Wednesday 20 February 2008

Angst in an empty house

On the 6th day of December 2007, Parliament resolved the following :
That the Parliament, recognising mainstream public opinion in Scotland, supports the establishment of an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland; encourages UK Parliamentarians and parties to support this commission also and proposes that the remit of this commission should be:
"To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to better serve the people of Scotland, that would improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament and that would continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom",
and further instructs the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to allocate appropriate resources and funding for this review.

It hasn't half caused a lot of sleepless nights and stampie feet in London (a house on the Thames, for example). Why? Why are they so daft? Let's look at the motion -

Firstly, it hands the Commission thing over to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB). The SPCB runs Parliament here in Edinburgh - it's members are nominated from each party which has a seat on the Business Bureau (one each) and the Presiding Officer. Gordon Brown can huff as much as he likes, it's got nothing to do with him - thanks to this motion which was in the name of - Wendy Alexander.

Secondly, it has to be independently chaired - sorry Ming... No apparatchiks of any party.

Thirdly, this resolution is more than two months old - where's the action?

Fourthly, the SNP has a seat on the bureau, that means the SNP has a say in how this Commission will function.

Fifthly (I'm hoping to get to eleventhly), the SPCB member with responsibility for things like Commissioners is the Lib Dem Mike Pringle MSP

Sixthly, the Chief Executive of Parliament agreed to report back to the SPCB in January

Seventhly (getting there), there're no minutes of SPCB meetings in January

Eighthly, I've run out of things to say and won't reach eleventhly godammit!

Come back Jack McConnell - they need to up their game!

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