|Him all in blue, and her in red and tartan.|
I wonder if the newly socialist, newly Scottish, Scottish Branch office has anything to say on the subject. Are they with the TUC or the Tories?
"Despite being represented on the Scotland Office Stakeholder Group to consult on the draft clauses, the STUC was not given sight of the final details.
"STUC will now analyse this paper in some detail, however it is already clear that in key areas such as welfare and capital borrowing, the recommendations will not match the intentions of the Smith Commission proposals.
“It is unacceptable that the Scottish Parliament should require Westminster approval to create new benefit entitlements in Scotland. The current proposals will also seriously hamper the ability of the Scottish Parliament to make different fiscal choices by tying Scotland to UK deficit reduction targets.
“Given that the STUC was underwhelmed by totality of the Smith Commission proposals, this further watering down of the promise that was made to voters in Scotland is unacceptable. The UK Government will present today’s publication as significant progress, but the truth is that we are not even at the end of the beginning of progress to meaningful additional devolution.
“It is now vital that the fullest possible public consultation is conducted, including a citizen-led process. It is also a matter of particular importance that the Scottish Labour Party looks very carefully at these clauses and takes a clear view on whether they meet its aspirations and the spirit of the Smith Commission proposals.”
Any comment Mr Murphy, Ms Dugdale, Ms Baillie.... Anyone?
Well somehow the BBC managed to unearth Gordon Brown from whatever 6 star hotel he's staying at, and he's enthusiastic.
So he is clearly on the side of the Tories. Surprise surprise!
Brown said he was pleased that there are new powers "of huge significance in employment and welfare that no one can undervalue with credibility".
He added: "Two issues have dominated Scottish politics for the past 30 years: the call for action on jobs and social justice.
"And the Scottish Parliament will now have substantial powers in both areas, as well as in tax matters, which will enable it to secure jobs and make decisions in fairness for the people of Scotland.
"This will ensure the new Scotland Act is a modern version of home rule for Scotland in an interdependent world."
It appears that dogged persistence, threats of legal action, and the prime minister of Britain saying that he would withdraw unless the Green Party were included in leaders' debates ahead of the British elections in May have in the end worked in favour of democracy. The BBC carry a story that their debate will include all 7 leaders of major parties on the British mainland.
|Icelandic tv debate with more that 4 people!|
Cunning lot these foreigners!
The original proposals had been for the two major parties along with UKIP and the Liberals having a four-way debate. Not unreasonably, given the minority nature of both UKIP and the Liberals, other parties wondered why they were to be excluded.
Various excuses were trotted out including how difficult it would be to manage a debate with so many people but that was put to bed somewhat embarrassingly when it was pointed out that Scandinavian countries and Ireland all manage to organised them.
There were then a series of arguments about the minority nature of the other parties which wanted to participate, including:
That it was a prime ministerial debate (a silly argument in a parliamentary democracy, where the majority of us do not get a vote for a potential prime minister, and in any case, why would Clegg or Farage be included in such a debate?).
And that the SNP, Plaid and the Greens were not national parties... (but then neither is Labour as it fields no candidates in Northern Ireland).
So far the BBC has announced the parties' inclusion on its website, but at the time of writing it hadn't bothered to inform the party leaders of the decision so we base this on the BBC website.
I wonder what will happen if the Irish parties wish to get involved. Will Cameron support them as he supported the Greens?