Labour’s influence on the Calman Commission appeared to be weakening today following calls from Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott for even more powers to be handed to Holyrood than previously recommended by the commission.

Mr Scott also sought the support of the SNP as he called for the nationalists to take part in the forthcoming talks on those new powers to be chaired by the latest Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore; the Lib Dem MP who replaced Danny Alexander in the role.

The marginalisation of Scottish Labour comes in the aftermath of the UK general election loss that saw the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats form an alliance at Westminster. 

Labour, under Iain Gray, are currently floundering directionless and friendless as the other parties re-evaluate the ever changing body politic and begin their manoeuvring as each seeks to position themselves in readiness for next years Holyrood election.  Labour on the other hand appear more intent on alienating everyone – unwise given the nature of the Scottish parliament where cooperation is essential.

The moves by the Lib Dem’s Scottish leader may be an attempt at placating Scottish voters who are sure to take a dim view of his party’s ‘unholy’ alliance with the Tories.  It will also allow Scottish Lib Dems to contrast their support for major constitutional change, ‘Calman plus’, with the reticence of Labour who refused to implement any power transfers whilst in office, despite cross party support in Scotland.

Should the SNP agree to take part in talks they will almost certainly insist that full fiscal autonomy be considered.  The Calman commission ruled out such a move citing ‘incompatibility with the current Union’ as their reason.  However the changing economic realities of the UK and the growing feeling amongst the English electorate that Scotland is somehow ‘subsidised’ may make such a change inevitable.

The calls for full fiscal autonomy have gained momentum recently with respected Scottish business figures Dan MacDonald and Sir Tom Farmer issuing public statements in support of the move.  Others who have called for fiscal powers to go beyond that advocated by Calman include former general secretary of the STUC Campbell Christie.

A major disagreement amongst the political parties of Scotland though remains a referendum.  The SNP maintain that any constitutional change must be put before the Scottish people in a referendum, where all the options are available, including independence.

It is sometimes not appreciated and rarely reported, but unlike in England where the parliament is sovereign, it is the people who are sovereign in Scotland.  Parties, including the SNP, can discuss, debate and agree to whatever changes they wish.  However they should implement those changes only with the express approval of the Scottish electorate.


# brusque 2010-05-31 10:53
The Labour Party in Scotland are still living in the days when they "owned" Scotland. They just cannot accept that the SNP were voted in, and even with a minority Government were brave enough to stand up for Scotland.

I think a day will come...............hopefully soon, when the BBC and all the tame Journalists will finally realise that Labour will be many years in the political wilderness unless they stop pretending that they had anything but their own self-serving interests in mind!

Labour, both singularly (excepting a few) and collectively, lost their way when lining their own pockets, and those of their "friends" was priority number one. Iain Gray will end up taking the hit for Labour, good enough for him; the man has no integrity whatsoever.
# Mac 2010-05-31 11:50
The Tories have no mandate in Scotland. Their legitimacy is supposedly derived thru the LibDems. Allegations of a sell-out and now of sleaze has badly damaged the LibDems in Scotland. Their electoral prospects at the next Scottish elections look bad, and it is the SNP who are likely to benefit from disaffected LibDem voters.

The ConDem coalition need real legitimacy in Scotland. Both parties need to offer something positive in one hand whilst they take with the other thru the proposed public sector cuts. They need to cut a deal with the SNP. Calman won't do it, it will make things much worse. Only Labour now supports the implementation of Calman.

Calman Plus, basically a resurrection of the Steel Commission proposals, is not enough for the SNP. Only the promise of full fiscal automony will attract the nationalists to talks. A Scottish Treasury is a prize worth fighting for because it will change drastically for ever the nature of politics in Scotland.

A Scottish Treasury will effectively turn unionists into thinking like nationalists. Scotland first - the UK a poor second.
# Clare 2010-05-31 13:13
We will not get a Scottish Treasury out of this Mac. They won't do it. But small steps lead down the same path large ones would take us anyway: it just takes a bit longer. Slowly, slowly.....and all that. Meantime Labour must be exposed for what they are......I just can't think of a suitable noun right now.
# sid 2010-05-31 14:26
Afternoon all , you are probably correct Clare,but you never get anything if you don't ask.
Full fiscal autonomy is probably nearer the mark at this stage and it will not be easy in the slightest.
Labour still don't get it- they have been rumbled, Calman is a con and it now appears they are the only ones who want to stick with it.

oh and how much did calman cost us ?

# .Scot 2010-05-31 16:24
It will be interesting to see how much "respect" the London negotiating team will give to the Scottish government when the negotiating team are made to feel like idiots as they need to text their bosses every sentence before they can give a reply. In a similar vein to the coalescence talks after the elections. These discussions could take some time?
# mato21 2010-05-31 17:44
Could the wee chookies at last have started the long walk home to roost? this at least sounds promising and it is a bonus showing how labour is being marginalised due to their negativity
# Traquir 2010-05-31 19:30
One of the primary raison d’être of the Liberal Democrats it their supposed heartfelt belief in Federalism as stated in their own constitution.

“commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.”

The Lib Dems have had several decades to think about this so now is time for them they can spell out exactly what they actually mean by “as much power as feasible” or also known as “devo max” in Scotland. The latest British attempt to sell shiny beads to the natives in Scotland (aka Calman) is not anything close to what Scotland needs. If the Lib Dems put the appropriate effort in then they will find they are much closer to the aspirations of the SNP who truly want to ensure that Scotland has “as much power as feasible”. Then it just becomes a difference of opinion that the SNP wants to go somewhat further, so the merits of these additional steps to make Scotland a normal nation in her own right could be focused on and debated from a strong base of agreement on many other issues.

At this point the Lib Dems need to put up or shut up. Just exactly what does “as much power as feasible” in their Constitution mean for Scotland or is the whole party just destined to remain an anonymous non-entity ?
In the case of the referendum the SNP has already spelled out in detail what they want from Independence, but the 'more powers', 'devo-max',"as much power as feasible" appears to be something the Unionists including the LibDems are terrified to even attempt to spell out.

Perhaps the LibDems have finally realized their position is untenable. To make themselves credible they need to actually deliver (or at least tell us what they will deliver) so Scotland has "as much power as feasible". One of these items is full fiscal autonomy which they have already voted in the past to support.

"The Scottish Lib Dem, at their conference in Dundee, surprisingly backed full fiscal autonomy for Holyrood. "

see -
# Traquir 2010-05-31 19:35
'It is sometimes not appreciated and rarely reported, but unlike in England where the parliament is sovereign, it is the people who are sovereign in Scotland. '

This is a very fundamental point and one which Brit Nats fear than anything else as they prostrate themselves before their British masters who they wrongly regard as sovereign. The Scottish people are absolutely sovereign and even the 'Scottish' Labour comrades fell over each other to sign a solemn oath to that effect.

"We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount."
see -

Further he following legal ruling also emphasized this critical difference between the Scottish and English nations :

"1953 Lord Cooper of Cardross as Lord President of The Court of Session in the case of "McCormick v The Lord Advocate " pronounced that, "The unlimited sovereignty of Parliament has no counterpart in Scottish Constitutional Law" unquote." Rather sovereignty of Parliament is distinctly English trait.

see -

Now of course Brit Nats of the Scottish ilk will try and disown their own country and their own sovereignty in favour of the sovereignty of another country they apparently crave to be part of, which says much more about them than anything else.
# Hugo 2010-06-01 07:22
Traquir, Thank you for this. I had been going to ask for the authority of the concept of "it is the people who are sovereign in Scotland."
# mato21 2010-05-31 20:06
Traquir as many of them do not come over as the brightest in class I wonder how many of them actually know this and understand the difference They would sign away their granny if they thought it would be of benefit to themselves so the fact they signed an oath would just be a means to an end for some of them
# Traquir 2010-05-31 21:28
Yep, sad but true. Restoring pride of many Scots in their own nation and themselves is one of key challenges. Many such as 'Scottish' Labour have such vested interests they have no interest and every incentive to work against the restoration of the Scottish nation.
# hektorsmum 2010-06-01 06:59
From what I have seen in my years in the Unions, those masters/servants of the Labour Party. Many are not stupid, they are venal. They use the Labour Party as a means to get their feet firstly into Local Government and from there into Parliament. These are the people who use the stupid and unthinking. I hope that they have been stupid in forgetting that the people in Scotland are sovereign and get the comeuppance for they truly are the problem with Labour.

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