The SNP has welcomed comments from Michael Portillo and Henry McLeish calling on their respective parties to engage in a real debate on the constitutional future of Scotland as they put forward arguments for full fiscal autonomy.
Former Tory minister Michael Portillo follows John Major in recognising the desire of people in Scotland for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking to the Scotsman he said:
“What I have in mind is full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, which would require the settlement of the division of oil and gas between England and Scotland, full authority for Scotland to raise its own taxes and to set its own rates of corporation tax and income tax.”
Meanwhile in the Herald former First Minister Henry McLeish, attacked the current unionist parties for not taking the debate seriously , members of the Lords for taking a “contemptuous view” of Scotland and Michael Moore for refusing to set out devolution max.
He urged Labour to back devo-max saying “It satisfies a concern that we spend money with responsibility and if you get to a point where we can tax and spend, and it’s autonomous to Scotland, that is logical and would be popular.”
These comments follow on from former UK Prime Minister and Conservative leader John Major who, in July of this year, said that Scotland was moving towards self-autonomy.
SNP Leader on Falkirk Council Councillor David Alexander, commented:
“The contrast between these sensible contributions and the scaremongering of current UK ministers and opposition leaders shows just how out of touch with the Scottish people the opposition parties are.
Mr Portillo’s comments, on fiscal autonomy and control of oil revenues, do at least put forward a positive unionist alternative as we approach the referendum – something which is wholly lacking from the Westminster parties themselves.
It is time that instead of the constant griping and negativity the UK Government and opposition parties learned from McLeish and Portillo and joined the debate with a positive vision against the SNP’s clear and inspiring vision of independence.
The ambitions of an overwhelming majority of people in Scotland go way beyond the status quo and even the Scotland Bill to more powers and independence for Scotland.
The SNP will bring forward a referendum on Scottish independence in the second half of this parliament. If opposition parties have any sense they will take the advice from their elder statesmen, take the debate seriously
and put forward a positive vision for the people of Scotland.
It would be very interesting indeed to find out just exactly where our local unionist MPs actually stand in this debate. We hear constantly what they are against but exactly what additional powers would they wish to see devolved to Holyrood?”
1. Portillo’s comments
McLeish – Labour urged to be more nationalist – Herald Page 6
3. John Major
Ditchley Foundation lecture: