THE Smith Commission has proposed, with the support of all the major parties, that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to set income tax rates and bands, and that a share of VAT should be assigned to the parliament, with Air Passenger Duty fully devolved.
The Scottish parliament will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland.
The parliament will have powers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections and be given powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare.
The deal comes as a result of the huge shock the UK ruling class received during the recent independence referendum in Scotland, when the working class and its youth in Glasgow and Dundee, voted for independence and to break completely with the Tories, while the traditionalist nationalist vote drew back – Salmond did not even win in his own area!
The unwritten part of the deal is that, in return for more concessions to the nationalists, in the UK parliament there will also be a new deal, in that English MPs alone will vote on matters that affect England, such as the NHS, state education etc.
Tory Secretary of State for Scotland (where there is just one Tory MP), Alistair Carmichael, told MPs in the House of Commons: ‘Having a more powerful Scottish parliament inside a strong United Kingdom will open the door to more constitutional change in the United Kingdom. We can achieve home rule all round.’
Cameron followed up by stating that proposals for English MPs to vote on English laws were to be published before Christmas, when they will then be available to be voted on, probably at the same time as the general election.
Smith’s recommendations will form the basis of draft legislation due to be published by January 25, with the main parties at Westminster pledging to take it forward, regardless of who wins the UK election, in May 2015.
The split-and-divided Tory party, which is now losing by-elections in the run-in to the general election is embarking on a course of action that will allow it, alongside UKIP MPs, to dominate English-only MP votes, and to thumb its nose at an elected Labour UK government in 2015, by organising the majority of English MPs to vote for Tory policy.
The Tories are planning another £30bn of cuts after the 2015 general election as well as to proceed with the privatisation of the NHS.
If they lose the election, alongside UKIP and other parties, they could still have a majority in an English ‘Home Rule’ parliament for continuing with their policies, huge cuts and all, despite the fact that they are no longer the government of the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
That this situation will make for a first class constitutional crisis is obvious.
A UK Labour government, that does not rule in England, where 80% of the population live, in a situation where workers will greet a Labour victory in the UK as the signal to make a gigantic push forward to recover the wages and the jobs that were lost in the years following 2008, will not just make for a constitutional crisis, it will make for the biggest revolutionary crisis since the 1640s.
This is the situation that is now fast approaching and in which the working class and the majority of the middle class will have no option, if they want to recover their lost living standards, but to rise up in revolutionary action (like their brothers and sisters did in Scotland recently) to bring down any ‘Home Rule’ ‘English’ government to create the conditions for the working class throughout the UK to take the power.
After all, the current desperate crisis of the Tory Party, and the concentrated treachery that is the Labour Party and the trade union bureaucracy, are both an expression of the fact that British capitalism has reached the end of the road and is rotten ripe to be overthrown and replaced by a UK Workers Republic and socialism.
This is a task that only the working class can perform. This is why its revolutionary leadership must be built up in leaps and bounds as the crisis intensifies!