Devolution proposals ‘do not go far enough’

Members of a Scottish parliamentary committee were left in no doubt that the powers contained in the draft legislation on devolution do not go far enough at a workshop in Lerwick town hall on Monday night.

A delegation of MSPs attended the meeting where about 30 members of the public had the chance to contribute to the deliberations of the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee.

Members of the public have their say on proposed devolution at the town hall. Photo: Peter Johnson
Members of the public have their say on proposed devolution at the town hall. Photo: Peter Johnson

Earlier in the day, the MSPs met industry and political representatives of the SIC, fishing, aquaculture, tourism, harbours, farming and livestock sectors. The group consisted of committee chairman Bruce Crawford and members Tavish Scott, Lewis MacDonald, Linda Fabiani, Rob Gibson and Stewart Maxwell as well as list MSP Jean Urquhart. Several other committee members were not in Shetland.

Mr Crawford said that the evidence gathered at meetings throughout Scotland would contribute to a report that will be matched against the draft legislation which was published by the UK government in January, reflecting the proposals of the Smith Commission. In short, the process is intended to ensure that what is being offered by Westminster squares with what was contained in the pre-referendum “vow“.

Mr Crawford said that some “very forthright views” had been expressed in Lerwick. “It has been incredibly useful as an exercise,” he added.

Immediately following the workshop Mr Crawford said that Shetland had unique and very specific concerns, principally on delivery of the promised control of the Crown Estate and transportation issues such as air passenger tax. It was the farthest flung part of Scotland in relation to Edinburgh and offered “valuable input” as a rural area.

The view also emerged that not only did the proposals of the Smith Commission not deliver enough devolution to Scotland, but that they were further watered down in the draft legislation emanating from Westminster.

A quick show of hands conducted by committee clerk Stephen Imrie showed that very few people knew all the MSPs with responsibility for the Highlands and Islands, where Shetland is included, and most could name only one or two.

Only two people, including the MSPs, had read the government’s document cover to cover, while a number knew “a little about it”.

Everyone intended to vote at the General Election. Mr Imrie summarised the crowd as “positively engaged but with slightly dubious knowledge”.

• More from the meeting in Friday’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Robin Stevenson

    • March 17th, 2015 17:25

    Well, that seems pretty straight forward,… IF you`d like further powers that go far beyond the [watered down] “Smith Commission”, then there is – simply – only ONE party that are trying to achieve just that.

    With a large contingent of 40 – 50 SNP MPs, [and the prospect of holding the balance of power in Westminster,].. the SNP would be in a position to wrestle these levers of power from the UK government on a confidence and supply basis ;)….The alternative?….just watch the few crumbs we were offered kicked into the long grass.

  • iantinkler

    • March 19th, 2015 12:49

    This should open a few eyes. The Scottish Government to set its own rate of income tax. I feel sorry for the Scottish workforce whom will now have to pay for all the SNP throwaway election bribes. Robin makes a useful statement about a large contingent of SNP MPs in Westminster. Just think a vote for the SNP is one less for labour. If you want Cameron in power , Vote SNP. whoop, whoop.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • March 19th, 2015 17:35

      Ian, Surely you’re not going to come out with that tired old Mantra “Vote SNP get Tory”?..OR…”Vote SNP get Labour”?….soon it’ll be “Vote SNP and get UKIP”, …

      This has been proved time and time again to be complete tosh, 85% of the population of the UK lives in England, and that means that in practice England always decides what government everyone else gets. Most of the time (roughly six years in every 10, for the entire modern political era dating back to WW2) that’s been a government Scotland has rejected.

      (For example, in 1997 Labour would still have had a huge majority of 139 seats if ALL Scottish votes had been removed. Even in 2005 it would have had a comfortable majority of 43 seats WITHOUT Scottish votes, rather than the 66-seat majority it actually got.)

      WE know, [in Scotland] that the UK Government will either be Labour or Tory, but [if polls are to be believed] then neither will be able to form a majority Gov?…
      However. with a large block of SNP MPs, then this means, they’ll need to “Do a deal”, with the 3rd largest party to form a workable Government, as you know, the SNP will NOT work with the Tories, but they`re quite happy to work with Labour on a “Confidence and supply”, issue by issue basis, what that basically means is, that IF labour need the SNPs support then the SNP will be happy to oblige on the condition that more levers of power are given to the Scottish government, in a sense, it’s like the “Smith Commission” only done the way it should have been done in the first place…

      I do agree with your last part though,….”Vote SNP .whoop whoop”

  • Iantinkler

    • March 21st, 2015 11:17

    “Ian, Surely you’re not going to come out with that tired old Mantra “Vote SNP get Tory”?” Truth a bit hard to stomach Robin? How about UKIP, SNP the two sides of the same filthy coin, raw prejudice, nationalism, division with a tad of xenophobia. As I said, not a lot between them!!

    • Robert Sim

      • March 21st, 2015 12:38

      By the looks of the all the polls since September, Ian, you are saying that the vast majority of Scottish voters are prejudiced and divisive in their attitudes with a tad (sic) of xenophobia.

  • Iantinkler

    • March 21st, 2015 17:47

    Robert Sim,Certainly, those hell bent on destroying the UK with a Blue painter nationalistic fervour. Fortunately 55% have a bit more humanity and common sense. Once in a generation was it Robert, or that just another Salmond lie? Looks like it to me, what do you think, did you vote for a dishonest man, a divisive man, a man whom split Scotland and achieved Sweet Fanny Adams?

    • Robin Stevenson

      • March 21st, 2015 21:07

      You Seriously think that the [dis]United Kingdom is worth saving Ian?…and btw that 55% you keep going on about?….read the latest poll Ian, I’m afraid you’ll find those same people have, indeed, more common sense, because they’re now moving over to agree that the UK gov ARE dishonest, divisive and achieved Sweet F Adams. Tis a wee shame you just can’t see it nor accept the inevitability of a future referendum?….
      “Once in a generation”?….We…the people,…decide that.

    • Robert Sim

      • March 22nd, 2015 9:12

      Ian, the referendum was months ago – this is the General Election. We have all moved on. A referendum on independence isn’t part of the what the SNP is campaiging on. Putting forward an alternative to austerity is, along with ensuring the promised devolved powers are delivered.

      You should have a read of Nicola Sturgeon’s recent speeches. She is of course the SNP’s leader, not Alex Salmond. It is of course no secret that the SNP’s aim is independence – but they are not campaigning on that in this UK election.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 22nd, 2015 10:01

    Robin, please stop spouting such tripe. The latest poll I can find put the SNP on 47%, hardly much change from 45%, 3% swing since Salmond stepped down, must be Sturgeon is less obnoxious than wee alex!. As for independance “We…the people,…decided that.” have you forgotten?

    • Robin Stevenson

      • March 22nd, 2015 13:36

      Actually, you’re giving more credit than we’re due Ian, it’s a 2% swing not 3%, but thanx anyway.

      Did you not bother reading Roberts post before your next onslaught of vacuous nonsense?

      This is a general Election NOT a referendum Ian?…I must so though, as May looms closer, and the SNP support seems to be surging, [100,000 membership announced this morning] You can almost taste the panic in the MSM and posters [like yourself] not just in the Shetland Times, but umpteen forums, much like your own attack, and other “Doomsters”, the insults are becoming fast a furious, to the point where they’re becoming rather amusing. 😉

  • Iantinkler

    • March 22nd, 2015 16:33

    Robin Stevenson, Robert Sim, I challenge you to tell me one good thing to come from Nationalism. I see wars, division, xenophobic hatred and racism. That is on the world stage, now look to Scotland and Shetland. We have a devolved health service, failing us, a higher education system, starved of funds and on the international rankings, failing abysmally. Unemployment up in Scotland, down in the rest of the UK. A narrow centralising (SNP) Scottish Government . I challenge you, name one good thing coming from Nationalism, apart from the Referendum result and Salmond stepping down?

  • Iantinkler

    • March 23rd, 2015 9:38

    Come on Robert, lost for words. Need to make something up, Robin, Wikileaks should help.

    “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
    Charles de Gaulle
    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
    Albert Einstein
    “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.”
    George Orwell
    “Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.”
    Pope John Paul II.


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