Devo Max Mix

First of all, congratulations to Alex Rowley, victor in the Cowdenbeath by election. He is, I think, one of a breed of Fife Labour folk who are the heart of what was once – and may be again – a working class movement worthy of the name. He doesn’t fit the mould of the modern, media-savvy slick boy and, although I don’t agree with his analysis and solutions, I do respect his political background and longevity. I hope he breaks away from the grip of Gordon Brown when he’s at Holyrood where I think he will become a real contributor, especially if leaves at the door any anti-Nat baggage that is distorting Labour’s message. All my  dealings with him, some years ago now, left me with the impression of an uncomplicated and honest man, not something I say often about the politicos. (And a convincing majority too).

Anti-Nat baggage? Well, I spent a lot of time yesterday in the company in Labour people, some of who you have definitely heard of, and one theme that emerged was a deep frustration at the two-way finger-pointing of both Labour and SNP. There are people out there – in the know but not under a leadership edict – whose vision of, and for, Scotland is non-tribal and cooperative and who see real advantage for the Scots in the parties working together in the areas where there is agreement – a space of  impressive scope if we only realise it.

Outside the quoted nomenclature of Lamont, Darling  and Murphy there is a community of Labour people who are desperate for deep and radical reform of the powers of the parliament to turn it into a powerhouse of progress with comprehensive tax autonomy, welfare responsibility and entrenched powers allowing it stand aloof from Westminster decision-making when it chose to do so. They envisage a Scotland which is effectively independent showing the rest of Britain what can be achieved if they too have powers devolved. Except they retain the current anchor chains of macro economics and foreign/defence affairs. Now I know that isn’t enough for nationalists including myself but the reason it’s interesting is that we know this is the political territory the majority of Scots also currently inhabit and in a whole Scotland national interest, we could all compromise. Or rather, we could have. These are not necessarily Labour rebels but, according to my evidence, encompass names of some the Nats love to hate.

They belong to the Donald Dewar school that “devolution is a process not an event” and believe that Dewar himself wished for and would today be campaigning for a wide-ranging upgrade of powers and responsibilities beyond anything we anticipate emerging from the Lamont commission. And they have little faith that Lamont will deliver. They see Scotland being held back by lack of flexibility in tax and spend, are appalled at the social impact of Westminster welfare policy and are unconvinced Miliband can lead Labour to victory. (Or what he will deliver if he wins). They wanted a Devo Max option and agree with those of us who argue that Labour should have “demanded” a second question, defined the policy and won hands-down.

Instead they recoil from the Lamont leadership with its lack of strategy –apart from Get Salmond – and it’s constant errors in seeking ways of distancing itself from the SNP. Her praising of London is the latest example of foot-shooting. The nationalist-led narrative about the UK’s resources being sucked into runaway London is working so Lamont must contrive a way of heading it off. She does so by telling the Scots they are dependant on London’s wealth – that it’s a good thing – when there isn’t a sane observer north of Watford who fails to see how unbalanced Britain has become by the concentration of wealth, investment, tax revenues, monetary and fiscal policy in one area. (Even Mr London, Professor Tony Travers of the LSE, agrees). To acknowledge is right but to endorse is wrong. No Labour voter likes the idea of reliance on London and wants to know how we tackle it. To say we must thank London is like telling Labour Scots to love the Tories. As one contact said: “Who is advising her?”

Some voices were heard at the Labour for Independence gathering in Glasgow, some from those still connected to official Labour but others are not. And here’s the thing. A thinking constituency of senior Labour people will vote Yes…not for independence but to make sure the vote stays up. They worry that if it is too low, the energy for change will die, even in Labour, when what Scotland needs is decisive and far-reaching reform. They are riding on Salmond’s coat tails and doing so as a means of securing a positive enough outcome to justify continued change to the Union. Of course, there is always another option – that movement in the polls emboldens some to go public and urge other Labour voters to join them in voting Yes, not necessarily for independence but to guarantee deeper reform. And it’s here you see the possibilities of cooperation if there is a No vote in September. All the pressure will heap on to Labour with demands to know what they will offer and how and those voices won’t only be from the SNP but from identifiable Labour figures pressing their own side to deliver. It was Gordon Brown who stopped Labour’s last push for reform which was to follow Wendy Alexander’s doomed referendum call. I hope his doleful influence doesn’t stop Alex Rowley championing real change now his chance has come. He was unceremoniously dumped from the general secretary’s job after arguing for more powers for the Scottish party years ago so this may be his last chance to impact on national politics.

AND…having boasted yesterday about 9200 hits in a day…yesterday I was a few short of 13,000 hits – in 24 hours. The big boys out there may scoff but I’m quite humbled by those numbers. And I can see on the worldwide map there are people logging in dozens of countries, even in tiny Pacific atolls. Don’t tell me thew world doesn’t care about Scotland. Thank you.

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43 thoughts on “Devo Max Mix

  1. Interesting piece and one which is timely, if you don’t mind me saying.

    Watching both Labour and SNP in councils across Scotland doing deals with Tories to keep the other lot out is as frustrating as it is maddening. In Falkirk I know it would make far more sense for Labour and SNP to work together without the need to make compromises with the right to remain in power.

    If the referendum frees us to make these kind of alliances then perhaps it hasn’t been quite as huge a waste of time as I first imagined…

    • Grahamski, your comments are quite incredible. You say you find it frustrating and maddening to see councils doing deals with the Tories, but you’re perfectly happy with British Labour partnering with the Tories to deny the Scots independence. Worse still, you seem comfortable with the idea that a Tory Government in Westminster is better than an independent Scottish government – of any colour, but most likely to be…..wait for it……Labour and the SNP working together! Bizarre.

    • Labour and the SNP are working together here in Highland Council along with the LibDems and it is generally working well. It is welcoming to hear Grahamski agreeing Labour should not have got into bed with the Tories but instead agreed a coalition deal with the SNP. There is still time for them to ditch the Tories

  2. Labour was the party of Home Rule but it has forgotten what that means. It was/is all about sovereignty and where it rightfully belongs – with the Scottish people and not Westminster. If devolution is a process then it must be recognised that on the issue of sovereignty it has nothing to say.

    If Labour wish to recover lost ground on the constitutional debate it has to concede that Scottish sovereignty must be recovered so that Scots can rightfully decide themselves without interference who governs, how we are governed and where we are governed. For that to happen there has to be a truly independent Scottish Labour party. It has to break away from British Labour.

    There is evidence from canvassing returns in Cowdenbeath that Labour voters are indeed getting the message about independence. The Labour leadership in Scotland can be part of the solution in ensuring that the Home Rule movement moves forward. However, everyone and their dog can see that in siding with the Tories.they are very much part of the problem.

    I can foresee that a lot of Labour voters will eventually turn their back on the party’s leadership and vote YES

  3. In what universe will “senior Labour people” vote Yes to keep the vote up? To keep the vote up, seriously? If they are indeed “senior” then they will know better than anybody that there is no appetite in British Labour to give Scotland more powers, and that there is no mechanism for Devo whatever if there is a No vote.

    It’s eye opening that the senior Labour people who have thus far come out of the woodwork to declare their support for Yes are all senior in years as well as the senior posts they used to hold – and they now no longer have a career to worry about. They can be honest about their aspirations for Scotland because they don’t have to worry about losing their job at Westminster, or in local government with a chance at Westminster later. If you are being briefed by currently in-post “senior people” that they are prepared to vote Yes, I’ll bet a testicle that they’ll only do so when they can see a clear way of keeping some kind of senior post in the aftermath of a Yes vote (will there then be a mad scramble from colleagues?) Otherwise they will not vote Yes or campaign for Yes – how on earth can they hope to control the vote to make sure it doesn’t get past 50% Yes? That defies belief.

    “I’m a Yes, but I’m a No,Yes, which by the way is totally different from a Yes, Yes. I dinny want Yes, I want No, but not a No, No. So please voters, half yeeze minus a few, vote Yes, the rest o yeeze vote No”


  4. Now I know that isn’t enough for nationalists including myself but the reason it’s interesting is that we know this is the political territory the majority of Scots also currently inhabit and in a whole Scotland national interest, we could all compromise.

    I don’t think that’s quite right, Derek. It’s the largest minority perhaps, but I don’t think we can claim that over 50% of Scotland wants Scotland to be – and let’s call a spade a spade here – the UK equivalent of Greenland or the Faroe Islands. The majority would settle for home rule/FFA/whatever if they couldn’t get their favoured option, but this idea that it’s the outright favoured option of the people of Scotland is wrong.

  5. I am confident of a Yes vote. After a Yes vote Labour will run around like headless chickens as they did in the last two Scottish elections. They will implode and no doubt come back as some Neo Liberal Labour party in Scotland. However their betrayal’s will be remembered for a long time. They are not the party of choice for the majority of Scots. A lot of that is down to the 2nd rate MSP’s with genuine lack of intelligence , diplomacy,knowledge and wit. Why would an independent Scotland want these jumped up local councillors running our country.

    • Harsh, but fair especially the last two sentences.

    • Of course after a Yes vote a lot of the current Labour MP’s will be seeking some way to continue their careers and sharp elbows will be deployed, never fear. The interesting question is after a Yes vote who will put themselves up to stand in the next General Election only to be made redundant a year or so later? Will anyone in Scotland vote? or will we just return a clean slate of SNP people to ram the point home and sit dour in the house as a reminder that Westminster is being watched during the negotiations?

  6. well argued piece, Derek. Labour in Scotland are scheduled to meet with radical change! If, Johanna can secure a NO, she will be finished at Holyrood (enoblement would follow,of course) but, in London. The party she led would carry the blame and internal strife would follow. If, however she failed to secure a NO, she will be finished in Holyrood with no subsequent enoblement. She needs a NO. Scotland needs a YES.

  7. If only Donald Dewer hadn’t reassigned 6000 sq miles of Scottish waters to England I could have believed the bit about devolution being a process.
    If Independence is taken off the table with a No vote, there really is no reason for any Westminster Party to look at further devolution.
    Labour in Scotland clearly see themselves as local reps to carry out Westminster Labour’s policies. They have gone on about One Nation long enough to make that clear. Though interestingly Labour strategists have been advising Ed Milliband to stop using that phrase.
    What could Scottish voters do if here was no more devoluton, vote for the Tories? vote more Labour? Not vote? None of these would make any difference.
    Labour in Scotland have almost no options because Westminster controls the budget, and Westminster doesn’t give away meaningful powers.

  8. You may be right, Derek. But all I know is that Labour people such as Johann, Darling, Murphy etc are stoking the flames of antagonism to such an extent that, if they continue down this road, any kind of coming together will be well nigh impossible for many. After all, it is not just the Scottish Government and senior figures who are being demonised and lambasted, but also ordinary members of the public, many new to the political arena with no affiliation to any political party, who have the temerity (to Unionist minds) to attempt to debate the issue of independence rationally in the comments sections of newspapers and online. Some of these people are being subjected to online abuse, and worse. You only have to glance at certain newspapers.Democracy is being stifled.

    Nor is it just the name-calling, horrific as that is in many cases, but this type of sustained vilification disillusions and saps self-belief and belief in a country’s ability to change. Exactly what the perpetrators aim to achieve. It’s not impossible that we could move into a highly dangerous situation where frustration could spill over into other action. I’m not suggesting this will ever happen, but I do wonder if provocation to push commenters over the edge is another motive for these attacks. If this is the case, then it could make any coming together even less likely.

    I’m not convinced Labour want any deal with the SNP. They’re out to destroy it, to regain what they feel the SNP has pinched from them, the rightful owners. Also, asking some people on the Yes side to throw away the opportunity to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons may be a step too far.

  9. I do not share your assessment of Alex Rowley, I don’t think that he is his own man, in his acceptation speech he already was using the well used Labour phrases, such as “Scotland is on hold,while the SMP fight for the referendum”, so he is already under the thumb of Scottish Labour, and he WILL toe the party line~~or else !!
    No it was a bad night for the SMP, they ought to be fighting for every vote, Labour put far more effort into the canvassing for votes, mind you I am of the opinion that the Westminster MPs should have nothing to do with what is a contest for the Scottish Parliament .

  10. There are a lot of good Labour people in Scotland and for that matter in England but the party has decided in order to get elected to power in England that it needs to adopt quasi Thatcherite policies.
    This is what rankles many Labour supporters in Scotland and clearly makes the case for our government here to be elected on any policies we Scots decide we want and not have to wait and hope that Westminster will eventually see the light.
    It a choice between choice or dictat from London.
    Thanks Derek.

  11. Derek
    I think like many of the above that the unionists do not really want devo max never mind Independence for Scotland.
    It is however clear if you follow LFI that many of the rank and file joining LFI do indeed want Independence. I like many of my fellow bloggers do not trust the Labour hierarchy very much at all and it may be that, as some have suggested, they are keeping their options open in the hope to keep their influence in Scotland whichever way the vote goes. Personally, as a former Labour voter, until that sting they pulled with the 40% rule, I could never now trust the Labour leadership until we had independence and they’d had a root and branch clear out of their current Unionistas who have been consistently undermining their own country.
    I think you must have had the rose tinted specs on yesterday if you formed the opinion they’d (senior Labour notables) turned over a new leaf.

  12. Putting it simply, how many Labour activists will be able to look in mirror come a Friday morning after knowing they voted NO the day before? I imagine it would be a hollow and sickening experience.

    You can’t vote NO to Scotland. Labour voters get that, why doesn’t the Labour leadership?

  13. Derek – Could you maybe ask some of your Labour acquaintances this question – “If Scotland had already been independent 40 years ago when oil was first discovered and a Labour Government had been running Scotland, how would you have spent the billions of pounds in oil money?” For example, would you have used it to improve Scotland’s infrastructure by, say, upgrading the A9 and the A1 and the road from Gretna to Stranraer and the road from Stranraer to Ayr? Would you have upgraded the route from Glasgow to Argyll so its not at risk of landslide? Would you have improved the routes from Glasgow, Perth and Inverness to the Western Highlands? Would you have improved road and rail links from Inverness to Thurso and Wick? Is that what you would have done with the money? Oh wait, I forgot…there have been years of Labour Governments at Westminster which had control over the oil money and yet, inexplicably, they didn’t use it to upgrade some of our main road and rail links, leaving many communities isolated and our businesses disadvantaged. You don’t have to take my word for it though…..just get in your car, drive around and open your eyes. Based on the last 40 years, I have no faith whatsoever that any Westminster Government will use the proceeds from North Sea Oil, to address Scotland’s needs and improve her vital infrastructure. If we give away the oil money again, we’re worse than fools.

    • Jeannie,
      Yes I agree with you 100%, also if you or anyone else takes a walk down their village or smallish town street I bet that you will find that there has been virtually no improvements made over the last 50yrs or so.

  14. Interesting post and interesting comment from Grahamski. However, the most significant thing to emerge was the result of the SNP canvass showing a majority for Yes over No with a lot of undecideds. My suspicion is that Whitehall has already decided that the jig is up, hence the growing number of announcements confirming the Scottish Government’s view of many issues (and the BAE announcement is yet another hole below BT’s waterline). Similarly it’s probably what’s driving a lot of these Labour figures to discuss compromise.

  15. Any pressure for change would dissipate the moment there is a No vote. Coupled with the crisis likely to be engulfing Labour at time – as it becomes clear Milliband is going to lose – the Tories will be able to do exactly what they like. Please, Derek, don’t allow yourself to be taken in by people who talk up their enthusiasm for change when they can’t deliver it and don’t even have the courage to back a Yes vote in public.

  16. Derek, sorry but no deal. I’ve voted Labour in every election for 36 years. Now my eyes have been opened I see only one way. Full Independence.
    I want a Labour government but not the UK type, I want a Scottish Labour government that doesn’t need to pander to the voters in England living in marginal seats with policies that are abhorrent to me.

    This referendum can and will be won by getting the message across that their really is such a thing as “society”, The media won’t do that for us, who cares. I’ll do my bit by telling people the facts.

    Once you have made your mind up Devo Max is nothing but a red herring. Those Labour senior figures still pushing this as an option are deluding themselves.

    • Thepnr, you sound like the many good, fair-minded, honest Labour voters (relatives and close friends of mine) who were strong L Party supporters in the pre- Blair/Brown days. Great to know there’s a shift towards YES.

  17. Interesting analysis Mr Bateman, however Labour is not controlled by those enlightened individuals. Labour if the truth be told has been reduced to individuals and their families who rely on the Scottish Brand of Labour to keep them in some sort of paid political work. Hence you get those individuals fighting tooth and nail to retain their posts or climb further up the greasy poll first as Councilors or as MSP’S or if they are really lucky as MP’s.The Labour Party lost its Left Wing intellectual base long ago and has really struggled to get it back.The bed rock of the party was its youth wing but when that was demonized in the 1980’s the party lost its vigor and dare I say it its combative edge. In my opinion a YES vote would rejuvenate the party and allow it to develop itself into a left leaning working class party once more

  18. What needs to happen is that Labour supporters in Scotland put together a list of policies they want a future Westminster Labour government to implement and see how many (if any) they get agreement on.
    The business of voting first and asking questions afterwards will not do.
    There is no reason why Scottish Labour and English Labour cannot get along but as equals after independence and not as a very junior partner in a pretty well one sided union.

  19. Jeanie talks about infrastructure and agree with her point but I am in the Highlands with a broadband speed of .4 to 2.6 megathingies no usable i-player etc- and when I can eventually order something on the internet I have a delivery surcharge. I need to deliver some more YES newspapers to cheers me up!

    • I rest my case, Tommy. Even when we had, simultaneously, a Labour government at Westminster, a Labour government at Holyrood, a Scottish Labour Prime Minister and a Scottish Labour Chancellor, we still didn’t get our infrastructure problems addressed. So why would anyone think that will change when we give away our best negotiating hand by voting No and letting them keep our oil? Derek, your faith in Labour is touching. Personally, I’d never trust them to look after Scotland’s interests. As I said, don’t take my word for it, just look around you.

  20. Enough of this re-invent Labour crap. Hanging on to the nostalgic mythologies of a Labour party long dead is a total self deception.

    I watched the live podcast last night from the ‘Labour for Indy’ meetings and I’ve never been so disappointed. Speaker after speaker waxing lyrical about the good old days – the traditions of the working class Labour communities, family struggles, down the mines etc etc. The NHS, social housing – it’s all irrelevant now.

    You’re only as good as your last government, and the last Labour one was horrific. That’s the Labour legacy.

    Not one speaker in those meetings gave a useful vision of how to actually go about changing Labour, and lets face it, change will never happen if we vote No in the referendum as retaining London rule will see Scottish voices deafened by the clammer of Labour middle class south of England voters.

    So how do you practically go about changing Glasgow council ? A Labour stronghold that has actually done hee-haw to helping the poor in the last 50 years of near continuous power. Jobs for the boys, backhanders, corruption, bullying- all in a city that has the most horrendous life, health, work and education statistics in Europe. These councillors are unaccountable, the press leave them alone, the police never prosecute (public sex in a car park anyone ?) and the voters of Glasgow, well God knows what’s going through their minds to keep re-electing this bunch of mobsters.

    This mind set is now so instilled, generations of people how wholly accept their lot in life is run by Labour, like the furniture in their front room or pictures of their families on the mantelpiece , the Labour presence is there at every turn, lurking somewhere and when the time comes to vote, the instant reaction is vote Labour, without any questioning.

    And this is just Glasgow council. There’s the horror of Holyrood and the monstrosity that is Johann Lamont. What kind of madness does it take to declare that a large portion of your fellow countrymen and women are a virus ? What kind of monstrosity does it take to tell your sick, disabled and unemployed that you are all shirkers ? And what kind of person tells you this in the guise of ‘being a mother’ ? Thats a special madness alright.

    Then there’s Westminster. Sarwar says Scotland is not a democracy, Davidson says nationalists should be bayoneted and his constituents should lose their jobs in the shipyards if they vote yes. Curran just lies and Darling dreams of the Lords and trying to out-do Gordon Brown on the after dinner speech market instead of representing his constituents in Parliament.

    This is what Labour for Indy have to try and break down. All those bent councillors, all those bent MSP’s, all those bent MP’s and a zombie labour vote set on auto pilot.

    It would have been nice to hear an actual plan for how they are going to do that. All I heard were visions of yesteryear and a longing for those days again. No thanks.

    I’m fed up hearing ‘labour will re-invent itself on independence’. No it won’t. It will be a party full of the bent politicians it is now. People don’t stop lying overnight, people don’t stop their greed overnight. Recognise the party for what it is, not what some Utopian dream spouted by Dennis Canavan ( for whom I have a great respect) of former glories.

    My advice to labour for Indy. Dump Labour and set up a new party.

    • Tartanfever,
      Why don’t you and jeannie get together and write an article on the forthcoming referendum?, and while your both at it (now now) contact that lassie called Morag who is a regular on “call Kay “, what a team!.

  21. ‘As one contact said: “Who is advising her?” Paul Sinclair…Lamont even brought up a story in the Daily Telegraph to quote against Salmond yesterday at FMQs!

    On a serious note, I do not think Devo Max will happen in the event of a No vote. A No vote will be taken by Westminster as an endorsement of the British state at least in its present form. I do not think devolution is a process either. The Calman Commission was not even implemented in full and it was inadequate, as the 2011 result showed. I have considerable respect for Donald Dewar’s role in the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. However, I am not convinced he had any real idea what to do with even the limited powers of a devolved parliament. Devolution by definition can only go a limited way in terms of powers devolved to Holyrood.

    On the SNP-SLAB tribalism issue: I agree that at times it is tiresome, counterproductive, pointless and even ugly. However, without it Scotland would not have gained a parliament with legislative powers. It has also certainly livened up the Scottish political scene in the last 50 years or so. However, there is no doubt that many SNP/SLAB supporters would agree on a wide range of issues. I am not in agreement with a purely consensus based approach to politics. At times there needs to be passionate, argumentative politics because it reflects serious disagreements.

  22. I long to ask people things would you go about creating new jobs (and maintaining old ones) in Scotland? And give me the outline of the key elements of your foreign policy ( Israel, gaza, Syria etc) how will you deal with social security while ensuring that work pays? All the sound bites in the world don’t add a thing without substance. i might not agree with the SNP but they have nailed some ideas to the wall. Trouble is it will be the only game in town (greens excepted?) because the unionist parties are hoist by their own petard since they cannot create an equivalent document. I don’t think I care for jam tomorrow under any guise because it will be a very bitter jam in the event of a NO vote even if love breaks out between labour and the SNP.

  23. Alex has been Broons facilitator for years. He will continue his partnership with Gordon Brown after he takes his SP seat. Where does Alex stand on the YES NO Devo spectrum…..I think if there was no SNP he would be Devo max but he is a traditional old Labour man and a Party man. But not an unthinking Party man. He will try to change the Labour Party to Old Labour Max Devo and there have been suggestions he will challenge Lamont for Leadership. Certainly there is no one…really, no one… else to do it in the current batch of Labour MSPs….His tail will be up having seen off the Docharty and Eadie Dynasty. He couldn’t do it without the backing of Broon……maybe Broon has changed? Maybe he sees the sense of Scotland and a separate Scottish Labour Party ? At least as a resovoir of Labour values in case of implosion after Miliband fails in 2015. Whatever, if there were less of a hatred towards the SNP and Labour realised we will always be here it might change the paradigm. Rowley is concessionary despite the hard talk. He cobbled together an unlikely alliance to control Fife Council….including Independents, Tory and senior LibDem support by offering real power to some. It worked… least in the short term before the cuts come to the fore post budget.

    He will add to the frission of Scottish politics….and quite capable of joining with Jim Sillars and Denis Canavan, Robin McAlpine etc to form a renewed Socialist Labour Party to produce a manifesto for post 2016….first they have to break the hold of Docharty and Westminster minded BritNats.

  24. The Good old days of Labour? Education and good Health care. The bad old days of Labour three day weeks, unburied bodies. The worst days of Labour illegal wars and banking fraud, lies and deception. McCrone Reports kept secret for thirty years, subsidy and the West Lothian Question myth, lies and deception. Thanks but no thanks. Fifty years of Labour.

  25. The 40% rule. George Cunningham?

    The strife will go on and on. We will overcome, we will overcome. Until People in Scotland get the equality and respect they deserve.

  26. Labour seeing the light and reforming to its traditional values is just pub nostalgia talk. Just look at their UK prominent figures. And the Acid Test. Which of Scottish Labour prominent figures would you employ in your small business? And remember before you answer, its your money, your mortgaged house,your risk, your overdraft.

  27. Well if anyone realy thinks that labour realy wants to give us more powers,why did they fight like mad to make sure devo max wasnt on the balot?.Also please spare me the claptrap about them being the parents of the scottish parliament,they were forced to concede it because they were scared of the rising S N P.

  28. Labour is more than welcome in an independent Scotland. Who’s getting on the bus?

  29. This is the worst nonsense Derek has written so far, except where he was defending the undefendable – the BBC.

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO POSSIBILITY of Alex Rowley doing anything for more powers to the Scottish parliament.

    Remember Malcolm Chisholm? His comments during the White Paper debate exposed him as a diehard unionist.

  30. The question to ask anyone advocating just more devolution is –who gets the oil revenues ?

  31. Well, you certainly stirred up a hornets nest with that one Derek !!!
    For my two cents worth, I’m a firm believer in ‘actions speak louder than words’ and in that context I’ll judge those weel kent names when they hoist their colours.
    It’s all well and good with what they say ‘Off the Record’ (sorry, couldnae resist it !!) to you Derek but it’s not an affirmation of belief unless it’s in the public domain.
    I harbour no doubt there are many senior Scottish Labour politicians who have deep concerns regarding the leadership and policy of their party both at Scottish & UK level but they sit on their hands, I cannot take any politician (of any persuasion) seriously who privately says “this is wrong” but won’t s say so publicly.
    In this context, I confess my admiration for Robin Cook in being true to himself and resigning from office on point of principal.
    The fact that you have the ear of these anointed ones, or more correctly they have yours, does give the rest of us “great unwashed” a valuable insight as to the Machiavellian machinations currently playing out within the Labour Party.

  32. Those senior Labour figures are not influential enough to change the leadership of their own party, let alone agitate for greater powers for Holyrood in the event of a No. That they think they have the ability to fine-tune a minority Yes is frankly evidence that they are delusional.
    Did they try to get a second question on the ballot? Either they did and failed without trace or they did not actually lift a finger. In either case, it doesn’t instil much confidence that they would be a tangible, let alone potent, ally for more powers in the event of a No.

  33. Can someone explain DEVO MAX to me please?
    Assuming it ever happened AND for some miracle it was agreed that Scotland had full fiscal powers (inc oil receipts etc). Then my understanding is that in that scenario we get what Independence offers and as expected there would be no block grant from the UK – BUT we would still have to pay for shared ‘benefits’ such as the aremd forces, trident etc etc

    So all I can see is that its like Independence but more expensive and would result in cuts/tax rises?

    I appreciate thats a simplistic view – so any info on it is appreciated as I havestruggled to find any detailed info on the subject

    • That is exactly the problem. There are no actual firm, worked out proposals. Just a wide variety of schemes ranging from Devo-More to Indy-Lite but where are the White Papers? Gordon Brown even offered to advance powers that Holyrood already have which is worrying.

      It is not even jam tomorrow, instead it’s we think we understand the concept of jam but we have to run this past all these people in Westminster and we’re not sure they will agree. Brown even said his silly scheme could only be implemented if we consented to voting in majority Labour administrations in both Westminster and Holyrood. Note that the former is not in Scotland’s purview. We could send all Labour MP’s to Westminster and still get a Tory government.

      It’s pie in the sky and really not worth bothering about. The time to advance real proposals was when Alex Salmond called for Civic Scotland to make a case for Devo Max on the ballot to be met with a deafening silence.

  34. This is the first clear error of judgement in your work Derek. To talk of deals, compromise and appeasement of Labour etc is missing the big trees in the wood. The people of Scotland for one. They are the ones who will vote and it is their and their children’s interests at stake.

    Devolution is not a compromise. It is an utter failure, especially within this current political climate.
    We should not speak of devolution other than to discount it wholly as a dangerous, thin end of a wedge, which leads back to WM controlling us.

    Labour are not representative of the people of this referendum. The traditional affiliations of people living in Scotland will not be their primary motive for voting, thus we do not need to consider macro political wheeling and dealing.

    In addition. I believe that you have admitted an error of judgement when it comes to Alex Rowley.
    How can a politician of any integrity allow the use of a campaign leaflet which wholly misleads the public to believe that Labour were responsible for major SNP policies?

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