Methinks new Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael do protesteth too much with his warning to coalition colleagues about “lecturing the Scots on the referendum”. (your report, 11 October). By that he means about a Yes vote for independence. But where they can help us in our decision-making is on the other “yes” on the referendum ballot paper, because the alternative No vote is, effectively, affirmation in favour of more of the same – in other words, a “yes” vote for that. The curiosity is that no so-called Better Together campaigners have uttered a sound about the regime we will face if we vote No. So, Mr Carmichael has created his own opportunity to fill the vacuum.
It is a simple proposition: how exactly would the funding of the still devolved Scottish Parliament operate? How would the income tax regime work? What would the effect be on the block grant, and to what extent would the Barnett formula impinge on the calculation? And in what respects would Holyrood be “more accountable”? The three unionist parties, who stood shoulder to shoulder on the Calman proposals as reflected in the Scotland Act 2012, are contradicting Calman by going their separate ways with proposals of their own about the financial constitutional arrangements. These seem to be a while in the preparation.
Can Mr Carmichael tell us whether these will be available prior to the referendum so we can compare the prospects for independence with those applicable after a No vote? And if these do materialise – and are adopted – does he agree that the legislation, already passed, would require to be re-written?
Douglas R Mayer