Devolution Plans Not Enough, Says SNP

Smith Commission
Campaigners wave Scottish Saltires at a 'Yes' campaign rally in Glasgow, Scotland September 17, 2014. Dylan Martinez/REUTERS

The Scottish National Party and pro-independence media have reacted angrily to the extent of powers to be given to the Scottish government from Westminster as agreed in the commission report published by Lord Smith today.

Although the report was praised by UK prime minister David Cameron who told press he was "delighted" with plans to hand Scotland greater powers over tax and welfare, John Swinney, Scotland's deputy first minister voiced his disappointment, saying "that isn't home rule - it's continued Westminster rule".

"The proposals clearly do not reflect the full wishes of the people of Scotland, and also fall far short of the rhetoric from the No campaign during the referendum," Swinney, who negotiated the terms of the report with representatives of the unionist parties in Westminster, said.

"Regrettably, the Westminster parties were not prepared to deliver the powerhouse parliament the people of Scotland were promised," Swinney added.

Swinney went on to argue that two thirds of Scots wanted full control of Scotland's affairs, apart from foreign policy and defence, to be decided in Edinburgh and not London. Quoting a PanelBase poll carried out online, Swinney claimed that 71% want control of all affairs, 75% demand control of the welfare and benefits system, while just under 70% of Scots ask for full control over the state pension and oil and gas revenues.

Under the Smith report's recommendations these powers will not be devolved to Edinburgh from London. First minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed the words of her deputy during first minister's questions in Edinburgh on Thursday, calling the report "disappointing" and expressed concern that "sabre rattling" from Conservatives who want to restrict Scottish power in Westminster may complicate putting the report into practice.

The report was the result of concessions of greater decision making powers to Scottish voters promised by the UK's three main parties in the final days of the Scottish referendum campaign in September when the vote rested on a knife edge.

In a joint statement referred to as 'the vow' delivered on the eve of the referendum, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband promised "greater powers" for Scotland should they vote to stay in the Union.

Despite initial polls showing the pro-independence side in the lead, 55% of Scots voted against independence.

According to Swinney, the Smith report is "a missed opportunity" to fulfil the promises of devolution, particularly on crucial issues such as the job market and welfare reform.

"Unfortunately, [the report] falls short because it could only go as far as the Westminster parties were prepared to go," Swinney added.

One of Scotland's most popular independence websites, Wings Over Scotland, attacked anti-independence papers' praise of the report. The political site published the frontpage of the anti-independence Daily Record, which supported the report, calling it the "most shameful, knowing, deliberate lie ever published in a newspaper in Scotland".

The other major pro-independence platform Bella Caledonia was also critical and targeted the Scottish Daily Mail's praise for the Smith report, as it urged readers to not "believe the hype". Bella Caledonia issued a scathing criticism of the extent of devolution under the Smith report, pointing to "70% of tax and 85% of welfare decisions staying at Westminster," and echoing

Swinney's words by saying: "This isn't home rule, it's not even devo max."

Others took to Twitter to voice their disapproval with one user tweeting:

While another called for protest asking:

Another user raged:

Meanwhile this woman echoed the sentiments of many others by calling for a new independence referendum:

Although 55% of Scots voted to stay in the Union in September, the independence push has not subsided as the pro-independence SNP have surged in the polls since, currently boasting the third highest membership of any party in the UK. A recent poll found that a majority of Scots would now vote for independence.

This week the Sunday Herald, which was the only newspaper to back independence, launched an offshoot called the National, dedicated to supporting an independent Scotland and reports show with less than a week on the newsstands the title is doubling its circulation due to high demand.

Meanwhile whisky distillers in Campbeltown are also hoping to bank on the pro-independence movement dedicating a new blend of scotch to the 45% who voted for independence this week called the Spirit of Freedom.

Devolution Plans Not Enough, Says SNP | World