Today I decided to share letter I submitted to the Smith commission.
I would encouraged you to do the same.
Even if the commission fails to deliver Significant new power proposals the number of public submission is a barometer of public engagement. A high submission number is of significant value. A low submission number sends a message of resignation to the establishment block.
If you would like to use my letter as a template for your submission please do.
LETTER TO THE SMITH COMMISSION
Lord Smith of Kelvin
The Smith Commission
7th Floor One Atria
144 Morrison Street
Dear Lord Smith
I am writing to ensure my voice is represented in your commission’s deliberations as to what further powers should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
The recent referendum was won by a campaign platform that promised the people of Scotland this: ‘ People want to see change. A No will deliver faster, safer and better change than separation’.
This ‘Vow’ by the Westminster party leaders to deliver ‘extensive new powers’ for Scotland has yet to be given clarity as the same leaders have, as yet, failed to agree what these powers are. The Westminster Scotland Command Paper (13/10/2014) is a testimony to how far from that agreement they are.
It is my understanding your commission is tasked with detailing what powers the Scottish people want, be they devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament or Constitutional and Federal proposals. Your remit is to arrive by the 30th November 2014 at a set of ‘Heads of agreement ‘ that ‘command cross-party support’.
Speaking on behalf of the cross-party No campaign, Gordon Brown said in the days leading up to the referendum that within two years there would be “as close to a federal state” as is possible in the UK, and that we would have “a modern form of Scottish Home Rule”.
It is these statements that won the referendum. And it is on this basis your Commission has a mandate to produce a report representative of these aims.
– What are the principles underpinning your proposals?
My principles are founded on a critical evaluation of our current situation regarding Equality, Social Justice, and Environmental Sustainability. I am concerned as to how we may be able to create a future with a high-carrying capacity, a more equitable and relatively high quality of life in the next few hundred years. A few quotes to frame this position.
“ We’re out of non-radical solutions” – Naomi Klein on tackling climate change.
Limits to Growth “The difference between a sustainable society and a present-day economic recession is like the difference between stopping and automobile purposefully with the brakes versus stopping it by crashing into a brick wall. When the present economy overshoots, it turns around too quickly and unexpectedly for people and enterprises to retrain, relocate, and readjust. A deliberate transition to sustainability would take place slowly enough, and with enough forewarning, to that people and businesses could find their places in the new economy.” Donella H. Meadows, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
– What is your assessment of the current situation?
Our society has been disenfranchised from effective engagement with social change. It has been hoodwinked by the neo-liberal free market agenda. The amoral global capital flow is, time and again, given precedence over our humanity. The human and ecological cost of this wilful ignorance and conceit is to condemn our civilisation to a future of further inequality in Scotland with the lowest carrying capacity and the lowest quality of life.
– What would be the potential advantages to Scotland and the UK as a whole (and/or its constituent nations) of devolving the power in question to the Scottish Parliament?
With the significant economic and political reforms suggested below, Scotland would have the opportunity to haul the UK into a new era of political and economic participation.
We could have the possibility to start prioritising People and Place beyond our current, pathologically blinkered, adherence to neo-liberal mantras that deify our current GDP metric and the pursuit of unhindered capital flow.
– What would be the potential disadvantages to Scotland and the UK as a whole (and/or its constituent nations) of devolving the power in question to the Scottish Parliament?
There would be a period of restructuring in the UK. The Establishment structures unto which we have abdicated our responsibility, will need to be repopulated and restructured to address the new social priorities.
– To what extent do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (or vice versa)?
We would have a Scotland with a higher carrying capacity (more Human and Animal life able to live sustainably), at a higher relative standard of living, as compared to a Scotland with a lower carrying capacity, and a lower standard of living.
– What are the interdependencies between your proposal and other key issues?
All aspects of a society have interdependencies. I favour the Global Systems Science approach to addressing these issues:
1. Better understanding of global systems and global issues using holistic examples:
• (International) Financial system: systemic risk, real economy, inequality.
• Urban development: smart cities, sustainability.
• Infrastructures: multi-level interdependencies among services.
• Global health: individual vs. population, pandemics vs. mobility.
• Earth climate: human-driven climate changes.
• Energy resources: limits to growth, rights to use, pollution.
• Interdependencies: e.g. among financial, climate, energy, and city systems
2. Develop evidence, concepts and doubts.
3. Develop a general approach/theory across domains.
• E.g. Common-good games on networks, with social influence and the consequential presence of positive feedback, addressing , in turn, instabilities, tragedy of commons etc.
4. Bridge science with policy makers and civic society.
• To help reach and deal with the consequences of their actions
• To handle conflicting data/evidence.
– Are there any practical and legal barriers, or other difficulties to implementing the proposal?
How might these be overcome?
Legal disputes regarding the sovereign will of the people should be respondent to the New Participatory Scottish Constitution as suggested below.
– What would be the financial advantages or costs involved in implementing the proposal, and who would bear or benefit from these?
Contributing to the creation of a world with a higher carrying capacity, with the aim of a sustainable economic outcome that offers the best living standards possible within a long-term, viable framework, equates to a realistic aspiration for equality, as opposed to what we have at present which disregards questions of equality and, instead, serves a very small proportion of population.
Below are powers I believe your Commission should advocate in your final report:
Removal of Trident from Scotland.
All licenses for natural resource extraction in Scotland, both inland and offshore, to be devolved to Scotland.
Oil, gas, and other energy revenue devolved to Scotland.
Full income tax control to be devolved to Scotland.
Full VAT control to be devolved to Scotland.
Making the Scottish Parliament permanent through a Scottish Constitution. (By using a public process similar to that used recently in Iceland).
Employment legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Legislation on broadcasting to be devolved to Scotland
The incorporation of a Scottish Broadcasting Service to replace the BBC. With a charter defined by the people of Scotland through a ‘crowd sourced’ procedure.
Data Protection legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Energy legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Trade and industry legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Benefits and social security legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Consumer rights legislation to be devolved to Scotland.
Here is a link to my letter.
Below is some info on matters devolved & reserved. This was taken from
Devolved matters include:
agriculture, forestry and fisheries
education and training
health and social services
law and order (including the licensing of air weapons)
sport and the arts
tourism and economic development
many aspects of transport
Reserved matters include:
benefits and social security
trade and industry
nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity