>Labour and Tories Fail on Calman

>I just don’t get the Labour Party.

They have moved heaven and earth to get some horrendously illiberal legislation through – remember ID cards, control orders and 42 days’ detention, anyone? They were stubborn, intransigent and draconian. The Government believed passionately (and I think wrongly, obviously) that these measures were necessary and that passion propelled them to keep trying to do what they believed in rather than give up.

Now, whether you think of the report of the Calman Commission goes far enough or not, if Labour were to implement the measures Jim Murphy announced today, there is enough of a consensus for them to get through all their Parliamentary stages and into law in the 70 days before they have to dissolve Parliament for the General Election.

Why in the name of goodness don’t they just get on with it? Can’t they cope with an open door or something?

It makes me wonder if they’re really serious about further devolution. As we’ve seen before, if they want to do something, they will get on with it, even if the idea is completely bonkers. Their nature is to grasp everything and drag it kicking and screaming to the centre and in some ways setting up the Scottish Parliament went against the grain. Giving away more powers from Westminster to Scotland must be a hard thing for them.

I might be reading too much into this, but today’s effort by Jim Murphy seems to be quite a cynical exercise. It takes a lot for me to feel sympathy with the SNP, but I found the way he tried to suggest that Nationalists weren’t patriots quite unnecessary. It’s almost like Labour have been taking lessons from the Republicans in the US. I don’t doubt for a second that the Holyrood administration puts the interests of the SNP above everything else, but I felt that Murphy’s language was unhelpful, aggressive and off-putting. I’m not above having a good go at the SNP myself from time to time but there are limits.

If you really believed in something, and thought it was important enough, wouldn’t you implement it while you had the chance? There’s no guarantee that Labour will be in power this time next year, and while a Lib Dem government would implement the proposals, the Tories are clearly trying to distance themselves as much as possible from Calman. Having helped to establish the Commission, they are now going back on its recommendations and are just going to make something else up themselves at some unspecified point in the future. It took them a good while to accept the idea of a Holyrood Parliament so it’s hardly surprising that they’re dragging their feet on this. How could we ever have thought it would be any different?

The Lib Dems are the only party with a clean slate on Calman – enthusiastic about it from start to end. The SNP had to be pretty much dragged into engaging with the process, refusing to recognise that there are valid alternatives to independence which as we’ve seen this week only a very small minority of people want.

I’m going to give the last word on this to the Lib Dem Shadow Scottish Secretary, the ever wise Alistair Carmichael, who said:

“What does the government’s white paper really add to the process, apart from further delay in the implementation, where there is a consensus, and giving the Conservatives an opportunity for the sort of backsliding we have seen today.”.

I was proud of the performance of the Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs today – they made a positive and constructive contribution to the proceedings, more so than anybody else. I’m reminded of a phrase that we used in a previous election campaign – while Labour and the SNP fight amongst themselves, the Lib Dems fight for the people of Scotland. It certainly looked like that in the Commons today.

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About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
This entry was posted in Alistair Carmichael, Calman, Jim Murphy, Scottish Conservatives. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to >Labour and Tories Fail on Calman

  1. JPJ2 says:

    >What on earth did you expect from Labour? As for the Tories, were you really surprised at Mundell's imitation of Sir Alec Douglas Home (as your own Carmichael correctly put it)?Labour had provided evidence over about 100 years that they only support powers to Scotland when they fear the electoral consequences if they do not.As for the SNP and Calman, much of this the the SNP would support and push through tomorrow.You surely must recognise that as the government of Scotland the SNP could not possibly have joined a commission that refused to even consider Scottish independence, the raison d'etre of the party.I watched the Westminster parliament today and noted the contemptible treatment of the SNP.Murphy spoke and replied to all without further response being allowed, Mundell replied for the Tories, Carmichael for yourselves and Angus Robertson was only called seventh. An English based MP was called fifth. I don't care what the etiquette of Westminster is, but in the circumstances that was ridiculous.Anyway as the Scots say "ye ken noo". Don't sup with the LabTory devils 🙂

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  2. DougtheDug says:

    >The Lib Dems are the only party with a clean slate on Calman – enthusiastic about it from start to end.I'm not amazed that the Lib-Dems are enthusiastic about Calman because they have a talent for being sucked in and spat out by Labour. Despite all the waffle about fiscal autonomy in the Steel Report what Calman does is take the current 3p in the pound variable rate and turn it into a 10p in the pound variable rate while promising that the block grant will be topped up to ensure that the block grant plus the notional 10p of taxes assigned to Scotland are always at the Barnett Formula level as long as the tax take is stable. The Calman Commission was a Labour excercise to cock a snoot at the SNP Government and the tax system it proposes is a bureacratic nightmare and has already been savaged by several economists.As a matter of interest, how much of the Steel Commission Report's 10 point plan for Scottish fiscal federalism did the Lib-Dems manage to get into Calman?The SNP had to be pretty much dragged into engaging with the process, refusing to recognise that there are valid alternatives to independence which as we've seen this week only a very small minority of people want.Have you actually read the Calman Commission remit? It was designed specifically to exclude the SNP. The whole point of Calman was to strengthen the Union. Did you actually expect the SNP to take part."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 serve the people of Scotland better, improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament, and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."I'm going to give the last word on this to the Lib Dem Shadow Scottish Secretary, the ever wise Alistair Carmichael…The Alistair Carmichael who forgot he had a constituency full of sheep farmers when he ridiculed the SNP's demand for more Government compensation for sheep farmers on Newsnight during the last foot and mouth crisis? The Alistair Carmichael who forgot that he wasn't still in coalition with Labour?I'm reminded of a phrase that we used in a previous election campaign – while Labour and the SNP fight amongst themselves, the Lib Dems fight for the people of Scotland. It certainly looked like that in the Commons today.Only voting SNP gets results and as Alex Salmond accurately said, "Labour's devolution bus runs on SNP petrol". Devolution was based on a fear of the Scottish electorate turning to the SNP not on the fear of the Scottish electorate turning to the Lib-Dems.

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  3. Andrew BOD says:

    >CaronMurphy's posturing today proves that there is no real consensus on Calman for LibLabCon. This is pure electioneering.And Caron tell me: what's the difference between "a very small minority" and a minority? A misleading euphemism?When you consider that the current Labour Government polled 25% of the total electorate and 36% of the electorate who actually voted, at the 2005 General Election, then you begin to understand the term "very small minority."Perhaps we both agree that PR is a good thing worth fighting for?

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  4. subrosa says:

    >Well balanced post Caron. The problem with labour's proposals is that they're not Calman, they're a revised Calman – tying in tax raising in a way that no Scottish government would even consider.I don't remember the SNP ever being invited to join the Calman Commission in the beginning. In fact wasn't it promoted as the 'alternative to the national conversation'?The behaviour of the tories and labour told me much about how Scotland is regarded by Westminster today. But then we all knew that didn't we.

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  5. >"Have you actually read the Calman Commission remit? It was designed specifically to exclude the SNP. The whole point of Calman was to strengthen the Union. Did you actually expect the SNP to take part."Doug, so why is the SG now (bureaucratically) bending over backwards to facilitate implementing parts of Calman?And the same can be said about the NC as you say about Calman – it was self-evidently designed to exclude the Unionist parties.

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