at this late stage in the debate with this "offer" shows they are losing the campaign and the arguments.

"By making more vague offers of more powers for Scotland, the No parties have been forced onto our ground. However, as Canon Wright underlines, the only way to guarantee all the powers that Scotland wants and needs to become a better and fairer country is with a Yes vote."

The intervention from one of the architects of devolution follows a so-called 'declaration' by the three main Unionist parties of more powers for Scotland if there is a No vote in the independence referendum.

The declaration says: "We support a strong Scottish Parliament in a strong United Kingdom and we support the further strengthening of the parliament's powers."

"The Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have each produced our own visions of the new powers which the Scottish Parliament needs.

"We shall put those visions before the Scottish people at the next general election and all three parties guarantee to start delivering more powers for the Scottish Parliament as swiftly as possible in 2015.

"This commitment will deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament in a stronger United Kingdom."

However, a spokeswoman for First Minister Alex Salmond said "no-one in Scotland will be fooled by this Westminster-led rehash of vague promises and unspecified more powers in the event of a 'No' vote - the Tories have tried that before".

"David Cameron fought tooth and nail to keep a more powers option off the ballot paper, so how can anyone take him seriously now?"

Comments  

 
# indy2014 2014-08-05 16:24
Westminster gave away fishing rights. Securing better deal for the UK (London really). Cost us 100,000 jobs and £1.5Bn (Billion) a year.
Jack McConnell (now LORD!)gave back £1.5Bn a year back to UK, although we ALREADY get back less than we put in.
1997 Tories admitted that from 1979 Scots had put in £27Bn more than had got back.
That's more than ###£79 Billion###.And you wonder why they want to keep us. How many more billions have been wasted?
 
 
# gopher3 2014-08-05 16:30
The desperation is starting to show.
I wonder what else they'll try to BRIBE us with in the coming weeks before the Referendum.???
 
 
# scotsmanc1 2014-08-05 17:21
OT

Latest Press Release this afternoon from the SNP Media Centre.
The timing is bad news for Better Together No Thanks

snp.org/.../...
 
 
# Breeks 2014-08-05 17:55
OT. Just over an hour to the TV debate. Good luck Mr Salmond, though I have my every confidence that luck won't be needed.
 
 
# bringiton 2014-08-05 18:32
I hope that Alex makes clear that the unelected HoL recently rescinded powers held by the Scottish parliament relating to renewable obligations.
The Scottish parliament is on a leash from London and whatever we Scots decide will,under the current constitutional arrangements,re quire consent from them.
A parish council or what?
 
 
# James 2014-08-06 11:28
Not necessarily. Scotland can have recourse to quite a lot of directly relevant international law that overrides any Westminster legislation in order to assert the independence of its decision making, even under devolution, and there is nothing that London can do about it. Take a look at the URL in my comment below. You will be surprised at what can be done, even this side of independence!
 
 
# gopher3 2014-08-05 20:58
Couldn't get the debate online on stv player, had to watch the unbiased feed from bbc. Someone reckoned that darling won it 60/40.
At the end of the debate there was a notice from stv player, that due to the demand to watch the debate, the system couldn't cope and was having problems. :)
 
 
# Macart 2014-08-05 21:08
Nope the FM edged it under the circumstances. Mr Darling lost his self control on several occasions to the point of shouting, but on the whole performed better than expected. The FM remained cool and the more statesmanlike throughout. The lack of pre-negotiation detail is going to be an anchor in such debates since it leaves areas fuzzy the SG could fill in. But then that was the whole point of Westminster's no pre-negotiation stance it leaves areas of vagueness and uncertainty for people to worry about and is a problem for an SG who can only put forward a preferred opening position. On the whole though, the FM came across as the more grounded, reasonable and optimistic of the two.
 
 
# bringiton 2014-08-05 21:28
Well,Darling appealing to his middle class Tory constituency.
Better Not Together,especi ally with the New Tory party.
 
 
# James 2014-08-06 07:46
Kenyon Wright and I go back a long way together, including our time in the Scottish Constitutional Commission, and as veterans of 1979 we know what Scotland is up against. A new generation has grown up since then, but the opposition remains the same as history repeats itself.

Those unacquainted with what happened then should read it up in the Scotland-UN papers, especially the documentation entitled The Government of Scotland in the Light of the Scotland Act, in the Petition to the Queen, or in the tribute to Willie McRae, all at: electricscotland.com/.../...

I am with Kenyon all the way on this. Don't believe a word these people say about extra powers after a No result. They have a record of duplicitous treachery, and of "shifting the goalposts" to suit themselves, on the basis of the alleged "sovereignty of Parliament".

The only vote that will have any effect on the situation is a resounding Yes majority.
 

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