Scotland, the Promised Land

As we all know in the final days of the Referendum on Scottish Independence the UK government promised


sun,moon and stars

if Scotland  voted NO to Independence.

They did
The majority of voters have been expecting Devo-max/Home rule with full fiscal autonomy ever since.

 45% of the electorate vote for full sovereign independence.

According to the Ashcroft poll a further 14% of people voted No on the specific basis that more powers would be granted.

That’s 59% altogether – fairly convincing evidence that Devo Max is the only option that can truly be regarded as reflecting the democratic will of the Scottish people.

Here’s the list of  currently devolved powers in Scotland

scotland today

And here’s an example of what the British Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem parties are offering and what the SNP and Scottish Greens are demanding



The Smith Commission, as set up by the UK government to implement the promises,

 held its first meeting yesterday and agreed:
(1)-Not to comment on the talks until they had concluded and a final report was produced.
And that the eventual outcome would:
(2)-form a substantial and cohesive set of powers.
(3)-strengthen the Scottish parliament within the UK.
(4)-bring about a “durable but responsive” constitutional settlement, which maintains Scotland’s place in the UK.
(5)-not be conditional on the conclusion of other political negotiations elsewhere in the UK.
(6)-not cause detriment to the UK as a whole or its constituent parts.
(7)-cause either the UK or Scottish government to gain or lose financially simply as a result of devolving a specific power.
(8)-be compatible with international obligations, including EU law, and be agreed with a “broad understanding” of potential costs 

Number 1 hints at deals behind closed doors –

Why not publish a report after each meeting, setting out the agenda and saying we agreed on a) or  b) and there is no consensus at present on c) and d)? 

Number 5 is going to be tricky, given Mr Cameron’s remarks about “English votes for English laws” having to move forward in tandem
Given the restrictions imposed in Number 6, Numbers 2 and  7 look impossible!

The Past Is Always With Us in Larne and Belfast

For those of you who can’t access the latest “can’t miss” programmes about ulster, northern ireland, are wee pravince, the occupied 6, or whatever you want to call it – here they are!

Today in Larne  – Protestant fundamentalism lives on,  car hoots of animosity and an award for the  best loos in the neighbourhood

The Past in Belfast – A rebellious heart – Spotlight and Mairia Cahill

The Republican Movement’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against a suspected IRA member,

The programme raises questions about “kangaroo” courts and for those that remember, Catholic women who were tarred and feathered for socialising with British soldiers, kneecappings, banishment, dead bodies (touts?) along NI country roadsides  and the Disappeared

In 30+ years of the troubles, at least 2,149 people are estimated to have undergone punishment shootings, 1328 punishment beatings and 114 died as a result of attacks. Between 1994 and 1996 about 453 people were subjected to PIRA expulsion/banishment orders.

PS For access to the BBC programmes you may need to install,854545