CAMPAIGN FOR SCOTTISH HOME RULE LAUNCHES
The Campaign for Scottish Home Rule has launched today in Edinburgh, bringing together key figures from across Scotland’s political spectrum as well as from outwith party politics.
The Campaign has a steering group of 12 people including figures closely associated with Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and the Greens, as well as people with no party affiliation. They have come together to make the case for an effective, sustainable and productive Home Rule settlement for Scotland.
The steering group’s members are as follows:
– Matthew Benson
– Derek Brownlee
– John Dunsmore
– Susan Egelstaff
– Dr. Alison Elliot
– Prof. Richard Kerley
– Hamira Khan
– James Mackenzie
– Henry McLeish
– Margaret Smith
– Ben Thomson (Chair)
– Andrew Wilson
Biographies of the steering group members, as well as a blog of their reasons for being part of the Campaign, can be seen at homerule.scot.
The Campaign has made a submission to the Smith Commission (see notes to editors). Its core recommendation is for the Commission to require clear underlying principles. The Campaign itself has three underlying principles, which are:
– Responsibilities Devolved
There should be a presumption in favour of devolving responsibility to Holyrood.Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998 should be reviewed and the burden of proof for reserving a power rest with Westminster should it wish to retain that responsibility. The precedent was set in the original 1997 Act, but the implementation of it has not been in keeping with the spirit of its intent.
– Raising what you spend
Ensure that both Holyrood and Westminster have responsibility over the tax and borrowing powers required to make each of them responsible for raising the money that they spend. We believe if either tier of government is overly reliant on fiscal transfers from the other (whether that is from Westminster to Holyrood, or Holyrood to Westminster) this diminishes responsibility and blurs lines of accountability.
– Mutual respect
We understand the desire to ensure the Scottish Parliament is made permanent. Without a written constitution for the UK or similar changes at that level we cannot see how this could be meaningfully implemented in anything other than a symbolic way. However, we believe that we can address the democratic deficit and improve the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK by strengthening the mutual respect between parliaments and considering other ways to strengthen the security of the constitutional position of Holyrood.
Further detail on these three underlying principles can be seen in the Campaign’s Smith Commission submission and on homerule.scot.
The Campaign believes that the No vote in the referendum on Scottish independence indicated that there is a desire amongst the people of Scotland to see meaningful Home Rule within the United Kingdom.
The steering group’s members have written for the Campaign’s blog – The Route Home – explaining why they are part of the Campaign.