Friday, 12 December 2008

Working on commission

A source who knows more about the Lib Dems than I do passed on the following tidbit of information regarding everyone's favourite party:

The Lib Dems have, over the last few weeks, been considering walking away from the Calman Commission.

Apparently, the absence of any recommendations on fiscal autonomy - a key Lib Dem policy - in the Commission's First Report saw the party think about ditching it. Commission member, and former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems Jim (now Lord) Wallace suggests here that the Commission has been directed to "improve the Parliament's financial accountability" which to him - and to most others - suggests the need for fiscal autonomy.

Apparently (and I'm using that word on purpose) it was the fact that there was no real recommendations at all in the report (and a good deal of kicking them under the table from the Tories and Labour) that saw them bite their collective tongues and retain membership.

Personally though, I think it was a political decision. What isn't, you might ask? And it'd be a fair point. But let me point this out. If the Calman Commission went ahead - without the Lib Dems - then it they would be squeezed out (even more than they already are). With the Scottish Government's National Conversation on one side and the Calman Commission to "redo" devolution on the other, the Lib Dems would face two choices: join the Government's consultation (which is looking at all the constitutional options - including independence) or sit out the most important constitutional question facing our country at the moment. Neither for them looked a particularly good option.

So, they're stuck contributing to a Commission that they feel won't provide the answer that they want it to... any ideas what they can do? Answers to Mr T. Scott - who'd be grateful for some guidance on this delicate issue.


Anonymous,  19 December 2008 at 16:57  

Suggestions for Mr Scott?

He should chuck it. The game's a bogey. The Lib Dem hierarchy decided in May 2007 that they would play no further significant part in Scottish politics.

Stephen Glenn 19 February 2009 at 11:15  

Malc we never viewed Calman as a "re-do" devolution but hopefully as a strengthening of it. Of course the First Report has been considerably disappointing as you quite correctly pointed out.

BTW I'd like to assure fellow Lib Dems that not Malc is not referring to me in his first sentance above.

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