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.
Thank you.
best wishes
Andy Wightman

15 Comments

  1. William Whitelaw

    Two very good ideas.

    We hold our fellow citizens in “Honour” and “Dignity” when we know, in our hearts, that they have earned it . No one who truly has these qualities seeks a badge.

  2. Short and to the point, Andy, if less ambitious than I would have hoped. However, I strongly agree with you on both the issues you raise. Let’s wait and see, while they strain and strain, whether they will be delivered of a gnat – or a midge.

  3. Thanks Andy for pointing out the thoughtful submission by the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

    All look to support the proposition that the Crown Estates should be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.

    BTW I take it that the map is the Crown Estates pertaining to Scotland?

  4. Margaret Gardiner

    I agree with & support both your proposals although I would go further as I am sure, would you, given the time.

  5. Whilst on the subject of honours and dignities, one irritant that has been smouldering away for years is what to do with the Duke Of Sutherland statue, whilst Highlanders exercise their own view of it when they happen to go past (have you ever smelt the eyesore if it has’nt rained for a few days ?!…), something more permanent could be done ; I’d suggest a quick Act of the Scottish Parliament followed by the people pulling it down in the same manner that the self-liberating people’s of the old Soviet Bloc & Ukraine pulled down the Statues of tyrants such as Lenin,Stalin & Marx – followed of course by a big Highland rave – up to be held on the fallen statue which can be left in a symbolic position !

  6. Short and totally missing the point.

    Abolishing honours and dignities (and passing Acts of Parliament to demolish statues) is meaningless gesture politics: the day after the party, nobody’s life has changed. The Crown Estate is fair enough but is it so important to merit mention instead of other more pressing issues? (If it is, why?)

    If you only had time for a back of a fag packet submission wouldn’t “Scotland to be given power to introduce Land Value Tax to progressively replace other taxes and also control over welfare benefits” have been more to the point?

    Also Andy, did you have any input into the STUC submission? It’s just I noted they headlined two of your hobbyhorses – Crown Estate and inequities of land ownership (not things you normally associate with the trade union movement!) – ahead of things like devolution of employment, health & safety and trade union law.

    • If you don’t see the point in abolishing the largest and most influential unelected parliamentary chamber in the world, I think you need to visit an optician. I’d remind you that this is the house where any wealthy individual with an axe to grind can buy a seat by making a lavish donation to a political party, and where the linear descendants of our most vicious robber barons rub shoulders with the representatives of England’s state superstition, and with those Labour politicians who were so unbelievably shite that even the Scottish electorate couldn’t be herded in to vote for them.

      It is a scandal, and a scandal that rules over us.

  7. how can our young people look up to our heads of state and think ‘i want to be there one day’? This country has all these positions of influence preserved exclusively for a small number of families. Land hording and wealth hording. We as a nation need to strip all this out, then our people can start to move up the health and happiness league tables.

  8. Statues like the duke of sutherland are dotted all over the landscape.
    Erected by subscription of the “grateful tenants” who either paid up or packed up.