I have not had the time to submit any very full-some submission to the Smith Commission on further devolution but I did send the following email today. I would also commend readers to the submission by the Scottish Trades Union Congress which is particularly sharp on the kinds of tools needed to develop a prosperous and fair society in Scotland.
Dear Lord Smith,
There are two specific powers which I would like to see form part of a further suite of devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament.
The Crown Estate
I have argued on many occasions that the Crown Estate Commissioners should have no role in Scotland. Evidence presented to the UK Treasury Committee, Scotland Bill Committee and Scottish Affairs Committee can be found here
at the foot of the page.
The Crown Estate is a public estate and it’s administration and management should (like all other public land in Scotland) be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.
This can be achieved by repealing Section 2(3) of Schedule 5 (Part 1) of the Scotland Act 1998.
Honours and Dignities
To promote a more equal Scotland it is no longer appropriate in my view that there be an official order of precedence in Scotland. I would like to see the abolition of almost all honours and dignities. Others may take a different view. To enable such a debate to take place, the system of honours and dignities should be devolved.
This can be achieved by repealing Section 2(2) of Schedule 5 (Part 1) of the Scotland Act 1998.
Following the publication of our report A Land Value Tax for Northern Ireland (1), Dr Ronan Lyons, myself and the Chief Executive of NICVA, Seamus McAlaevey were delighted to have been asked to give evidence to the Finance and Personnel Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 22 October 2014.
The evidence session covers many questions relating to LVT and land taxation more widely. It begins at 9 minutes and ends at 1:01:30.
(1) This report was commissioned by NICVA’s Centre for Economic Empowerment. A copy of the report can be downloaded from NICVA website (together with infographic) or from my own page of LVT resources here.
Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom but Scotland will never be the same again. The energy, passion and commitment to a fairer, more equal and sustainable Scotland has reached unprecedented levels. Matters with which this blog is concerned – the democratisation of land relations, economic relations and political relations – now have a constituency far beyond that which existed a few years ago.
We live in very interesting times.
Meanwhile, the graph above, created by Robin Parker, highlights one of the underlying messages of Thursday’s vote. As I tweeted on Friday morning, it looks like the poorest & most disadvantaged of Scotland’s citizens have cried the loudest for change.