Smith recommendations fall short

In decrying calls for further devolution, Andrew Gray claims to be concerned about the views of “the 
majority of Scots” (Letters, 1 December).

There was not, and is no prospect of, a referendum on the issue of further devolution, so the best barometer of public opinion is a range of opinion polls.

The most recent, published at the weekend, was consistent with others in the past few months in showing that around two-thirds of Scotland’s people want the full devolution of all taxes and welfare.

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Indeed, when asked about a range of powers, a substantial majority supported the devolution of all policy areas apart from immigration, 
defence and foreign affairs.

The Smith Commission’s recommendations fall a 
long way short of such 
aspirations, reflecting a compromise between self-
interested political parties rather than the outcome 
that the people appear to want.

That is why, in my view, we remain as far away as ever from a stable, long-term 
constitutional settlement.

C Hegarty

Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

As a No voter I am in agreement with Andrew HN Gray’s sentiments, and consequently the Smith Commission failed to meet my aspirations.

I must therefore take 
issue with Dr John Cameron’s inference (Letters, same day) and conclude that in 
this matter of aspirations, Ms Sturgeon probably does speak for “most people in Scotland”.

Alex Gouick

Westfield Place


Andrew Gray tries to imply that the 800,000 Scots who no longer live here and did not have a vote in the referendum would have all voted No. That is nonsense.

Where he may have a point is that there cannot be that many people on either side of the debate who are truly happy with the half-baked compromise Smith has produced.

However, from a purely personal point of view, I think it will hasten the demise of the Union. And that will be no bad thing.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street


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So much for the fresh 
approach of speaking for the whole of Scotland promised by the new First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon declares (your report, 1 December) that “Labour will have to up its game in terms of the powers it was promising to the Scottish people” if it is to have the occasional support of the SNP at Westminster.

I am one of more than 2 million Scots who rejected independence in September.

She is not, with this typically Salmond-like declaration, speaking for me nor, I
am confident, for many of the 55.3 per cent who voted No.

When are we going to hear about what the SNP would actually do with the powers the Scottish Government will have rather than the chorus of bleating about the ones they won’t have?

And I don’t understand why, if the outcome of the Smith Commission was so bad, the SNP Deputy First Minister put his agreement to it in writing.

Was somebody holding his feet to the fire?

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue


Apart from the fact
that constant constitutional wrangling from all the 
parties is becoming tedious, the SNP’s Pavlovian response to the Smith Commission proposals was boring and predictable.

They seem to have forgotten the referendum result, and need to remember that democratic politics is about compromise – there’s been precious little of it from them.

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The SNP reminds me of 
Oliver Twist – always asking for more.

William Ballantine

Dean Road

Bo’ness, West Lothian

During the recent referendum both the former and current First Ministers signed the Edinburgh Agreement vowing to respect the democratic decision of the Scottish people.

As others have pointed out in these pages that vow has been well and truly broken – democracy means nothing in the current Scotland.

The then first minister and his finance secretary vowed that the oil price would not fall beyond $113 a barrel and that anybody who suggested otherwise was “scaremongering”.

On 1 December the price had fallen to below $72. The same finance secretary signed off on the Smith Commission report and as Henry L Philip commented (Letters, 1 December) was rubbishing it minutes later.

The Westminster leaders promised that they would set up a commission immediately after the No vote and they did; they vowed that the commission would report before St Andrew’s Day and it did – so far Unionist vows kept, if only the same could be said of Scottish ministers.

(Dr) Roger I 

Turretbank Place