Support for 'Calman Plus'

TWO weeks ago when David Cameron, newly appointed Prime Minister, came to see the First Minister in Edinburgh, the atmosphere was non-confrontational. Cameron's "respect" agenda towards the Scottish administration was very much in evidence. Nor did he come empty-handed: he offered Scots the full implementation of the Calman Report.

Now, just two weeks later, that already looks like an inadequate solution. It has become clear that radical changes to the tax regime being proposed by Mr Cameron's government at UK level would dramatically reduce the Calman proposals' ability to make a real difference to the Scottish economy. Clearly, plans for new fiscal arrangements in Scotland need to be recalibrated. In this newspaper today Tavish Scott calls for the implementation of "Calman Plus". We support that aim. It is essential that Scotland's constitutional arrangements have the capability to survive changes enacted at Westminster. The Scottish Lib Dem leader is also right to argue the Scottish government should be included in the working group chaired by Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander. That, in turn, places the onus on Alex Salmond to eschew partisan politics in favour of a statesmanlike participation in the crafting of new powers for Scotland. With goodwill, there is potentially a broad consensus of support for Calman Plus and a more effective, responsible form of Scottish governance.