The pro-UK parties are offering the United Kingdom instead. The anti-UK parties are offering its break-up. That is what this debate is about. That is what we will be voting on.
To try to change the debate to whether to leave the UK, or have more powers for Scotland, is a trick of the separatists who want to hedge their bets and win either way.
People who want “more powers” should vote for independence.
As a unionist, I can urge them to do so with confidence because I know that there is virtually nobody sitting about obsessing about the minutiae of tax policy, and concluding that what Scotland needs, in Mr McCrone’s words, is to have “three-quarters rather than the whole of income tax devolved”, or “some parts of welfare spending, amounting to about 25 per cent of the Department of Work and Pensions’ expenditure… transferred to Scotland”, or “57 per cent” of Scottish Government expenditure “financed directly by taxes paid by people in Scotland”.
Outside of policy wonks, the remunerated Scottish political sector, and those who report upon it, the “more devolution” debate is simply not happening.
The “support” which is allegedly “shown” in surveys indicates nothing more than that some people have an opinion if asked.
That does not mean it is an informed or demanded or passionate opinion, or that it would not change if considered within a wider context.
Gavin McCrone’s article presents a rather superficial version of fairness to bolster his argument that welfare should not be part of any future enhancement of devolution. The vicious assault currently being launched on our poorest citizens by the UK government is bringing misery to many households across the UK. And it is not all about the level of benefit.
The rhetorical tirade about scroungers and skivers is designed to attack the self-esteem of unemployed people in a way which we know is politically motivated and counter-productive.
However, the case for devolving welfare is not about affordability or even about equity across the UK. It is about constructing a system of social protection which enjoys the support of the people of Scotland, which aligns with the ethos of our public services and which assists our most vulnerable citizens in their times of need.
We are now discovering the true costs of the current regime – the provision of emergency food supplies to destitute and desperate people is the fastest growing part of the voluntary sector in Scotland. There is nothing fair in that.
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations