The command paper represents the Westminster view of the current situation and the possible issues regarding change.
Where It contains proposals these are Westminster vetted extracts from proposals in the Scottish Labour, Scottish Lib-dem, Scot Con commissioned reports.
These commissioned reports are also submitted in full to the Smith commission.
What these commissioned reports all share is they read more like partisan political manifestos than recommendations for the Smith Commission.
Yes they all include proposals relevant to the Smith Commission but they were by no means written for that task.
A glance at the members of the various commission members gives you an idea of the wider influence on the report. Below is a table detailing the professions that populated the party commissions.
The Conservative approach has been to offer:
1 actual firm unequivocal statement for devolved Air Passenger Duty to the Scottish parliament.
2 clear proposals for Power to local authorities and councils, or Constitutional Federal agreements on Decentralisation in Scotland and Parliamentary Assemblies.
They offer less firm statements on devolving Housing Benefit Attendance allowance and income tax. These less firm commitments all have significant caveats and exception.
It can be seen that the conservative commission was populated by more Establishment perspectives and less political and local representatives.
It represents a less controversial report for the Westminster Conservative party. Had there been a chance the Scots Conservatives would rock the boat the commission would surely have had at least 1 serving MP or Party Official.
The Scot Con:
Commission on the Future Governance of Scotland (Strathclyde Report)(May 30, 2014)
Members of the Commission
Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde (Chair)
Tom Allison (Chairman of Peel Ports and director of Celtic FC)
Alex Fergusson MSP
Baroness Goldie MSP
Roy Martin QC
Nosheena Mobarik (Former Chair of CBI Scotland)
Prof Adam Tomkins. Uni of Glasgow
Prof John Millar. Uni of Glasgow
Prof Alan Trench Uni of Edinburgh
The Scottish Labour commission on the other hand was populated entirely by politicians with a significant presence from the Westminster Labour party.
The Scottish Labour commission offer 6 actual firm unequivocal statement for devolved power to the Scottish Parliament:
Entrenchment of the Scottish parliament, Rail Transport, Equality Regulation, Housing Benefit, Attendance allowance, Employment Tribunals.
10 Committed proposals for Power to local authorities and councils, or Constitutional Federal agreements: Decentralisation in Scotland, Parliamentary Assemblies, Land Reform, Betting, Payday Loans, Health & Safety, Consumer advice & Advocacy, Employment & Employability.
They offer the weakest proposal on devolving and income tax and some limited proposals on borrowing.
However overall there submission still in my opinion, contained more actual proposals committing to devolved power to the Scottish parliament & proposals for power to local authorities and councils, or Constitutional Federal agreements than Conservative or Liberal Democrat commissions.
The Scottish labour party may well only constitute a regional branch of the Westminster Party but it has put more on the table than their unionist counterparts.
The Scot Labour:
Scottish Labour’s Devolution Commission (March 2014)
Members of the Commission:
Sarah Boyack MSP
Jackson Cullinane (Regional Political Officer and Regional Coordinating Officer, Unite and Chair, Scottish Labour )
Margaret Curran MP
Victoria Jamieson (Former Chair, Scottish Labour)
Johann Lamont MSP
Gregg McClymont MP
Duncan McNeil MSP
Anas Sarwar MP
Catherine Stihler MEP
Councillor Willie Young (Aberdeen City)
The Scottish Lib-Dem commission was populated by 2 Politicians, (but notably no MSPs) 2 Westminster party representatives. And a mix of Business, Legal and Education representatives.
Their commission offer 4 unequivocal statement for devolved power to the Scottish Parliament: Entrenchment of the Scottish parliament, Inheritance tax, Capital gains tax, and air passenger duty.
7 clear firm proposals for Power to local authorities and councils, or Constitutional Federal agreements: Decentralisation in Scotland, Parliamentary Assemblies, shared responsibilities, land reform, funding indirectly and directly from Westminster, and business rates.
Their income tax proposal was the strongest of the three commissions, but still short of fully devolved income tax. they also offer some devolved power on aggregates levy.
Their report is probably the most federally progressive in terms of framework but did not make any commitments federal or otherwise about proposal for welfare devolution.
Scot Lib-dem: Home Rule and Community Rule Commission (October 2012)
Members of the Commission:
Sir Menzies Campbell MP (chair)
Councillor Robert Brown South Lanarkshire Council.
John Barnett : City of London, He currently has responsibility for the Scottish business of a leading UK social finance institution.
Fred Mackintosh is an advocate with a practice in the High Court of Judiciary Appeal Court.
Audrey Findlay . Member of the Executive Committee.
John Edward is the former head of the European Parliament’s office in Scotland and currently works in Scottish education.
Hugh Andrew is founder and managing director of Birlinn Ltd, one of Scotland’s largest publishers.
Shabnum Mustapha was a member of the Commission until her appointment as a special adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister in September 2012.