Friday 24 December 2004

Not my job, guv!

The First Minister has opened up a good old-fashioned demarcation dispute with his southern colleagues:
“I have one message for MPs and members of the House of Lords in the other direction—and that is to concentrate on their own affairs and allow this devolved Parliament to concentrate on ours. And we in this devolved Parliament will continue as a result to ensure that Scotland is a better place in 2005.”
I don't disagree with that in principle but it's a bit rich coming from our Jack. His own government has been making extraordinary high usage of Sewel Motions. And what on earth are they you may ask. The idea goes something like this:
"the devolution of legislative competence to the Scottish parliament does not affect the ability of Westminster to legislate for Scotland even in relation to devolved matters. Indeed, as paragraph 4.4 of the White Paper explained, we envisage that there could be instances where it would be more convenient for legislation on devolved matters to be passed by the United Kingdom Parliament. However, as happened in Northern Ireland earlier in the century, we would expect a convention to be established that Westminster would not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish parliament.
The problem is that the Scottish parliament has decided to let Westminster legislate whenever, it seems, that the subject at hand is likely to get MSPs into trouble, as is noted here:
One of the most disappointing features of the current Scottish Parliament is its bastardised use of the Sewel Convention in order to avoid any hint of controversy.
I believe that I suggested before that MSPs' salaries should be cut each time a Sewel motion is adopted. Why should they receive full pay if they won't do their job?

In the meantime Jack McConnell has no business telling MPs to butt out of devolved matters if his own administration constantly runs away from controversy by passing the buck to London.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comment Stuart
Well put.

24 December 2004, 19:55:36 GMTmade on previous template: