For months now, the rest of the UK has had to put up with incessant Scottish Nationalist complaints that their country has been betrayed over the independence referendum.
If it’s not Gordon Brown lying to them about pensions (he didn’t), it was Labour being in cahoots with the Tories (it isn’t) or all of the unionist parties bribing the voters with a big lie now known as The Vow – except, after the Smith Commission reported back, we now know that The Vow is being kept.
The Vow, made on the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, promised that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent, that it will have extensive new powers including tax-raising powers, NHS funding in Scotland would be decided by the Scottish Parliament, and Scotland would continue to benefit from the Barnett formula (which governs the distribution of tax revenue).
The Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent with powers on how it is elected and run, that it should be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland, that 10 per cent of VAT raised in Scotland should be assigned to the Parliament, and Air Passenger Duty fully devolved, that the Parliament should be given powers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections, that the Barnett formula would continue (taking into account the changes necessitated by other measures granted to the Scottish Parliament). NHS funding does not appear to be mentioned, but the level of its funding in Scotland is decided by Holyrood anyway.
Any right-thinking person would take the Smith Commission report as indicating the fulfilment of The Vow.
How did Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) react? “It’s not so much the home rule that was promised – in so many respects, it’s continued Westminster rule.” Bizarre!
Did she not realise that Scotland voted against “home rule” and for remaining with the United Kingdom? Nobody promised home rule by the back door. Yet Scottish nationalists are leaping up to claim that this means The Vow has been broken, when in fact it is being kept.
Perhaps the reason for this has been best defined by Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland’s political editor: “The SNP strategy was to seek to maximise the gain from Smith – while simultaneously preparing to declare that the ultimate package is insufficient.”
That’s exactly it; the SNP has been so determined to convince the Scottish people that Westminster has been lying to them that, faced with incontrovertible proof of the opposite, leaders like Nicola Sturgeon have had no choice other than to lie about what it means.
If you are Scottish, think very carefully about what the nationalists are telling you. Check the facts for yourself, if you have to.
If you voted for independence, don’t let yourself be deceived by the nationalists, just because you didn’t get the result you wanted, and if you voted against it but had your head turned by all the anti-Westminster propaganda that has been aired since, maybe it’s time to think again.
Do any of them give two hoots about what’s best for Scotland?
Postscript: Nicola Sturgeon’s reaction leaps from bizarre to hypocritical when you read the Smith Report and discover that all five main political parties in Scotland – including the SNP – have agreed its recommendations.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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