Does “devo more” mean more money for Scotland?

Now the negotiating begins in earnest to try to settle the country around a new devolution settlement. Of course that settlement has to be fair to England as well as to Scotland. Today I want to ask how the main parties think the money will be managed for Scotland.

During the campaign the Better Together parties appeared to offer more tax raising powers and more borrowing rights for Scotland. The three leaders – and Mr Brown – also clearly promised to keep the Barnett formula so Scotland can carry on spending more per head than the rest of the UK. How do these three things gel? What do they mean for English taxpayers?

Under the current dispensation Scotland can raise additional Income Tax by imposing a 3p in the pound surcharge and spend that. It has chosen not to do so. It can borrow an additional £2.2bn for additional capital spending, with permitted annual increments of £240 million.

The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives offered to Scotland control over all its Income Tax. Labour offered control over three quarters of standard rate Income tax. Presumably the grant will be reduced by the amount Income Tax raises in Scotland on the handover of the tax raising power. Presumably this will be projected forward, so if Scotland enjoys a windfall of extra Income Tax or if it changes rates to raise more Income Tax it will benefit from that. Presumably also if Scottish Income Tax falls short of expectations English taxpayers would not have to make good the shortfall in order to fulfil the Barnett pledge – or would England be required to take the risk of tax revenue shortfall? We need clarity on this important detail. From the English viewpoint we would expect Scotland to spend less if it raises less in Income Tax, and would not wish to top up the UK grant to them if their Income tax receipts fell short.

The current borrowing powers allowing up to £2.2 bn extra are in the present public spending and borrowing figures for the UK. If Scotland is to be given wider powers to borrow against its own Income tax revenue this will have a knock on effect on the rest of the UK. Will England have to borrow less if Scotland decides to borrow more? Or will the UK government automatically increase the annual UK borrowing total if Scotland does decide to borrow more?

Meanwhile, the English government will also expect similar powers. We will wish to set and control our own Income tax, and will expect a proportionate borrowing limit for our capital projects.
What are your thoughts on what would be a fair financial settlement for England and Scotland?

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147 Comments

  1. Mr C.J. Timms
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Stand firm on an English Parliament.
    It will be a vote winner and will put Labour on the back foot trying to justify Scottish MPs voting on purely English matters.
    It could be the spark that wins the Election for the Conservatives.
    Support is growing. I am hearing people, who have never been political befor,e getting very heated about this.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re right, an English parliament – hopefully comprising English MPs and not a new body – will be a huge vote winner. The left are fighting a frantic battle to try to Balkanize England with regional assemblies, local mayors etc. I’ve got no problem with new local authority powers if people want them – though the evidence to date doesnt show enthusiasm – but we aren’t going to have an income tax rate for Manchester, or a different health and education service in the East of England. England at a national level needs the same devolution as Scotland.

      Our host raises important points above. It is essential if new powers are devolved to the nations, the economic consequences are not underwritten by the UK taxpayer. Let’s look at federal constitutions such as the US, Canada and Australia, and learn from them.

      • APL
        Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Richard1: “Let’s look at federal constitutions such as the US, Canada and Australia, and learn from them.”

        We could always adopt the original draft of the Constitution of the United States of America, especially as they don’t seem to be using it these days.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      For goodness sakes, don’t let them get away with the balkanisation of England as seems to be furthered by the BBC and Europhile politicians.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Indeed the English do not want yet more parasites, regions, politicians, voter muggers and lawyer they just want their fair say and they do not want to fund everyone else.

        Still thanks to Cameron’s incompetence it will surely be stitched up by Miliband to benefit Labour after May 7th 2015.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          I strongly believe in freedom & devolution of powers. Not however to yet more parasitic regions, bureaucrats and politicians, but right down to the over taxed and over regulated individuals – be they Scottish Welsh, Irish or even English.

        • KH
          Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately Scotland are not going to be able to keep lucrative oil tax revenue which is I expect is why Scotland was “love bombed” by the Westminster trio last week.

          David Cameron has been very lucky but it has worked out very well for him and he tories. Somehow he’s managed to put Gordon Brown centre stage and a focus for the delivery of these “extra powers”. All he has to do is offer something quite flimsy, enough to fool some of the electorate but much less than was promised therefore reneging on devo max which is what Scots want. Scotland will blame Labour and punish them at the ballot box. It’s already looking quite likely as thousands are leaving Scottish labour for their stance during the referendum campaign. The tories have little to lose as they don’t have a presence in Scotland anyway but could demolish Mr Brown and the Scottish Labour vote. Plus Southern English voters will like there tough stance on Scottish powers. Win win for Cameron and his buddies.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      But if that happens, with a totally different ethos to the one we presently have. Cameron’s Tories are scary people.

      Tad

  2. Mark W
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I am very concerned that the Labour narative of devolution to the regions is going to gain traction. It is insulting nonsense to us rural people that will be insignificant next to our regional cities. England is a single unit. English MPs for English matters that are devolved to Scotland (and in fairness Wales and Nortehrn Ireland too).

    We have had two tier MPs since 1999 with Scottish and Welsh MPs not having voting rights on their own domestic so the idea that them having to have days out of Westminster for English sittings is some new two tier thing is utter nonsense.

    If Scotland wants its spend spend spend then it can have its tax tax tax to match. Leave the backs of the English alone and let our MPs elected in one single general election taking one set of remuneration in one building already there take care of us.

  3. Cheshire Girl
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I don’t know enough to answer the question but i know the politicians have promised the earth for a ‘No’ vote. Now they have to deliver. It will be interesting….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      No they do not have to deliver, they were never in a position to make the vow without consent from the English, Welsh and N Irish voters. They can treat the vow with the same contempt they had for voters when they ratted on Cameron’s cast iron lie or Osborne’s the inheritance tax lie.

  4. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The Barnett formula must be ended if more tax raising and borrowing powers are devolved, and frankly even if they are not. The promise to keep it a permanent fixture should not have been made, I do not believe Cameron et al. had the mandate to make such a promise. There can be no fair settlement if this remains.

    No further devolved powers of any kind should be granted in any event until a settlement of English issues remain. The VOW was illegitimate, where was the mandate from the people of England, the people who will pay for it?

    That is how the negotiations should start, and there should be no Scottish members on the English side of the negotiations.

    And we need to settle the influence of the Scottish Claim of Right. If any of them are to be involved then an English Claim of Right must be created and signed by the English first. We can’t have scots involved who put Scotland ‘above all’, that is above the Union, and no equivalent English patriots. The British Establishment cannot be trusted to deliver for England.

  5. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    A compulsory Scots-specific Office of Budget Responsibility as a non-negotiable factor within the devolvement package?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      The 5 Million people of Scotland have spoken and the three party leaders have run about promising their love & other peoples’ money to them. Now what about the voices of the 59 Million + and rapidly rising others in the UK?

      Cameron did not say much this morning to them.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I thought he was quite clear – the west lothian question must be solved. I heard Mr Hague on the radio saying – quite correctly – that there would be an attempt to get cross party agreement but if there isn’t it will become an election issue. That would be excellent as if Cameron stocks to his guns it will be a massive vote winner and might swing the election in spite of Labour’s rotten boroughs in Wales and elsewhere.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Saying something “must be solved” is just politicians vacuous drivel – what is their proposed solution.

          “We need a wider public debate” is yet more politicians vacuous drivel what we need is some sensible proposals and some real action.

    • Hope
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Lord Tebbit and Nigel Farage appear to have the best answers. As normal, what on earth is Cameron thinking when he thinks a committee led by Hague will suffice! This is the constitution of our country, what next, have a focus group! The magnitude of his ineptitude for the job of PM speaks volumes on such an issue. His lack of negotiating ability should send shivers down the spine of everyone in this country and your party when it comes to the EU, as we can now tell from events of the Scottish independence debate.

    • Will
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Let’s have another try at this-
      “Of course that settlement has to be fair to England as well as to Scotland.”
      Devolving powers to the regions (England is a region) surely any settlement needs to be fair to all regions of the UK. We all agree that the Barnett formula is outdated.

      The lack of a statutory basis for the formula troubles me. Current devolution legislation should NOT be based on the good will of the Westminster Parliament, as this infringes the rights of our devolved regions (including England).

      By protecting the favourable spending position of Scotland, the Barnett formula steadily erodes Scotland’s advantage: if a 4% increase is needed in expenditure to cover inflation, Scotland will get an increase of only 3% of its total budget, whereas England will get the full 4% (proportional to population share) after inflation, that would mean a 1% budget reduction for the Scottish Government.

      Perhaps it’s time a policy is created for spending convergence between the regions, as our London centric UK government is causing financial imbalance in our largest region- England.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Why do I feel that this is another Lisbon Treaty moment?

    We were all going to be given a chance to vote on acceptance of that Treaty, and it didn’t happen, basically because of political connivance and wriggling between the three main political parties. Then it was the Tories out of power, promising things which they couldn’t or didn’t deliver later. This time it is Labour out of power, promising settlements for Scotland which they can’t or won’t deliver on later. They will of course blame the fact that the Tories set the trap door with promises for England before they were thrown out of office. Just as the Tories used it as a convenient excuse with Lisbon.

    Either way what is needed is a Westminster Parliament which is subject to the final will of Scottish/Welsh/English parliaments, and that means Westminster giving power away substantially and quickly to separate national Parliaments. If this was contained within the promise given by Cameron today, which was somewhat oblique as usual, then it probably won’t happen.

    • Bob
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      ” They will of course blame the fact that the Tories set the trap door with promises for England before they were thrown out of office. Just as the Tories used it as a convenient excuse with Lisbon.”

      The penny has dropped.

  7. Caterpillar
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    It will be easy for debate, on the admittedly important, “financial settlement”, along with referring to an “English government” to accidently lead to an inadequate constitutional response. [A move from four decades of head in the sand w.r.t. the West Loathian question, to a looking the other way response].
    There are (at least) three important characteristics of the existing devolved assemblies:
    1) A place for identity
    2) Unicameral
    3) Electoral systems that, in one way or another, are more proportional than the FPP General Election system
    And a fourth that is arguably important
    4) Size of the constituencies
    These characteristics all need to be considered and debated when the Leader of the House of Commons offers draft legislation in response to the Prime Minister’s statement “the millions of voices of England must be heard”. A simple English MPs voting on English matters response will not be sufficiently symmetrical.

  8. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    What we have just witnessed is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of this Country.

    The question on the ballot paper was “Do you think Scotland should be an Independent Country?, and it was that question which drove the romantic and emotional dreams of the Yes voters, and it was that that they voted for.

    But Independence wasn’t on offer; sharing the pound and being subject to the Bank of England, joining the EU, sharing most of the bureaucratic infrastructure of the tax and spend state, all this was the diametric opposite of what the Yes supporters thought they were actually voting for.

    The Electoral commission should have insisted on a question which reflected the reality of what was on offer, and not allowed Salmond to offer his electorate a downright lie.

    Then we come to the Unionist brigade. Brown is a Scottish MP and Cameron should have put the case for the English, not acquiesced in Brown’s desire to perpetuate the domination of England by Scottish Labour, and get as much money for Scotland as he possibly could.

    Then we come to the circumvention of Parliament, the destruction of democracy and the sheer incompetent stupidity embodied in the making of the vow. This vow, if you read it, gives Scotland control of the spending in the whole of the NHS, not just the NHS in Scotland, and as soon as the signatories start to complain that they didn’t actually mean that, the whole of the rest of the documents becomes worthless too.

    What has happened is a disgrace to democracy, and a contempt of Parliament and Parliament should have no truck with it whatsoever.

    Next, we have the MidLothian question, which Cameron seems not to be going to do anything about other than offering some kind of regional Parliaments which nobody wants. I presume, that unlike the Scots, the English will have this rammed down their throats without any say in the matter.

    There is only one spending solution which is acceptable to a United Kingdom and that is equal treatment of all its constituent parts. There is only one democratic solution suitable for a United Kingdom and that is equal treatment of all its constituent parts. I don’t see any need for separate MPs for a UK and an English Parliament so “English only” sessions at Westminster is an ideal solution, particularly as it chimes with a long history and tradition.

    Unless our politicians fully grasp what I have said, they will be kicked out of office, England has had enough betrayal from it’s governing classes.

    If this doesn’t happen peacefully, there are other ways to do it, and whilst I am sure that everyone will join me in being determined to avoid that outcome, be certain that it may come to that if England is ignored.

  9. outsider
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    First, if such a critical tax as income tax is devolved to Scotland, it would be necessary to hypothecate taxes. Revenue from Welsh and English income tax must not be used to finance Scotland or Union-wide spending such as defence and foreign aid.
    Second, I am outraged that such offers should be made without reference to Parliament, let alone the people of the United Kingdom. As you point out, devolving income tax raises a host of complexities and arguments.
    Third, it would make much more economic sense to devolve corporation tax (which could be used to accelerate economic growth across the border and to encourage Scottish-registered UK businesses to stay or locate there), alcohol and tobacco duties (on which many Scots have strong views and an economic interest) and perhaps the property stamp duty, which could also be bent to Scottish requirements. Devolving corporation tax has the additional advantage that it could equally be devolved to Northern Ireland, where it is a particular bone of contention, and also to Wales if the Welsh political establishment wants it.
    Fourth, if income tax were devolved, we should definitely need an English Parliament, about which I am otherwise dubious.

  10. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    There will be many English, like myself, who are regretting that Scotland didn’t vote for independence. Just like all those people waving posters in Scotland demanding an end to Tory rule, I want to see an end to Scottish (and Welsh) Labour rule in England.
    To me, the solution is an arrangement similar to that in the US, where this country would comprise four states, each having identical powers with Westminster having control over Defence, Foreign affairs, Trade and any other issues which need to be common to all four parts.
    I believe the only reason such a large diverse country as the US stays together is because the individual states have so much independence (more than we have from the EU !) with the result that most citizens are more interested in State politics than national politics. Similarly, the Germans have a federal government with strong State governments, and the Swiss also have a somewhat similar system. The fact that these countries hold together convinces me that this type of government is the only way forward especially as all those counties with a central government and very little regional input such as Spain & Italy are facing devolution problems.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Well would be a fair settlement is not really relevant the English will not get something that is fair, this is politics after all. The question is what can be achieved given that Cameron threw the last election away and is only a few months from throwing the next one at this rate. It is really up to Clegg’s Libdems what will happen and they do not even believe in fair constituency boundaries.

    Cameron was offered a huge open goal by Brown and blew it by ratting on his cast iron promise, his green crap, lefty high tax big government agenda and allowing Clegg on the TV debates. Later by ratting further on IHT and countless other things.

    He can save things now just about but she shows no sign of wanting to do so and anyway Clegg will surely frustrate any attempts he makes. Cameron is still not even making the right noises. Let us hope the devastation of the Tories in Clacton will finally wake him up.

    Miliband will surely just stitch England up after the election anyway.

  12. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to Scotland (/UK) on such a democratic process.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      A pointless waste of money that achieved nothing at all and incubated pointless divisions.

  13. MagicAldo
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    To illustrate the issue, consider the tuition fee outrage – that Scottish kids can go to university for free, whilst English kids can’t.

    We need to have solution where there is clear English voice that has some leverage over the financial flows to Scotland, so that the Scots can only have this “benefit” if they choose to pay for it themselves.

    EVEL does not give England that leverage. Only a separate institution with separate leadership and separate powers can deliver it.

    Put another way, we need a First Minister for England to negotiate with the First Minister for Scotland. The British PM is an obstacle to that negotiation.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is an obstacle to almost everything sensible.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I have previously posted that I do not see how retention of the Barnett formula is consistent with equitable distribution of resouces across the UK – as expressed in the “Vow”.

    It seems to me it is necessary to hit the reset button when deciding the tax raising, borrowing and spending powers that are to be devolved. I am unclear how this will fit in with control of the deficit and the national debt – clearly there needs to be a UK wide acceptance of such control, otherwise the national finances will continue to spiral out of control. Beyond that, what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      The Vow needs to be approved/ratified by the rest of the UK voters. Cameron and Brown were not in a position to make any such vow so it can simply be ignored. Cameron ignores all the other promises he makes after all.

  15. Know-Dice
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Good questions…especially

    “Presumably also if Scottish Income Tax falls short of expectations English taxpayers would not have to make good the shortfall in order to fulfil the Barnett pledge – or would England be required to take the risk of tax revenue shortfall?”

    Clearly the SNP were not going to put up Scottish income tax in the run up to the referendum and whatever settlement the UK government decides now needs to ensure that the Scots don’t take the rest of the UK for a free ride.

    Barnett needs to be looked at and adjusted to be equitable to all of the UK, inconsistencies like university tuition fees for English students in Scotland needs to be desperately sorted out.

    As Dennis Cooper has suggested previously were the “vows” offered to the Scottish voters in the closing days of the referendum campaign legal or could they affect the outcome of the referendum?

    Finally, I don’t want an English Parliament all I want to see is English MPs voting on English matters. No regional devolution, no extra layers of bureaucracy, no extra governmental costs…

    • Liz
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      You could still have a Scottish MP/Welsh MP Minister in charge of a Ministry drawing up laws entirely devoted to English affairs -i.e. Education if it was just a matter of voting and a Labour Government would surely love to do just that
      in fact I think they have form there. Devolution for England would need to be more comprehensive than that .

  16. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I suggest you form a group and go into the no lobby at the next vote on an English matter and you physically stop Scottish MPs from voting.

  17. formula57
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Not in my name did “The three leaders – and Mr Brown – also clearly promised to keep the Barnett formula so Scotland can carry on spending more per head than the rest of the UK”. Continuation of the Barnett allocation is unacceptable and hence some provision that only sees that grant adjusted to take account of income tax levied by the Scottish parliament is inappropriate.

    Just as that disgraceful bribe of a Vow made the disingenuous promise that Scotland could spend what it likes on the NHS locally provided always it raises enough tax locally to meet the expense, so if Scotland wants free health care prescriptions, free university tuition, free old age care, it must learn to pay for those things itself and not look to others, outrageously denied such benefits, to meet the bill.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the vow can be ignored. A vow by Gordon Brown has now more significance or validity than one made by my daughter’s teddy bear. Clearly the Scottish voters must have know this when they voted. He was in no position to promise anything at all, it can be ignored completely. The Scots can complain directly to Mr G Brown c/o the Palace of Westminster should they wish.

  18. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Very simple. All tax into a pot. Scotland, England, Ireland, NI all get the same amount of money per head.

    Equality on spending.

    For a transition, any current spending is frozen if its above. The surplus is given to the areas that currently receive below average spending until its all level.

  19. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The “No” result has now heralded a massive follow up that has to be dealt with in a very short period of time . You have already flagged up the case for England deciding for England ; the Welsh and Northern Irish have also made similar statements . The courage and integrity of MPs is about to be tested to the full and every voter will be looking very carefully at what happens and how they are protected and properly represented . England is in danger of coming out of this mess badly because it is at the very centre and is the most populous . Scotland – having started the ball rolling and being made promises , cannot and must not obtain any disproportionate outcome ; the Barnett formula , taxation , welfare and other benefits that ultimately apply to them must apply to all citizens of the UK in an equal and fair manner and our MPs have to ensure this . How the MPs are allowed to achieve this is at the very heart of the matter ; not only are they challenged they must have the courage to resist Party influences and bias . I have always admired the intelligence and veracity of your blogs and of the way you have stood your ground in the House ; you are now faced with the toughest condition of your Political career and I wish you well in your coming days .

  20. David Price
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Democracy wins again and now the haggling begins. The yes vote was a significant proportion so the party leaders will have to follow through on their unforced “vow”. The question is though will they lose the victory, will they keep pandering to the squeaky wheel at the northern end of the island while ignoring the needs and demands of everyone else, a population ten times the size of the squeaky wheel, who have to pay the cost of Scotlands aggressive self interest which already ensures they get a bigger slice of the pie.

    BTW I wasn’t aware there was an English government – yet. There is a British government though and on a BBC programme this morning, Danny Alexander, a representative of the British government, declared that “we” made promises to Scotland and he would do his utmost for Scotland. At the same time he belittled the impact on the rest of the UK and our concerns for proper representation.

    I don’t want to have to cover more spending and borrowing by the Scots, if we must subsidise then there are areas in England and the rest of the UK that need help.

  21. Bryan
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    It is fair that they spend what they raise in income tax with no top-up from the rest of the UK taxpayers.

    The Barnett formula has to go. If the financial powerhouse of the South of England needs less from the Exchequer than it generates then the ‘surplus’ should go to the less well off areas of England before it wends its way further north, and, before that to give a better deal for our elderly who need care and attention and who should not have to pay for it.

    England will not get the right deal from our politicians as long as Scottish Labour MP’s can vote on purely English legislation, a situation confirmed again by Mr Milliband as their policy.

    Plus ca change…….

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Allowing Scotland to borrow money on their own account sounds like a dangerous idea – inevitably it will be underwritten by the whole of the UK and will affect UK (and English) interest rates if they get into trouble. In any event the power to borrow should come with the requirement for them to pay their own share of the national debt.

  23. Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Clearly a conversation has been started. But to be useful it needs to also include a conversation on reversing all devolution, returning us to one country (with notable regions), one electorate, all citizens equal in all ways, all votes pari-passu. Such a conversation would no doubt be very short but it would nonetheless highlight the incompatibility of some having two votes and legislative capability, and England alone, one vote and such influence as it is allowed, confined to perhaps devolved competing, cities and regions.

    This is a recipe for ensuring the status quo with each city/region seeking to divide and rule, while the devolved parliaments continue hold control of the political agenda (all too often how England will pay for enhanced benefits for the few).

    An ideal outcome if we all want the EU to be our de facto government!

  24. Chris Rose
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    This scheme is going to be difficult for us to manage at first; we are going to have to learn new ways of working together.

    On the capital side, if Scotland has a Labour government which is keen to go on a spending spree, whilst England has a Conservative government elected to reduce the national debt, the two are going to come to blows. The UK government will have to have tight control of capital expenditure and borrowing by the national parliaments. I am not familiar with precisely how the Germans do these things, but the Bavarians cannot just spend as they please; they are controlled by Berlin.

    As for current income, if Scotland has tax raising powers and borrowing powers, it has all it needs. It can manage its current expenditure to its income and use borrowing to handle fluctuations.

    Whatever may have been promised, the Barnett formula will have to be phased out. It was a crude, temporary measure, which has lasted far beyond its time, as Joel Barnett himself has said.

    Meanwhile, I notice the SNP are now saying they lost because the Brown Vow shot their fox. They would; but it didn’t.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      A Brown vow is clearly worth nothing, as he was/is simply not in a positions to make any such vows. If the Scottish fell for it then tough, they were being very foolish and gullible.

  25. Bill
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Very glad you have asked these questions. I don’t know enough about all this apart from to say that the principle of fairness must be observed. We cannot end up with a position where Scotland’s gain impoverishes other parts of the UK. That would cause huge resentment. If we are truly ‘better together’ then we ought to be able to attain a win-win condition where everyone gains…at least I hope so.

  26. Mike
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Is this not just about Income Tax John but also about oil revenues and tax receipts, council tax powers, varying levels of Corporation Tax, VAT, CGT , IHT. in fact the whole plethora of taxes that go into the mix, where does it stop?
    Although as an Englander (and a Wokingham one), I’m all for an equal share of devo-whatever, this could all get very messy if each “country” in the UK starts competing with differing levels of tax to suit their differing spending plans then fails to deliver a balanced performance against their plans each year.
    If nothing else this could now ignite the GE campaigns for each party and that would be a good thing if it brings a lot more voters out.

  27. Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    First can I say, Phew! We’ve dodged a bullet. If the result had gone the other way we would now be embarking on the biggest scrap imaginable as the countries were divided. And all those big questions about currency and the EU and borders can be quietly forgotten now.

    On the actual subject of the post; I don’t think the circle can be squared: you cannot be fair to the English and give the Scots all the good things they have been promised, because let’s face it, English tax-payers are down to finance the Scottish package (just like they bankroll NI and Wales for that matter.)

    However it should be possible however to stop Scottish MPs voting on English matters in Westminster. They will wriggle hard and claim just about everything has a “Scottish impact” but we need to get them out. I understand Nigel Farage will be writing to all 59 of them today to ask for a pledge that they will not vote on English matters; a pledge they cannot individually give since the whip must be considered.

    Henceforth UKIP will be capitalising on English discontent.

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The way Cameron set up this referendum without even consulting the English, Welsh or N Irish and his desperate last minute promises, that he had no power (nor authority of the people to deliver) was a complete disgrace.

    His foolish decision to allow 16 year old children to vote and his failure to consider properly what would happen following either outcome were also big mistakes.

    At least the man he has appointed to over see the new powers in Scotland seems a rather better choice than most of the token gender/religion lefty pro EU type appointments we have grown uses to.

    He is alas all we have, but he could still win in May, but not single sign, as yet, that he even wants to try to win.

    England can rescue him if he can actually get something out of the wrong on every issue Libdems that he saddled us with. Perhaps he will have to promise them some more useless windmills or something equally daft?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic–I have been thinking about windmills and wonder if they would be more acceptable, at least visually, if there were four sails so that they look more like the real thing. The present design jars and looks monstrous to me. This is wholly independent of whether the wretched things work or not.

  29. Chris S
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I do not pretend to have in depth knowledge of the Barnett Formula but one thing is certain, the pledge given by the three stooges last week was a big mistake.

    It will have to be honoured in some way but in the interest of fairness to the other three nations, and especially England, which inevitably subsidises all three, it can be done away with by devolving more tax and spending powers. After all, if Scotland is given control of all personal taxes raised and all spending on matters relating to the person, the problem can be made to go away.

    Infrastructure spending that will remain will often have an EU contribution while we remain a member so the EU can be made to pay for some of Scotland’s largess.

    After DCs statement this morning I posted a comment under the England Arise thread but would like to restate here that, while encouraging to hear, Backbench MPs will have to be very firm in ensuring that the Haig committee delivers the policy of English votes on English matters in a clear and unambiguous way as we would understand it to mean.

    It will also have to be delivered, as DC stated, at exactly the same time as further powers are delivered to Scotland.

    Absolutely nothing less will suffice.

    This is a great bear trap laid for Labour :

    Miliband can either go along with a policy that may well leave him unable to govern England or he can back himself into a corner at the GE by offering less devolution to Scotland than the Conservatives and the equally unattractive policy to English voters of refusing to allow English votes on English matters.

    The latter situation would play directly into the hands of UKIP and the Conservatives.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      It does not have to be honour at all. Cameron can rat on Cast Iron and IHT so he can rat on that too. He was not in a position to promise anything without the will of the people – he will be out of power very soon indeed anyway at this rate.

  30. Old Albion
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Cameron and the rest panicked and have offered Scotland everything but Independence. No doubt the English will be forced to fund further largesse.
    An English parliament within a new UK federation, is the only answer.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “Meanwhile, the English government will also expect similar powers”

    There is no “English government”.

    There should be, and it should be accountable to an English Parliament, but there isn’t – there are just ministers in the UK government with special responsibility for different aspects of English affairs.

    If you think there is an English government, then who is leading it? That wouldn’t be the same person who is the Prime Minister of the UK as a whole, would it? So what would happen if a majority of the Westminster MPs elected just in England wanted person X as the First Minister for England, but a majority of the MPs elected across the whole of the UK wanted somebody different as Prime Minister of the UK?

    Why is the relatively straightforward system of devolution which has been granted to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with separate and separately elected devolved assemblies and governments, seen as being so unsuitable for England that apparently no Westminster politician is prepared to even contemplate it?

    Looking at federal systems around the world, are there any instances where all of the states (or provinces, or other subordinate units) have their own assemblies made up of representatives who are elected just for that role and who are not also members of the overarching federal assembly, apart from one state where the citizens elect the same representatives to serve in both the federal assembly and the state assembly?

    • David Price
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      “Why is the relatively straightforward system of devolution which has been granted to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with separate and separately elected devolved assemblies and governments, seen as being so unsuitable for England that apparently no Westminster politician is prepared to even contemplate it? “

      This bears repeating repeatedly, whatever answer is conjured up the first step must be to answer that question. It would appear to be simple to arrange a quick enlargement of Scotland’s powers but England is a different case entirely?

  32. Antisthenes
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Labour is already decrying English only MPs to vote on English matters in the H of C if that does not prove that they put self before democracy and fair play then I do not know what does. This Scottish referendum has at least highlighted the total unfairness that devolution has brought about and the damaging consequences of devolving so much power in the first place. But then when governed by lefty progressives as the UK is far too often then it is a given their will be many nasty consequences because of it.

    Labour having made a complete shambles of UK democracy and governance systems and no way of turning the clock back a totally new system of UK governance now has to be designed and constructed. Probably England seceding from the rest of the UK (bonus bye bye EU) would be the best solution so letting the rest get on with their building of their bound to fail brands of socialism, nationalism and sectarianisms. Alas that happy prospect is of course not going to happen. The rest of the UK (or the EU) will not countenance it and will hang onto England for dear life so as to milk them now to pay for their current lavish spending governments and to bail them out later when their lavishness proves unsustainable and they go bust. At the same time keeping England shackled by forcing non English MPs on them so as to make English government in their image and just as wasteful, inefficient, incompetent and unsustainable.

    Nobody is leaving so a federal system is now the only answer. Everyone has their own parliament with full tax etc powers and a federal parliament where security, foreign policy(perhaps no need EU now decides) and a common budget for such things and of course how much from that budget will go into the national begging bowls not an English one of course.

  33. Vanessa
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    And kick out all the Scottish MPs and Lords so the English Parliament is REALLY an English Parliament. They all have their own devolved assemblies and parliament now so they should not be able to influence anything in our Parliament.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      Vanessa–You have a very funny idea of what the Westminster Parliament is. Physical location apart, one thing it is not is English

  34. ian wragg
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It’s a shame they voted NO. They should be given control over their own tax raising powers and be charged for communal defence etc.
    I see CMD is already seeing how he can short change the English and no doubt he will come to the (EU) conclusion that England should be split into 9 devolved regions, enthusiastically egged on by the 2 other idiots.
    We must resist all attempts to balkanise England and hope Nigel capitalises on the current unrest.
    I bet CMD is so relieved he thinks he’s conned the Scots with his mate Broon.he can now concentrate on losing the GE.

  35. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Whatever happens next – England expects you Johnny – to do your bit – to defend it and put it on at least a par with the other UKGBNI constituent countries.
    Do not let your ‘leader’ – Cameo – pull the wool over your or our eyes – in the name of a United Kingdom.

    Time for the English ‘dog’ to ‘bark’ – having had its tail wagged for too long by the Celtic fringe.

  36. bluedog
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Clarity of thought is required. Talking about money without having an equitable constitutional settlement is going to lead to an inequitable financial settlement.

    An important first step is to tell Cameron to shut up.

    His concessions to Salmond over the referendum brought the UK to the brink of collapse, and it was no thanks to him that the No vote prevailed. Every utterance one now reads coming from DC confirms that he continues to think tactically and is lurching from one band aid solution to the next. Farage has made a sensible suggestion, convene a constitutional convention and allow some of the better minds to come up with ideas.

    Here’s mine: appoint David Steel to head the convention and use his 2005 report as a working draft.

    • David Price
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Are you refering to the Steel Commission proposals on HoL reform into a senate?

      If you are I agree a key aspect of this is not the detailed financial aspect but how those who spend and borrow public funds are held accountable to their taxpayers. If the sustainability of the political union is based in part on a transfer union then there has to be a workable sustainable process at the UK level which should be the responsibility of the upper house.

  37. outsider
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, If Scotland is to have much greater borrowing powers, it is vital that there is specifically no UK guarantee. It is also vital that English, Welsh and Northern Irish income tax is not used to finance the UK National Debt.
    But there is a way that Scottish borrowing can be given a helping hand and be used for the benefit of the whole country, essentially by handing over most of National Savings & Investments to the Scottish Government.
    The UK Government plainly has limited interest in National Savings, for a variety of reasons. It is forecast to raise £13 billion of the £145 billion net financing requirement in the current financial year (though it only managed £3.7 billion in 2013-14).
    The main NS&I centre appears to be in Glasgow, so all the machinery is already there. The Scots are traditionally great savers and there would be less EU restriction on National Savings if it were Scottish National Savings. So Scotland should be able to raise more than the UK Government does (not least from people South of the Wall.
    I would suggest that the UK keeps Premium Bonds but that otherwise all new National Savings is devolved to Scotland as its own, possibly unique, form of funding.

  38. Atlas
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    John, it is simple: No extra money or power under Devo-Max without FIRST eliminating the West Lothian Question to the satisfaction of the English. Cameron simply has no electoral mandate for his offer, so he had better get one first.

  39. agricola
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    It is almost impossible to comment on the minutia of the financial arrangements for Scotland before or after the referendum. I can only comment after the event in principal.

    In deciding what to do in England after the No vote in Scotland, I foresee a major problem. It is easy enough to ensure that only English MPs vote on English matters in the H o C. If it is a UK Parliament with majority party ministers I can see it being repeatedly defeated on English matters because in England it could well be in a minority. This would seem to me to be a formula for chaos.

    Much better if the H o C comprises MPs from England only and that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no Westminster MPs. When matters pertaining to the whole of the UK are discussed then MPs from Scottish, Welsh and NI parliaments can be invited to attend debate and vote. I see such matters as Defence, Foreign Policy, and the EU. with any mutually agreed additions. As the ministers in these areas would be carrying out policy agreed by all the separate parts of the UK they could be considered to represent the UK. There would need to be re-organisation within the civil service ministries responsible for UK wide matters.

    I see no logical reason why Wales and NI should have anything less in terms of devolved powers than Scotland might get.

    It would also be necessary to ensure constituency balance in terms of the number of people any MP represented.

    As things stand at the moment the socialists are not going to like such an arrangement because they would loose any chance of control in the English Parliament. For socialism it is an opportunity to show us, by their command of Scotland and Wales, just how competent they are.

  40. Mark Cannon
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I am glad to see that you are talking about an English government and not just excluding MPs who sit for Scottish (and Welsh and Northern Irish) seats from voting on matters which are devolved to their respective countries.

    There would have to be a UK government with tax-raising powers to cover defence, border security, foreign affairs etc. And to provide an element of means-assessed distribution from better off parts of the UK (i.e. England) to the less well off. The absence of such transfers is, of course, exactly what we say is wrong with the Eurozone. So the Barnett formula (probably re-calculated to take account of the current position and to be re-calculated at regular intervals) would remain.

    The key things are (i) an English government with equal powers to the Scottish government (and so, similar devolution to Wales and NI) and (ii) maintaining the Union (which means honouring the promises recently made by the leaders of the 3 largest parties at Westminster).

  41. Colin Hart
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Whatever we end up with will need to be so wreathed in smoke and endlessly reflected in mirrors that it will be impossible to judge its fairness.

  42. Oliver Baldock
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    No more black-box formulas please. If Lord Barnett himself says that his handy work is not fit for purpose then perhaps we should listen. Could we just start again, with a more federal system – including an English Parliament – which makes it plainly clear to every home nation who’s raising the money and who’s spending it.

  43. Tad Davison
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    This is where it all gets interesting and I bet, divisive. The SNP will press hard for everything so rashly promised, and listening to Mr Salmond this morning, it’s clear he will never give up on independence. Not to get the things that fantastically honest Mr Brown (amongst others) promised, will give the Scottish First Minister every opportunity to claim the Scottish people have been stitched up. We should now prepare for a lot of upheaval and strife, especially if it is now shown that there are far more oil reserves than others have suggested.

    As for England, we English now have a massive opportunity to get some fairness and equality. Best then, we take full advantage of it. And I think Frank Field made an interesting case this morning for Labour to show it’s commitment to England, so long derided and diminished by the left.

    Interesting times indeed, and we’re just beginning to see how fluid politics have now become, pretty much as some of us predicted.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  44. NickW
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I have already said elsewhere that in a properly United Kingdom the only equitable democratic and financial solution is equal treatment of all the constituent parts.

    What Scotland has been promised is borrowed money because we are running a huge budget deficit, and we have to remember that.

    Sooner or later we are going to have to address that deficit and that makes it vital that if spending has to be reduced, the burden should be equally shared. We cannot have a solution which gives Scotland spending guarantees thereby placing all the pain of spending cuts on England alone.

  45. Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I think we can presume that the relationship of the union is moving much closer to what the Euro area should be. Within strictly controlled limits there is therefore an argument that we should allow for compensatory fiscal transfers to be made from England to Scotland. Some restricted use of the Barnett formula could help this. I am not sure I agree with this economists argument, but in a shared currency area in a nation you have to allow for transfers from surplus to deficit areas as there between states in the US. If you don’t accept this argument then it is the equivalent on the torture faced by Southern Europe.
    You can argue that fiscal transfers are only occurring because they are allowed to spend more on free elderly health care etc but over the medium term with demographics the “cost” of Scotland will increase in any case. This is the English cost to maintaining the union.

  46. DaveM
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’m still slightly confused – I know that other powers will be devolved further to Holyrood, and it seems from the PM’s speech that there will be other major changes to the British constitution (kick and claw your way to the front JR!!!), but I am sure the question on the ballot paper was “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, not “should Scotland be essentially an independent country free to raise tax and spend what it wants then ask good old England to underwrite and bail out when it goes wrong?”

    So ultimately, the only truly fair solution would be to have total parity across all 4 home nations with regards to tax raising and borrowing, with a percentage of each country’s income going to the UK Government to fund whichever departments are left as solely UK departments, and for the UK government to borrow as required on a separate account, so to speak. Which – inevitably – brings us back to the fact that without an English Parliament for English internal affairs Scotland will enjoy relative fiscal and financial freedom with a guarantee of English/UK support (when it falls down).

  47. M Davis
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Constitutional Convention, please, ASAP.

  48. lojolondon
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    John, you are right to ask these questions, that should really all have been answered before the vote. What is never acceptable is that a Conservative government is overseeing an increase of the subsidy that flows from English taxpayers to Scottish taxpayers in what is frankly, a bribe from the Labour Government to their most loyal supporters.
    This is not fair, it is not sensible, and it can really be tolerated no longer. Unfortunately, in the panic to save the union, all sorts of promises were made that now need to be kept or face ongoing criticism of another broken promise to the electorate.
    Personally, I am for once delighted to hear the PM’s comments this morning, I only hope that he will carry through and empower the Conservatives in England so we can start to regain the country we wanted when voting Conservative.

  49. Terry
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    All very valid questions and sound argument. All from a voice of experience.

    Alas, the signatories to the “Vow” have no such knowledge nor experience, so it is anybody’s guess on what they had in mind when they made their unprecedented joint pledge. All without the agreement of the English, Welsh and N Irish citizens the co-partners within the UK, of course. And without any thought of how it was to work in practice. This is Blairism at its arrogant worse.

    To thus conclude their personal dark underlying reasons for the capitulation is irresistible.
    Cameron, to prevent a massive loss of face here and to lose his standing on the International stage – his favourite scene.
    Milliband, to ensure that the Labour party were not shut out of Westminster Government for decades and Clegg for very similar reasons.

    None of them have considered the repercussions of the declarations and none of them deserve our support.

    Why should the remainder of the United Kingdom have to deny their own citizens special NHS and educational facilities, in order that they be provided free for the Scots? A country that already spends more than it earns is now apparently gaining more just because of these three self-interested men. That is NOT democracy in action, it is abhorrent.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      This is Blairism at its arrogant worse.

      Or, “Leading beyond authority” ?

      As Nick said at the start of the coalition in 2010; “We have a Common Purpose”.

  50. botogol
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    the promises made to Scotland seem to be a mess, it seems that they can reduce taxes in Scotland, and rely on the English tax payer to maintain spending levels.

    it’s very incoherent. It’s a shame that constitutional change is always a fudge.

    what a can of worms we have opeend,.

  51. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I have just watched Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Daily Politics give Michael Fallon a good and well deserved drubbing over the Scottish and English issues.

    Michael Fallon’s evasions and double talk responses show perfectly that the people of England cannot trust the British Establishment, and we will need to keep fighting our enemies within.

  52. Adrian Sells
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    No wonder the Scots voted “No” – they appear to have been offered a massive bribe. However, the rest of the Union will not agree to anything that is patently unfair. We have a mess which will prove incredibly difficult to unravel and which is already becoming a political battle-field between the parties, who will all seek to gain strategic electoral advantage from the outcome.
    This is the legacy of the constitutional vandalism of the Blair government: they embarked on reform of the House of Lords with no idea of what they intended to put in its place and plunged into devolution which has led inexorably to the current situation and the stresses within the Kingdom. Nothing Labour did during office was of quite such long-term significance as this ill-thought-out constitutional butchery.

  53. They Work for Us?
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    An equitable deal for England cannot be for devolved assemblies to have more to spend per head subsidised by us. A starting point should be equal spending per head throughout. We should in any case be looking to reduce the spend per head for all of us to produce smaller govt and less outlay on welfare.
    No one has ever answered my question as to why English MPs agreed to tuition fees for us when devolved assemblies elected not to have them. As previously said – what is that it is so good in England that it compensates for high taxation, tuition fees, prescription charges etc – you get the drift.
    I have little confidence in Hague and Cameron to stand up for England so that English MPs control English Finances. Hague is the last person I would have chosen for this. Expect to see creeping, weasel like proposals to give power to English Cities and EU regions. As “The Who” once sang, “We won’t be fooled again”. Cameron can easily lose the election. The Scottish “No” is a very temporary breathing space.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      I understand the argument that it can be more expensive to provide services in a sparely populated area, and that applies much more to Scotland, Wales and also Northern Ireland than it does to England. How much extra should be allowed for that is another matter.

  54. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    And now I’ve heard Bernard Jenkin MP.

    I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help thinking that I, and others who have been banging away here for England for so long, deserve to pat each other on the back. I’m sure we have made a difference. We didn’t hear this before. Thanks in particular to Mr Redwood and for his platform and to the others who have been reading, but we must remain firm and vigilant. We must not rest.

  55. A different Simon
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m relieved they voted NO but I’m not doing the hokey cokey .

    If they had voted YES I would have felt worse but at least would have had the satisfaction of knowing that Cameron would have had to resign and the G.E. brought forward .

    That is not to say that his replacements will be any better .

    Of course there are Scottish specific elements to this but it is a mistake to think that dissatisfaction with Westminster Govt is not widespread in England .

    We still have to listen to (and pay for) the BBC spouting forth treasonous propaganda .

    If flick over to the other channels are bombarded by the distasteful spectacle of watching 1,999% APR loans being pushed on prey who are at their absolute wits end .

    Isn’t it the responsibility of the Govt to protect the desperately vulnerable for predators ? Why aren’t you doing so ?

    The majority of people have no prospect of paying for their accommodation and making provision to retire . They have no prospects .

    People actually started to appreciate this and stopped breeding and what happened – the Govt took it upon itself to keep population growth going so that the ponzi didn’t collapse .

    You can’t have a Govt and a political system which only works for 10% of the population and makes life misery for the other 90% .

    It is going to end in tears or to put it in Cameron speak is “unsustainable” .

  56. Tad Davison
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The Daily Politics show says Gordon Brown is to give a big speech tomorrow. It seems like he’s back! I only wish I knew in advance what he’s likely to say, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s paving the way for some means to extend his power.

    There are numerous historic parallels where bad people have been given another chance to wreck everything all over again. The ‘No’ campaign must have been desperate for them to even entertain the use of his dubious services which always seem to have a hidden agenda and an underlying motive. Were they really drowning men clutching at straws?

    If ever a man got politicians and politics a bad name, it is Brown. Mark my words and watch this space. I intend to focus upon it in the weeks to come.

    Tad

  57. Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Quoting an interesting comment from a Canadian on the NYT website:
    “A template for the future of the UK exists, and it was invented by the British themselves. It’s called Canada.

    Take the British North America Act of 1867, which created the federal structure of Canada, and do a “find and replace” in any text editor, changing the names of the 4 original Canadian provinces to those of the 4 home countries. The act (and subsequent additions) is pretty clear in terms of the separation of powers, and the provinces get most of the ones that they care about, including taxation.”

  58. Mark B
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    You seem to be moving away from the political and constitutional aspects of this. Why ?

    To me, a fair settlement includes a Parliament all of our own, and no Scottish, Welsh or Irish representation.

    What good is it, in having your own ability to raise and lower taxes, when a Chancellor elected by one of the other Home Nations, would not wish to lower taxes in England and thereby threaten both his seat and, his parties chances of remaining in office.

    The other parts of the UK, tend to be more on the Left on socioeconomic matters. More goodies and freebies, usually at English taxpayer expense.

    All Home Nations should be in control of not only their local economies but, the laws that are made there. Currently, not withstanding the EU dimension, England is seriously disadvantaged. This is NOT what I want.

    I want the same. And I want the same for Wales and Ulster. If you cannot treat us all the same, then you are little better than the current Government of either Ukraine or Iraq. Both have treated one set of citizens differently from another, with obvious results.

    Unless we get the SAME, this sore is going to fester. And those political parties that support it, will be the ones to suffer, because you will never be able to claim that you govern ALL the people of the UK the SAME.

    Finally. There has to be a cost to all this. I do not see the point of having Labour MP’s sitting in, what is in effect, an English Parliament. They, as can be clearly seen, do not act in the interests of UK and ALL its citizens, only those of their constituency and country of origin. Clearly, they cannot be trusted. Yet, these self same individuals, could hold positions of power over England, Wales and Ulster, which they no longer hold over their own electorate. How can this be right ? They should be barred from EVER holding any position as clearly there is potential for conflict of interest.

    The only good thing that can be said about this SHAM, is that quite a few people have had the scales knocked from their eyes. If so, then there maybe hope of a true and fair settlement with another Government that knows how to govern and treat those that have no voice.

  59. David Sumner
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Capitation – a straightforward split of shared revenue based upon population. Just like the poll tax, but in reverse, which seems fitting.

    Otherwise, its eat what you kill – you want to spend loads on the NHS, free prescriptions, free University places etc, then Scotland can raise it through its own taxes on its own population.

    If Scotland wants to be a socialist paradise, then they wouldn’t truly enjoy it if it was subsidised by English money.

    Actually, if England reduced all these handouts and dropped taxes, we may find that all the immigrants from the EU and further afield may wish to partake of Salmond’s largesse and bypass England altogether for more accommodating climes.

    Sangatte-upon-Tweed?

  60. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    If Scotland wishes to run itself and raise taxes itself it should be permitted to keep all taxes raised in Scotland (including the Oil, but not if landed in England). There should be no transfer of funds from anywhere else.

    Scotland should be expected to adhere to the same overspending regime as everywhere else too so if Westminster borrows 1 pound in every 4 then Holyrood should be permitted the same. If Westminster actually cuts spending and no longer borrows nor should Holyrood.

    The teenage wanted to make its own way so it has to buy its own toilet paper and do its own ironing.

    This No vote was clouded by promises of devo max so we do not know what they really voted for, I think we should assume they wanted a single market, single currency, lender of last resort but independence in most other things, give it to them but they can pay for it themselves no more of my tax to support Scottish and EU students or free prescriptions when my country does not benefit.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Even more urgent is a review on the voting powers of Scottish MPs and the impact that has on an overall majority in Parliament. The Scottish MPs who would no longer be able to vote on all matters should no count towards an overall majority.

      As ye sow so shall ye reap Scotland.

    • cosmic
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      A federal system pretty much implies some transfer of funds from state to state via the centre.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      “The teenage wanted to make its own way so it has to buy its own toilet paper and do its own ironing.”

      How patronising.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Disagree Dennis , reality is not patronising.

        I at least am consistent, you want something you pay for it. Scots, English, Londoners, Welsh. These are my tax pounds that are being used.

  61. Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    There is a Lord Ashcroft poll on Buzzfeed which tries to determine why Scottish voters voted as they did.

    The overwhelming reason for people voting Yes to Independence was “Disaffection with Westminster politics” which was given as a reason by 74% of those voting Yes for voting as they did.

    74% who have such contempt for Westminster that they would vote to split up the UK.

    The figure in England for those who have contempt for Westminster as an institution is going to be a lot more than that, and that is going to be the main driver of voting in the next election.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/7-fascinating-insights-into-why-scotland-voted-against-indep?utm_term=3mjnol4#1frbqcb

  62. Rods
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I think an English parliament for England only legislation is a minimum requirement as the West Lothian question must be answered. But we both know it won’t be and Scottish MPs will continue to have the balance of power and decide English policy. A very unsatisfactory and unfair situation.

    Why will Labour fight tooth and nail to stop the West Lothian question being answered? For the very simple reason, that Labour relies on Scottish MPs to drive through their socialist agendas to a mainly Conservative England.

    A fair settlement would be that the Scottish and English Parliaments have the same powers, but this then raises the question, should Wales, Northern Ireland also have the same? Transparency suggests yes, which means that the UK is progressively going down the route of a set of federated states. Should this then apply to Cornwall and any other English region that desires more local powers and autonomy?

    Labour with their devolution have created a who constitutional mess and their answers, along with the Liberals on the West Lothian question and many others are wholly unsatisfactory on a fair settlement of power, so the English can decide on their exclusive affairs.

    Having English MPs sitting in a UK and English Parliament also raises many awkward constitutional questions:

    1. What happens if the Government wins a vote of no confidence in a UK Parliament, but loses one in the English Parliament?

    2. If English MPs have a dual role of sitting in two parliaments, this is going to mean more work and responsibilities compared to regional MPs and the local devolved ones. Should they be paid more, how would contentious issues like expenses and staff costs be split between the two Parliaments?

    The reality is that you probably have to have different representatives in the English Parliament, like the devolved areas or have these awkward constitutional and cost related questions with no satisfactory answers.

    I await with interest for your answer to these questions, where you have suggested dual roles for English MPs, so I’m sure you have thought many of these things through?

  63. Steve
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    1. Borrowing limits set as proportion of Scotland’s GDP. Immutable. They have to come to Westminster to change the law thereafter to borrow more. National debt will be backed by the BofE (i.e. English taxpayers), so they can have no complaints.
    2. A 5 year commitment to phase out Barnett. They can’t go cold turkey or there will be massive antagonism in Scotland and collapse of services.
    3. The speaker calls ‘English matters’ in Westminster and all other MPs have to get up and leave.
    4. This ‘two classes of MPs is rubbish. There should be ‘Sessions for English Matters, as called by the speaker, and ‘Sessions for the United Kindgom’. We either have two classes of MPs or two classes of UK citizens. that is the consequence of devolution, not Tory politicisation. I know which of those classes I care most about
    5. Give all tax varying powers with the exception of VAT to Scotland, phased in over 5 years. Let them pay for themselves. VAT used to pay for UK-wide commitments.
    6. OBR oversight of Scottish budget.
    7. Oil receipts hypothecated to UK national defence, overseas aid, EU and foreign office, with ups and downs smoothed out by VAT. That way, UK oil pays for UK commitments.
    8. Boundary reforms enacted, as sabotaged by the Lib Dems.

    For starters.

  64. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I see that your idea that members of the UK Parliament elected in England could just be double-hatted as members of an English Parliament has not gone down very well on the ConservativeHome website, JR; there are many comments on your article saying that the English Parliament and government should be separate from the UK Parliament and government and members of the English Parliament should be elected separately.

  65. Rods
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Just another thought over the last 40 years we have gone from one Parliament to govern us and fairly small county and parish councils, to having an expensive extra tier with the EU and a further tier for devolved Parliaments, and an expansion to big local governments and bigger parish councils with their own local council tax raising powers. On top of this we have many more public sector staff for all of the administration and enforcement of the rafts of rules, not to mention whole new industries of consultants and compliance officials to help private industry cope, understand and apply all of the extra rules and regulations they devise.

    Now how does all of this fit with the countries falling international competitiveness and the country paying it’s way in the world, with a neutral or positive balance of payments, rather than our progressively worsening one, when there is proportionally less and less output from ‘wealth creating employment multiplied by hours worked’?

  66. Will
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ll stop you right there John,
    “Of course that settlement has to be fair to England as well as to Scotland”
    Wrong, that settlement has to be fair to the whole of the UK.

  67. Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    It may be considered a bit of a fudge, but essentially if the Scots end up with devo max they’ll end up spending, themselves, approximately the same amount of money as would be spent on their behalf by Westminster had their been no devolution at all. The Scots probably feel they can spend that money more effectively, and with less wastage, and, if they can do that, then good luck to them. Everyone in the UK will be better off for it if they succeed.

    For a currency union to work there has to be a horizontal transfer of wealth, money, funds , call it what you like, from the richer areas in the union to the poorer areas. The Eurozone was set up without any mechanism to allow that and that is why it has turned out to be a disaster. If there is a general reflation in the whole of the Eurozone then there will be benefits in the peripheral regions but increased inflation in the more prosperous regions. ie Germany and Austria. The Germans won’t allow that. Neither will they allow horizontal transfers. So the disaster continues.

    That was never the case before devolution in the UK. It shouldn’t be the case afterwards. So, I would suggest Conservative supporters should just put any curmudgeonly attitudes to one side and concentrate on making the new system work as well as it possibly can.

    • waramess
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      You say: “For a currency union to work there has to be a horizontal transfer of wealth, money, funds , call it what you like, from the richer areas in the union to the poorer areas.”

      I really don’t think you can justify this statement beyond saying “well, everyone knows this” because it is simply not true.

      Prior to the advent of fiat money, which is a relatively recent event, gold was the currency of choice. There was no transfer of wealth necessary between nations to consumate this money union.

      Very simply, countries had to earn (or steal) their currency (gold) and, if they did not then their living standards would fall.

      Where regions find that their businesses are unable to prosper, for whatever reason, then there will be unemployment and a migration of workers to an area that can support their need for employment.

      There is no evidence that the Euro itself is a failed currency per se; the EU is a failed system certainly because freedom of movement is hampered by the lack of a common language.

      • Posted September 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        “I really don’t think you can justify this statement…. because it is simply not true.”

        I seem to remember John Redwood making the same point about the Euro , so it’s not something which, I would have thought, was particularly controversial. The traditional arrangement, with currencies, is that each country has their own. Yes, there have been some exceptions, but that is the one which works best on the available evidence.

        So, within each country there is a horizontal transfer from the richer areas, like from, in the UK, the SE of England, to the poorer areas like Northern Ireland. So, on a superficial level the SE of England loses out because people who live in London pay more taxes, in relation to their services, than those who live in Londonderry. The people in NI are net recipients.

        But, as part of the bigger picture there are obvious benefits to the SE of England not declaring its own independence in the way the Scots have considered declaring theirs. They would almost certainly end up poorer as a result. The rump of the SE of England would have much less influence in the world.

        These kind of horizontal transfers are what makes all large countries work. It’s the same story in the USA. People in rich areas like California probably complain they subsidise poorer people in Mississippi. In the EZ, in particular in Germany, many have yet to learn that it can only work if the EZ is reflated to reduce unemployment in the periphery. That means that Germans have to pay more taxes, or have spending cuts, to prevent inflation in Germany.

        Again superficially, that looks like it makes the Germans worse off. Maybe in the short term it does, but in the longer term they themselves will only be successful if everyone else in the EZ is successful too.

        It’s not just me saying that. The evidence is plain enough to see.

  68. Andyvan
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    A fair system would be that Scotland is responsible for 100% of it’s own tax raising and England is responsible for 100% of it’s own tax raising. Anything that involves subsidy for a devo max Scotland is not fair and cannot be made fair by the promises and blandishments of party leaders. It should not, under any circumstances, be allowed to borrow unlimited amounts whilst remaining in the union and the chancellor should make it very clear that England does not stand behind their debt.
    Scotland should then be billed for it’s share of defence spending, foreign embassies, Eu contributions and other expenses that are incurred by the union as opposed to the devolved governments.
    The Scots let the genie out of the bottle, let them see what England wishes for. They can own our politicians, but they can no longer take our money.

  69. Liz
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I think it only fair that Scotland should benefit from some of the prosperity generated by London and the South East of England and get more money than England but a settlement should depend on a proper polltical settlement for England. This is what a political union should do. However already we are hearing ifs and buts from the broadcasting media, notably the BBC ,who talk of a demand for devolvement to English regions,which there isn’t and try and rubbish talk of England only votes for English laws as this would tend to “shut out” Labour from any English Governence and therefore be dangerous: though they they don’t question there being a permanent socialist majority in both Scotland and Wales.which by inference they support.

  70. Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    How quickly, now that the referendum on so-called Scottish Independence has delivered its verdict, do thoughts revert to money-grubbing.

    The internet and its blogs are awash with suggestions as to how the tax take is to be split, what new arrangement is needed so that everyone gets a fair share of the pot, who should have the last word on spending plans and so on and so on.

    Once again, there is no time or thought being given to essentials and the consequence is, and inevitably will be, a variety of groups of disgruntled and angry people, not just in Scotland and England, but in Wales and Northern Ireland too.

    The cause of all this? The failure of politicians in the Houses of Parliament to uphold the written terms of the English Constitution, which became the Constitution of the United Kingdom by consent of its people and which provided the safeguards against despotic power, whether attempted by Monarch, Lords, Commons, Prime Ministers, Judges or foreign powers.

    Now we have foreign law imposed by unelected bureaucrats and foreign judges, foisted un us by our own politicians acting outside their proper powers, financial arrangements which are simply bribes promised by individuals in high office, only distinguished by their arrogance in making promises which demonstrate their ignorance and contempt for those who elect them and only kept in office because those who should know better ignore or neglect their duty.

    It is not our constitutional arrangements which need changing, but the people who should be applying them and consistently fail to do so.

    John Wrake.

  71. sm
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    It is long past the time when the Scots should be told to stop behaving like spoilt teenage brats. They have their own legal system; contrary to Salmond’s lies they have control of their part of the NHS (yet still reaping benefits from NHS England); and they have left unused their tax-raising powers, so now they must be told that Mum&Dad England will no longer be paying off their debts, doing their laundry and keeping their student junk in the loft of the family home.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      You didn’t mind when those spoilt teenage brats were going over the top for King and country.

      • sm
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Quite.

        (potential other ‘sm’ posters).

        I don’t tend to comment much and do not generally go for above style comments.

        I agree that equality needs to be in order for the rest of union.

        EVEL or a similar inclusive version, is an immediate stopgap on the way to a uk parliament and devolved parliaments for the parties as they choose.

        I would also bring in an oath for the parliament MP’s, forswearing any interests other than the parliament it represents. Dual UK and EU interests are out.

        MP’s choose to be selectable for a run for one or the other not both.

        No to EU inspired regionalism.

        The referendum was a success we should have more. It exposes the politicians for what they are. The general distrust of lawmakers is why we are here. Note

        Should the Scottish parliament now be dissolved? or do we pursue federalism?
        Should we exit the EU ?

        Personally, the Scots are always welcome in the Union on equal terms and i take heart they voted in such high numbers.They did not like what was happening and have tried to do something democratic about it? What’s not to like?

        By the way who would be liable for the UK pensions etc of our present MP’s if the union dissolved?

  72. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Just relieved that the separation nightmare is over.
    Now, the damage that Salmond and his horrible henchmen have caused to Scottish/English relations and the ill feeling within Scotland needs to be repaired. The cost of this referendum has been enormous. The SNP were falsely using the NHS as a stick to beat the ‘Tory English’ government with. How much of this money could have been directed from this stupid unnecessary campaign to the NHS instead? And, more importantly, what has been the social cost within Scotland with old sectarian hatreds re-ignited, particularly in Glasgow?
    A fair financial settlement for England and Scotland? Parity and no favours. Talk tough. Take no SNP prisoners

    • stred
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Max. Unfortunately, before he swam as far as he could go, splurged over his eggs and died (politically ed), Mr Salmond made clear that they had failed on this occasion and he was handing over to others. The jockeys and chatties on the BBC seem to think Mrs Sturgeon will be the obvious choice, what with all her charisma and the admiration of her by Scottish women. etc ed
      Anyway, you won’t have to emigrate yet with you new champion Gordon telling his new friend Dave how to divert money in your direction. We enjoyed watching the lavish Tattoo from Edinburgh castle on Alba last night. At least we can enjoy our tax spend on the TV.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Banquo-Brown seems to have appointed himself our spokesman with ‘locked in’ guarantees for more free hand-outs to the great proletariat in Scotland.
        Having attended the count in Glasgow as a referendum agent I found myself in the surreal position of shaking hands with euphoric Labour politicians. Strange bedfellows indeed!

  73. Mondeo Man
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “Or will the UK government automatically increase the annual UK borrowing total if Scotland does decide to borrow more?”

    A recipe for financial disaster. Rather like the hubby borrowing to update the car and then wifey goes out and borrows for a new kitchen in tit-for-tat fashion. Household finances are wrecked this way.

    If the ‘vow’ is honoured and we are to maintain prudent economies whilst underwriting a socialist northern economy the we, the English, are going to have to go without. We are going to have to be the grown ups sacrificing for the ever hungry teenagers, careless of how long they spend in the shower or how long their clothes last.

    Same as it ever was.

    Farage has it right. Too much was promised without proper mandate.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      PS, Thanks to you and your friends for taking a stand, Dr Redwood.

  74. Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    You are overplaying your hand on this.

    The conservative approach to constitutional change is to go for a gradual not a revolutionary change.

    The gradual and achievable change is: no Scottish MP may vote on devolved matters. English votes for English laws is a good slogan, but not good law. No Scottish votes on rest of United Kingdom laws is the correct solution.

    Going for an English Parliament, as you are arguing for, is too big a step. We do not want a separate first minister for England. The simple change of removing voting rights is enough (with similar provision for removing voting rights for Welsh and NI MPs where the issue is devolved to their region).

    If you present this as cautious change in this way, you’ll get it. If you argue for an English Parliament, you won’t.

    • Terry
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      And who are the “We” you speak of? And just how would you know what is and what is not achievable?

      I suggest your idea that the ‘Conservative approach is gradual’ is so last century.
      Direct action is now the name of the game because in Century 21, he who hesitates is lost.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Well said, Terry.

    • David Price
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 3:07 am | Permalink

      I doubt the overly conservative approach you describe in this regard will be good enough. The disparity in treatment of citizens has been revealed, real and timely corrective action is necessary as any fobbing off will likely have the opposite effect to placating the growing anger.

      I don’t see how an English Parliament can be too big a step when assemblies and parliament have already been granted to the other three countries for some time now. “Votes for local laws” was not imposed on the other constituent countries so why should it be imposed on England? There are examples of other countries which have a federal structure so why is it impossible for us?

      This latest episode has highlighted the uneven nature of representation and support of UK citizens and must be corrected, otherwise you are likely to have even more problems than the referendum caused. How is it right that Scotland gets immediate and unqualified largess yet England must go through long winded hoops and stalling committee actions?

      So, instead of continuing the inequality and declaring how impossible the problem is our politicians should rise to the challenge and demonstrate to the world how a democratic country solves such a problem.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I want a separate First Minister for England.

  75. Fredrik Carlstedt
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Here is un non-economic devolution idea ; Let each devolved parliament and assembly have boundary control over Westminster constituencies. For example, let the Scottish Parliament have boundary control over the Scottish Westminister constituencies. The Welsh Assembly gets to have boundary control over Welsh Westminister constituencies, the Northern Ireland Assembly gets to have boundary control over NI Westminster constituencies. And of course an new all- English Parliament should have boundary control over the English Westminister constituencies.

  76. Martin Ryder
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    There will never be enough money for a fair financial settlement between the four nations in the Union. There will always be complaints and accusations of foul play. All tht any UK government can do is make the best of it.

    It appears that the leaders of the three main parties in Parliament offered a better financial deal to Scotland than they have at present. I assume that people voted ‘No’ partly in the expectation that the promises made would be fulfilled. It may be, though I doubt it, that the offer was worked up and is deliverable. If it is it should be delivered; if it is not then shame on Cameron, Miliband and Clegg.

    Whatever is delivered; this is not the end of the matter. There should be a proper constitutional settlement that treats, as far as is possible, the people in each of the four nations in the same way. I would expect England, which is by far the largest and richest of the four nations, to allow the other nations some financial leeway and to not demand an exact parity between each of the partners.

    It will take at least a whole Parliament to work this out. I would suggest that all that can be done at present is for all political parties putting up candidates for the 2015 election to agree to place their initial rough ideas on what should be done in their manifestos.

    Those electors who are interested in this sort of thing can then vote for the candidate in their constituency that represents the party that has, in their opinion, the best ideas.

  77. Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Any financial settlement should get away from the ludicrously generous Barnett Formula, which finances 15% more public expenditure per Scottish head, at the expense of English taxpayers.

    Life is more difficult for people that live in sparsely populated areas with cold winters. Support for public transport, logistics and rescue has to be greater. Allow a premium of 25% for them. However, 80% of Scotland’s population live in its central belt and they do not need more. Overall, Scotland’s public expenditure per head should be about 5% more than in England.

    And all favours to Scotland depend on England getting its Parliament.

    • Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Cumbria, the Peak District, Northumberland, Yorkshire, parts of Lincolnshire & East Anglia, they are sparsely populated and can have miserable weather so why should they have special treatment?

  78. Richard Roney
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    In addition to the considerable number of powers already devolved to Scotland (which should be devolved to the new English Parliament too) Devo Max should include Local Income Tax, Social Security, Benefits, Employment and Consumer Affairs. Devo Max should mean the same for Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

  79. Richard Roney
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    As to a fair financial settlement I suggest we follow the US example with a Federal/All UK Tax system and rates set by the UK Parliament and Income Tax Rates set by the Parliament of each of the 4 nations to cover the expenses of their own country. Of course not only would the UK itself be able to borrow but so would each nation subject to similar rules used in the US.

  80. Dan H.
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    One welcome development would be more local tax-raising powers and more local responsibilities, such as the payment of benefits and the like. This would put different administrations into competition with each other, to attract rich tax payers and repel parasitic ones.

    Hand in hand with this needs to be a measure to prevent some abuse of power. I would like to see all monies raised by fines sent straight to central government, and not handed to local government at all; this is to prevent parking and motoring fines being used as a cash cow. Similarly costs for sending legal notices such as council tax fines must be centrally regulated.

    A final measure must also be put into place: failing administrations must be allowed to fail, and this failure must be permitted to impact upon local electors. As things stand, a lot of areas elect MPs, Councillors and the like on a tribal basis, as the statistics on safe seats demonstrate. As a result much behind the scenes politicking results and some woeful chumps manage to enviegle themselves into safe political seats. Permitting these chumps to waltz into disasters of their own making, and cause local problems as a result of stupidity ought to help assist local electors in the direction of electing not on the basis of party affiliation, but on the basis of suitability for a role.

    This I believe to be essential in revitalising our politics. As things stand, local politics is a mass of pointlessness and petty corruption, with central planning preventing great abuse but also permitting, encouraging even, the existance of mediocre party candidates. It is about time we put these mediocre twerps to the test, allowed the worst to fail and booted them out.

  81. APL
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    JR: “The three leaders – and Mr Brown – also clearly promised to keep the Barnett formula so Scotland can carry on spending more per head than the rest of the UK.”

    What is tax revenue from North Sea oil by comparison to the funds transferred to Scotland under the Barnett formula?

  82. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Your colleague Lord Tebbit wrote in today’s Telegraph: “The Balkanisation of this Kingdom has begun. Unless we wish to go the way of the Balkans we had best work out how to reverse, rather that to accelerate it.”
    Given the abject vacuity of the party leaders Cameron, Clegg and Miliband in the way the Scottish referendum was handled and the last minute bribes that were offered without approval from Parliament, we should be very concerned indeed about what they will try and foist on us next. Party political advantage is already to be seen in early announcements by Labour and the LibDems. Cameron, as usual, has failed to rise to the occasion – why oh why did you elect him as leader?

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      The extraordinary ‘promise’ that was delivered via Gordon Brown – a blank cheque delivered with the pre-assumed signature of Parliament – unfortunately becomes a moral obligation Cameron is compelled to follow through to legislation.

      Whilst that comment there might seem notionally untrue – and it is ‘notionally’ untrue – morally it is a promise delivered by the Prime Minister of the UK. He is obliged to stand by it, or fall in its failure. It’s a massive early christmas gift for the agenda-driven and cannot go unpunished. If Parliament – or in effect, we might as well broadly say ‘The Conservatives’ – vote against this promise, block it, delay it, refuse it, veto, then those agenda driven groups will triumphantly sound a renewed offensive. The hard-won consolidation of this debate was thrown away just before the finish line by the weak-minded in a fit of incompetence and panic.

      Scots Nationalists of whichever tribal inclination will observe – semi-rightly* – that the ink was not even dry on the promise after the referendum when the damn perfidious Tories went back on the pledge and re-started the tedious ebb and flow of the various historic trans-Nationalist resentments. That undelivered pledge – the story will go – influenced the outcome of the Referendum, and Scots voters thereby have an entitlement to see the promise delivered. Defeat from the jaws of a putative victory indeed. Some might say that those Conservatives who are furious about this (and they have a just right to be) have essentially been blackmailed into that corner.

      I say ‘semi-rightly’* because in propaganda terms, there can be no competent, knowledgable individual who heard that pledge who could claim under any known proper procedure that it had been issued with legitimate authority of Parliament. It was an idiotic mistake delivered in advance and in the name of Parliament – thereby a definitive abuse of process – which its intended recipients had every right to pocket gleefully. Who could blame them?

      As I said earlier however, that abuse of process must not go unpunished. As extreme as it may sound, I would consider that as a quid pro quo to pass that unwarranted and unauthorised pledge through Westminster, that all those who had a hand in declaring that assurance to the Scots must step down from any official post or official body of which they are currently member immediately upon the final vote in the HoC. They definitively abused their respective Executive and Parliamentary authority. They drew upon themselves democratic abilities that were not theirs to pre-assume. Under other circumstances, had a General rather than a failed ex-Prime Minister made that pledge, it might have been regarded as a Coup. What happened in the past few days was an affront to legitimate democracy. We let it pass unobserved at great peril.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Although it was Brown who first made the offer without any authority at all to do so, it was later confirmed on the front page of the Daily Record by Cameron and Clegg with the authority of the UK government, and also by Miliband who has no part in the government but does have the authority of leading the main opposition party in the UK Parliament.

        As the Scots rather narrowly voted to stay in the Union partly the basis of that public “vow”, reneging on it would not only be morally wrong it would be potentially catastrophic for the future of the Union.

        • Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Cameron didn’t have a mandate from his Party to make those promises, so they are null and void.

          • A different Simon
            Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            Lindsay McDougall ,

            Surely a mandate from the Conservative party would not have given him legitimacy .

            Surely the mandate needed to come from Parliament or at least a geographic subset of it ?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Whatever happened to true Conservatives Brian, did we migrate to UKIP? I’d like to see more of them make the switch because the bulk of the present-day Tories are hopeless.

      Tad

  83. Tad Davison
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    What a day! One leader down, three bad ones to go! Hang on in there Nigel, your day will come!

  84. Lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Listening to Michael Fallon on the daily politics, avoiding answering perfectly simple questions, it seems that the Tory party still have no real plan at all for Scotland, England or for winning the general election.

    Can they not find sensible people to give this rabble a sense of purpose and direction?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Good on ya! I saw that performance too.

      Tad

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live

      Michael Fallon voted against the bill ‘Affirming the sovereignty of the Uk parliament’. The chances of him and his Eu enthusiast friends having the will to answer the West Lothian question seem slim . Just the man for Cameron to use to kick the issue into the long grass.

      My fear is that parliamentary reform will be dominated by the majority Conservative Eu enthusiasts and that the John Redwood wing will be frozen out. I do hope that Mr Redwood puts country above party and absolutely refuses to accept compromise or inaction on this issue.

  85. waramess
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I think I’m getting one of those cast iron guarantee feelings.

  86. Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    First hurdle over. Britain ; how great thou art.

  87. Freeborn John
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid this is all motivated by the desire of the Conservatives to govern despite their inability to win a majority in the UK Parliament since Maastricht. Rather than make a “bold and generous” offer to UKIP voters to jointly win the next election and take us out of the EU, Cameron would rather govern on many issues in England alone and then hide behind Scottish labour MPs to say there is no UK-wide majority for changing the relationship with Brussels. It is a contemptible strategy for the Conservative party to pursue and will simply make people more determined than ever to use their votes in 2015 to ensure that Cameron has to do what Alex Salmond did today.

  88. Gordon Hetherington
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir,
    Throughout the campaign the “yes” supporters told us that Scotland was richer than England and would be even richer if they went their own way. They also stressed their devotion to fairness in society. I am sure that they would not be telling us porkie pies, so why do they take money from England that they evidently do not need? Shouldn’t the Barnett formula be re versed and rich Scotland do her bit to support her less well provided for neighbour?
    Regards

  89. ian
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Now the time to think about doing away with party politics. It is not good for one party to dominate as the conservative party would do in england. What you need is peoples politics,one person from each constituency free from party ties to carry out their wishs, of cos they can still vote for the politician they all ready have but as a maverick with full accountibiltie

  90. Chris s
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Despite the supportive comments of well respected Labour parliamentarians like Frank Field, we have seen Miliband and The LibDems backing away from the principle of English votes for English matters.

    The case in favour of fairness is overwhelming and the tired argument over two tier MPs is pure BS given that Scottish MPs are already unable to properly represent their constituents in key policy areas.

    If Miliband and Labour are concerned about their ability to govern England they have a simple solution. All they have to do is develop policies that appeal to English voters. It’s what they do in Scotland. It’s also what won Blair three terms!

    If they don’t want to do that, they have the alternative of winning round English voters to their left wing ideals.

    Trying to foist unpopular policies on the electorate on the grounds that they are what their supporters in Scotland and Wales want is no way to win over the electorate.

    It’s clear that Backbench MPs led by you, John, have held a shotgun to David Cameron over this otherwise he would never have come out in favour and all we would be offer is the pathetic McKay proposals. They would be completely unacceptable.

    It will be necessary to keep up pressure on Haigh and Gove until the policy is carried through but nothing less will be acceptable to England.

    One last plea : support for a proper English Solution will evaporate North of Birmingham if the final proposal does not give direct representation to the English Regions within something like an English Grand Committee attended by the Chancellor and PM. ( I would prefer to use the term English Parliament but that would be a step too far for Labour to stomach). It would also be cheaper as there would be no English Cabinet Members salaries to pay.

  91. Philip from Monmouth
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    The three main parties panicked and offered Scotland independence in all but name if they agreed to remain in the UK. If you want to sit with the big boys at the UN you need Scotland to remain as part of the UK. Now they have the dilemma of keeping their promises to Scotland in the face of revolt from their own back-benchers. If they keep their promise to Scotland they will incur the wrath of the media and lose the next election. If they don’t keep their promises the rest of the world will regard as, once again, as Perfidious Albion. Good luck to them, they are between a rock and a hard place.

  92. ian
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    US markets could be in danger hear with commodities

  93. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    What is the point of having an elected parliament if Mr Cameron and Mr Brown can write blank cheques on behalf of English taxpayers (without any democratic mandate or authority from parliament) .Why was such an important policy shift seemingly made ‘on the hoof’ without any seriuos debate or scrutiny.

    If Cameron was more in touch with reality he would have known that most of the Yes campaign was bluster and that he didn’t need to resort to bribery.

    I do hope Dr Redwood doesn’t let Mr Cameron of the hook on reform of parliament to exclude Scottish opinion on exclusively English matters. The PM tell us it’s the wrong time, kick the issue into the long grass by instigating review committes or blame the Liberal democrats. …

  94. Tom
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Whilst I completley agree that there must be significant English powers I do hope that we don’t get a full English Parliment (because of all of the implications it brings for the Union). I favour the compromises suggested by SpinningHugo, Bill, Burt Young and Steve. I also note the legitimate outrage of Douglas Carter.

    If we do end up with an English Parliment then can we please have our own name for “First Minister”!

  95. Posted September 22, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I have lived half my life in England and half in Scotland. One of my parents is English; one Scottish. I consider myself British rather than anything else. I was proud to vote No last Thursday because the Yes campaign failed to make a convincing case for independence and importantly they failed to convince many of us that Scotland would be much more prosperous alone. We would probably have been a little worse off and so too would the rest of the UK if Scotland had decided to leave the Union, taking its oil and other natural resources and contracting the UK economy by 10%. However no-one looking in detail at the figures for where UK taxes come from and where public spending goes can honestly come to the conclusion that Scotland is being subsidised by England. Take the most recent available figures for example from 2012/13. They show that 9% of the UK’s taxes came from Scotland and 9% of public expenditure was in Scotland. Scotland clearly pays its way. Mr Redwood is right to point out that clarifications are needed about “devo more” and that a fair system is needed in England. But as this issue gets debated in England it is essential that politicians and informed citizens do not promote a myth that England is somehow subsidising Scotland. The Scottish nationalists pushed the argument that the per capita tax contribution is higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK. They were right. But we rejected their argument at the ballot box because they only told one side of the story and tried to hide the fact that Scots get more back from the system. If English politicians now push the argument that Scots get more in public spending without admitting that Scotland puts more into the system (per capita) and this leads to the main Westminster parties reneging on their devolution vow then be in no doubt that the Scots will demand another referendum as soon as possible. The SNP have been further strengthened by the referendum and will dominate the Scottish parliament for at least the next generation. Be in no doubt that the Union won a reprieve last week but it was not saved forever. The only way to do that is to give sufficient powers to the people living in Scotland to tax ourselves in a way that lets us pay for the society we want. Maybe Scotland’s leaders will continue to be too cowardly to use such tax raising powers but it is only fair that they should have them.

  96. Posted September 23, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Scotland doesn’t want to set its own rates of income tax and corporation tax. That would make Holyrood responsible for collecting taxes for itself. They are perfectly content to let the UK government do the unpopular business of raising taxes, then to spend in line with the generous Barnett formula at the expense of English taxpayers.

    All Holyrood wants is more areas where they determine spending, while demanding more from the Exchequer to pay for them.

    That being the case, we can simply say ‘No’ until we get English votes for English laws. And I don’t give a damn if this provokes a constitutional crisis.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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