Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Constitution Unit Takes Calman To Task

From the Press Association...


SCOTLAND Devolution
03 Dec 2008 - 13:37
By Katrine Bussey, Deputy Political Editor, Press Association Scotland
(ScotFile:News special)

A think-tank warned today that the final conclusions of a high-profile body set up to examine devolution "may be too restrictive".

The Calman Commission, which was tasked with looking at all aspects of constitutional reform short of independence, published its first report yesterday.

But today a university-based think-tank raised concerns about the commission's eventual findings.

Members of the Constitution Unit, an independent research centre based at University College London, argued that because the Calman Commission incorporated a wide range of views, it may end up only reaching conclusions on those issues where there was a consensus.

It said as a result of that there was a danger that the commission's work "may lead to lowest common denominator solutions".

And the unit warned: "Such solutions are unlikely to provide a compelling way forward for devolution in Scotland, or across the UK."

Because the SNP are not involved in the Calman Commission, the unit said yesterday's report "only represents half the debate".

And it added that the commission and the Scottish Government's National Conversation "needed to engage with each other to ensure that issues of great importance of Scotland and the UK as a whole are debated in a more comprehensive way".

The unit claimed the Calman Commission was "only looking at part of the picture from a unionist point of view".

It stated the composition of the commission was "entirely Scottish" and said it had "looked at devolution chiefly from the position of Scottish-UK relations, with some attention paid to English concerns".

And as a result the unit said Calman was "not a thorough consideration of the implications for England of devolution to Scotland, or questions relating to Wales, or of broader issues for the UK as a whole".

In its report yesterday the Calman Commission ruled out full financial autonomy for Scotland.

But it identified broadcasting, energy policy, animal health, firearms and misuse of drugs among a range of areas which could see further powers given to Holyrood, in an interim report out today.

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