The interim report from the Calman commission does not have a lot of hard proposals but then, given that it is a "work in progress" that should not be a surprise. This is about the future of Scotland and so seven months of listening and reflecting, whist not insubstantial, is not enough time to do justice to the task. That being said, the two serious issues that the commision has excluded, a second chamber and full fiscal autonomy, need a wee comment or two.
A second chamber was never going to happen when there is still a view by some that we are already over our quota of layers of government and politicians., Despite the fact that this is not a actually true if we are compared to other countries of a comparable size, in politics perception is all and a conclusion that we needed more politicians, was never going to be popular.
Fiscal autonomy is another story altogether, ruled out because it is "inconsistent with the union" is not helpful. The message it send's out is that, in the most crucial of areas, we are not going to consider all the options.
I have long agreed with the view that the most significant theological decisions are made in the finance committee and so it is the same with political decisions. The block grant model cannot stay. It feels like control from London. It isn't, but it feels like it, and because it feels like it, the case for devolution as an effective expression of self identity is undermined. We many not be yet at the stage of moving to full fiscal autonomy but to rule it out at this point was not wise for it suggest a lack of confidence or ambition which is not helpful to the Unionist cause of which I remain a committed member.
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