NI likely to follow cautious Scottish approach to the future

The interim report by Sir Kenneth Calman’s commission on the future of Scottish Home Rule slaps down right away the idea of full financial autonomy – i.e. a new ability of Scotland Wales and NI to raise and spend their own taxes. The analysis undermines any faint notion that the devolved bodies -like ours – can present themselves as the rulers of a virtually sovereign state. Economic and much social policy will continue to be shaped at Westminster though almost certainly with more formal links with the devolved institutions. Although the Calman report is the pro-Union version of the future and the final report will present more detailed options next year, not everyone on that side of the argument is happy with its cautious approach to local taxation. And predictably the SNP First Minister dismissed Calman as “ a constitutional mouse”. The NI Executive harbour no great ambitions for new local taxation, to put it mildly. They face the prospect of swingeing cuts from 2011. In the meantime, they know all too well on which side their bread is buttered, as you can see in the table in the Calman document of public spending per head per region. £/head 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007-08

England 5,522 6,026 6,442 6,802 7,076 7,535
Scotland 6,696 7,213 7,458 8,077 8,544 9,179
Wales 6,515 6,945 7,315 7,796 8,172 8,577

Northern Ire 7,437 7,868 8,294 8,672 8,990 9,789

UK 5,726 6,225 6,624 7,012 7,308 7,790

  • Dewi

    Strangely enough I think the lack of fiscal autonomy has a bad effect on the political cultures of the nations. Whole generations of politcians are arising without the essential economic discipline necessary to run a country.

    “No representation without taxation” Too coin a phrase.

  • The Lib Dem quote is hilarious.

    “My heart sinks. How could they do this? The whole point of our view is fiscal autonomy. How can we have any faith in the rest of this exercise? Ruling this out runs against everything I believe in.”

    The whole point is that your view is stupid and will damage the Union, now fuck off!

  • Dewi

    “The Lib Dem quote is hilarious”

    Not perhaps to the Scottish Lib Dem party. They’ve been strung along. I wonder about their long term future – traditionally a quasi nationalist party.

  • Greenflag


    ‘Whole generations of politicians are arising without the essential economic discipline necessary to run a country’

    Indeed Dewi – however it does not necessarily follow that the acquisition of ‘independence’ will necessarilly produce politicians with ‘economic ‘ discipline . Might improve the odds though 😉

    There is of course the bigger question of whether or not states in this globalised world can ever be truly sovereign in the traditional sense in which that concept is held . We in the Republic are independent up to a point . Perhaps in the end that is all that’s needed.