Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Commissioner, commissioner, where have you been?

On the Independence Commission which doesn't yet know it's an Independence Commission (oh ye of little faith) - a couple of interesting points...

1. Journalists were told that if they wanted to cover the launch they would have to ask Parliament for permission for access for photographers and camera crews but would have to ask the Scotland Office for permission to interview Calman. Guess who's in charge of this commission? Interesting idea having to ask the Scotland Office before carrying out an interview in our Parliament, isn't it?

2. MSPs were told the names by the Scotland Office - rather interesting for a Commission supposedly set up by Parliament, isn't it?

3. On that first point again - third parties aren't allowed to carry out press operations in Parliament - the SPCB specifically ruled on that in February.

4. That's another thing - while we're on the SPCB, it still hasn't approved funding or resources for this Commission and it still has to follow through on the commission demanded by Parliament. Read the minutes here.

That couple of points has become like a trilogy with four parts ...

I'll come back to an interesting point made in comments to yesterday's post -
It's an interesting to see how far Labour and the LibDems have moved away from the Claim of Right, insisting that the Scottish people were sovereign and had a right to self-determination, and the idea of the Convention, aimed at bringing together the representatives of the nation.


Charlie said...

Well done Calum...!
I look forward to your daily ruminations.

Keep up the good work

Carlo, Fort William

livi said...

Check out your jusidictions there Calum. The line between devolved and reserved matters is in effect there. Of course the Nats do tend to ignore such things and barge on regardless.

The commision is looking at the strengthening the powers given to the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act. As this Act is under the control of Westminster of course it is under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Office.

Suprising any move to Independence would also eventually have to go through the same channel because the Act of Union is guess what an Act of the Westminster Parliament.

RoadrunnerReturns said...

I suspect that Sir Kenneth Calman is a deeply worried man right now. As indeed he should be. He was promised a committee of experts with which to conduct a serious review of devolution “10 years on”. Instead he is being asked to chair an essentially political body that is book-ended by perhaps a couple of genuine experts in topics related to devolution/UK constitutionalism, but otherwise filled out by individuals who are better described as representing the diversity of Scotland’s civic society. There is nothing wrong with that – but no one can seriously (i) expect them to provide a route map to further constitutional change (ii) have any particular reason to respect their conclusions. They are, in the main, politically loaded and intellectually ill-equipped for the task in hand. Even if one assumes the task to be legitimate – which I don’t because I do not think it is legitimate for the Scottish Parliament to become a vehicle for the creation of a parallel government in Scotland. (That is happening.) I would be quite willing to listen to Mona Siddiqui on the topic of Islam and Scotland, or even Shonaig Macpherson on the future of the National Trust. But just what expertise do they have in advising on the future shape of devolution? I respectfully suggest they, and some others, are simply incompetent in this area. Do they agree, or has humility and self-reflection left the building entirely? Finally, a key debate in all of this has to be Scotland’s public finances, or the future of the Barnett formula under a dev-max option. Who in this Committee will be tasked with leading on that? Who is doing the ‘heavy lifting’? Trust me – none of the members has the competence to understand the technical economic issues involved in this question, far less lead the discussion or provide new thinking! Or perhaps nobody as this is a matter for the Treasury and numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. Says it all.