>Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has appropriately enough chosen St Andrew’s Day to launch the Government’s Bill which will implement the recommendations of the Report of the Calman Commission.
If you look at the full Debate as recorded in Hansard, you’ll see that the Tories, who had participated willingly in the Calman process, were trying to wriggle out of it as fast as their wee legs could carry them. David Mundell their then shadow Scottish Secretary said:
Does he acknowledge that his Government’s White Paper should not bind any incoming Conservative Government? Conservatives accept that the Scottish Parliament needs to be more financially accountable, that the devolution settlement needs to be tidied up and that Westminster and Holyrood need to start working constructively together for the good of Scotland and Britain, but we will ensure those things through our own White Paper, not this Government’s proposals launched in the dying days of this Parliament.
His Liberal Democrat opposite number Alistair Carmichael said of the Tories’ position:
I listened to the hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (David Mundell) speaking about producing another White Paper the other side of a general election, and I could almost hear the ghost of Sir Alec Douglas-Home speaking prior to the 1979 referendum. He promised that we would get something better from the Conservatives, but they betrayed us after the 1979 election, and they would betray us again tomorrow given half a chance which, fortunately, they are unlikely to get.
At the time the papers were full of the Tories wanting to sit on any further reforms and devolution of power until 2015.
The reason the Tories have not been allowed to betray Scotland again is because the Liberal Democrats made sure that full implementation of Calman made its way into the Coalition Agreement.
The other good thing is that we won’t hear from Michael Moore’s lips the sort of disgusting rhetoric that we heard from Jim Murphy. I really hate it when people’s loyalty to their country is questioned and brought into the political arena:
The problem for the hon. Gentleman and the SNP is that he always behaves like a nationalist and never behaves like a patriot. A nationalist puts the SNP first, but a patriot puts Scotland first. That is the difference between my party and his, and why Scotland is increasingly turning its back on the SNP.
That sort of talk is just not on and shows up the person who uses it.
Sure, Calman doesn’t deliver the greater measure of fiscal autonomy that we want, but it’s a sizable step in the right direction. I’m pleased that it’s a Liberal Democrat secretary of state who’s introducing measures we would never have seen from the Tories governing alone.