Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The big good nationalists and the three little unionists

Once upon a time in a Parliament not far away, the three little unionist parties insisted that the big good nationalists should respect the will of Parliament. Of course, the nationalists, being good parliamentarians, will always respect Parliament as far as possible. Pity the three little unionist parties today gave up that principle - ach well, more in sorrow than in anger I shrug my shoulders and hope they'll get better soon.

On December 6th 2007, Parliament agreed - against the will of the SNP - to have the Scottish Parliament Coporate Body run a commission on the powers of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. Today, the three little unionists and the big bad London Government scorned the will of Parliament and moved to set up their own review of devolution - tsk tsk tsk!

Not only have they not had the grace to wait for Parliament to act, they held a news conference in Parliament and never had the decency to even inform Parliament's press officers. Terribly rude. You know, the Corporate Body hasn't yet even discussed any report on this commission and will have to do so in advance of setting up the commission which Parliament ordered because the unionist review doesn't satisfy the terms of the Parliamentary vote. So that will be a commission to add to the review which is in itself superfluous thanks to the National Conversation run by the Scottish Government. It's like an episode of Soap.

So the chair of this review was announced today - I asked yesterday whether they'd be bright enough to appoint the respected legal chap but they didn't - they appointed the crusty old mandarin placeman Kenneth Calman. Apparently he's an expert on sundials - just what we need. Mind you, he did lead the BSE enquiry - that could be terribly handy.

The background briefing on the review makes it clear that the review group will consist only of unionists - so no room there for representatives of Scotland's most successful Government, the SNP, and no room for those who are not committed to either side but who care about the future of their country. Still, maybe Parliament's Commission will address those glaring deficiencies.

On the brighter side, though, there's a promise that "It will listen to all voices in Scotland" and "will consider all submissions, and will welcome representations on issues which might be devolved to the Scottish Parliament."

No address is given for sending submissions in, but I'm sure that the Presiding Officer is the kind of chap who would make sure they got to him, so I suggest we all send him our representations. Here's the address -

Kenneth Calman,
Parliament Review,
c/o the Presiding Officer
Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

That should cause trouble!

Today's sweepie - how long till it turns into the Independence Commission?


Alwyn ap Huw said...

I'm confused.

In December the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) was instructed by Parliament to set up an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland.

Sir Kenneth's Commission appears to have been set up by the Scotland Office and the UK cabinet, not the SPCB - so the Ken Com is not the commission that the Scottish Parliament voted to establish.

Presumably, the SPCB still has to do what it was instructed by Parliament to do: set up its own commission.

Doesn't it?

Calum Cashley said...

That's what I think. The SPCB still has to comply with the resolution of Parliament.

It would appear that the constitution is the hottest topic in politics just now.