Cameron’s EVIL statement
Within hours of the independence referendum declaration giving the Unionists victory, David Cameron, acting on the advice of the UK government Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood and ignoring warnings, pleas from “Better Together” campaigners not to do so, went ahead and declared that English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), would be proceeded with at the same time as processing the “Vow”.
The announcement prompted the SNP Government to accuse Cameron of reneging on the “Vow” and in the weeks following the SNP surged in the polls. By mid-December the SNP were 20% ahead of Labour Party. A SNP landslide victory was predicted in the next General Election .
Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, who was denied sight of Cameron’s statement before the announcement said “it was an appalling episode … He went from being a prime minister who had absolutely done the right thing in the national interest to making a very partisan judgement on behalf of the Conservative party, that’s how it felt to me”. Adding: “talk about trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What it did was just give the nationalists a whole grievance agenda from a minute after the result was declared. It was just dreadful”.
It was revealed in early December that during the referendum campaign the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, had commissioned a poll on the “West Lothian question”, in England, at a cost of cost around £600,000.
The data collected found that 53 per cent of voters in England supported the concept of not allowing Scottish MPs in the UK Parliament in Westminster to vote on issues that did not impact on Scotland. 23 per cent opposed the idea and 24 per cent who did not know.
The also found that 44 per cent supported the concept of giving more decision making powers on issues such as tax, education, policing to big cities and regions in England with 40 per cent agreeing with the need for a fully-fledged English Parliament.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary, UK Government
Heywood’s name was in the thoughts of many political commentators as revelations surfaced of his “Svengali” like power over Westminster politicians. Having been in post at the time Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron were in control of UK Government’s he was aware of all their political wrong doings himself having discharged an executive role in many of the events. Ultimte unfettered power was his, gained, retained and exercised through knowing where skeletons were buried.
Many claims have been made that the 2014 independence referendum was won for the Unionists by the “Better Together” Campaign. It wasn’t. Heywood was the driving force behind Westminsters aasult on the “Yes” campaign.
Reporting only to David Cameron, and armed with an unlimited financial budget, Heywood, created a “defence of the Union” team comprised of around a dozen of his most talented senior Civil Servants.
They were removed from from all other duties for 6 months before the referendum and functioned out of the Cabinet Office. Their “dirty tricks” spoilers were a major contribution to the successful campaign and they were given due recognition and were well rewarded for their efforts.
A few examples of Heywood’s insidious artistry in the 2014 independence referendum:
The Queen’s “off the cuff” remark to one of her “specially placed” subjects at Balmoral four days before the referendum where in answer to a query about the future she said: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.” This was a Heywood inspired intervention. He had contacts in high places.
Contacting Heads of State world-wide seeking their public support encouraging Scots to remain with the union.
Covering up the illegal release by a Civil Servant of a confidential document from the Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael’s office detailing malicious and untrue allegations about Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador to Scotland.
Another Heywood inspired spoiler. A week before the referendum the Royal Bank announced that it would move its legal headquarters to England in the event of a “Yes” vote boosting the Unionist cause.
The announcement was released apparently following a specially arranged board meeting. And this from a bank the subject of bail-outs, mis-selling scandals, lavish bonuses for most of the six years that RBS had been majority-owned by British taxpayers.
Alex Salmond was furious and demanded that the “Treasury leak” of the RBS plan be investigated. But the timing of the leak which was accompanied with similar statements by Lloyds Banking Group, TSB and Clydesdale threatened to deflate the argument of the SNP that the economy of an independent Scotland would be sustainable.
He organised a “breakfast meeting” at Downing Street attended by the captains of British industry together with the chair’s and chief executives of many large businesses.
Right after which he arranged the distribution of a “letter from industry” signed by all of those in attendance warning Scots of the many pitfalls that would accompany independence and warned that there would be a major shift of industry away from Scotland.
Jim Sillars was furious and accused the signatories of “subverting Scotland’s democratic process” by making high-profile interventions in the independence referendum debate.
He also warned that Oil giant BP would face nationalisation in an independent Scotland and greedy bankers’ would be called to account for their abuse of the nations financial assets.
In Jun 2014, in a blatant political move just weeks before the Scottish referendum Heywood arranged for the Grangemouth plant to receive a £230 million UK Treasury loan guarantee from the UK Government.
The plant owner Ineos intended to build Europe’s largest ethane storage tank, with the loan also allowing the construction of an import terminal to process ethane from shale gas shipped from the US.
The Electoral Commission for Scotland
The Electoral Commission (EC) for Scotland a supposedly impartial organisation was formed in 2001 with a mandate that included, increasing public participation in democracy and regulating political donations. The role was further strengthened adding security arrangements for postal voting and a number of investigatory responsibilities.
The guarantee of a strictly impartial Commissioner and support team was crucial to the success of the new organisation and John McCormick, employed by the strictly unbiased BBC for 34 years, as Secretary then Controller of BBC Scotland, 1992-2004 was appointed to the post of Commissioner in 2008.
But the failings of the EC were soon exposed following a number of Scottish elections in which there were tens of thousands of claims of electoral fraud, voters being turned away from polling stations and an insufficient number ballot forms.
The Glenrothes by-election of 2008 was one such fiasco where the boxes containing the counted votes went missing, preventing a recount, where the by-election victor held his seat.
In the 2014 referendum Clackmannanshire voted “no” which was a body blow to the “yes” campaign since it had been accepted the electorate was pro-independence.
Its recently appointed Counting Officer and Council Chief Executive, Elaine McPherson, who surprisingly resided in Cheshire, England, was a former business partner of the master of shady deals, Sir Philip Green, the notorious British tycoon and die-hard Zionist-for-Empire-and-Austerity.
Mary Pitcaithly, a senior Civil Servant and Unionist was appointed Chief Counting Officer, of the independence referendum.
A qualified corporate lawyer she was second chair of the “Queen’s High Commissioner” Arbuthnot Commission which considered and recommended controversial constituency boundary changes and voting systems in Scotland.
She then joined the Tory/Labour coalition in 2012 and played a major role in the organisation of the anti SNP “spoiler” Unionist biased Bannockburn 700 celebrations.
In her referendum brief to the public she stated that there would be no national recount even if the result was close.
The referendum held in September 2014 wasn’t so much an electoral process as an unfettered festival of jiggery-pokery and gerrymandering Conspiracy!!!!! witnessed by the triumphalist behaviour of Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Tories who claimed minutes after the outcome of the referendum that she and many Unionist campaigners within the “Better Together” group were aware that they had won the referendum before the 18th of September which meant that they had to have had access to the postal votes which were supposed to have been held secure until after the live voting had concluded at 2200 hours on the 18th of September.
Davidson was interviewed by the police but the public were not informed of the outcome of their investigations.
The Smith Commission
Core structures & desired outcomes
Civil servants worked effectively to construct an intelligible process that established and maintained momentum and reached a conclusion by the agreed deadline.
The deal reached created the potential for policy divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK, symptomatic of the shift to competitive but restricted welfare federalism.
The UK government,though not formally present at the negotiations exerted considerable control feeding their policy preferences into the Commission and shaping an outcome that fitted their preferences.
From Whitehall, the short-term political agenda was driven by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jermey Heywood, who claimed to be serving the political agenda of the UK Goverment.
The Treasury bowed to political realities in the short-term, confident of its ability to reassert its authority in the more technical negotiations that to follow the Commission’s conclusions
The outcome of the Commission most closely reflected the preferences of the Conservative party.
Both Conservative members of the Commission claimed, in interviews, that they had successfully “delivered Strathclyde” (the Conservative’s devolution proposals were the result of an internal party commission that was informally named the Strathclyde Commission, after its chair).
The Conservatives, a party who opposed Scottish Home Rule through to the 1960s and Tony Blair’s devolution proposals in the 1990s had managed to find a middle ground between the maximalist position of the SNP and Labour’s proposals. The intellectual argument had been won by the better politically equipped Conservatives.
The technical success of the Smith Commission in that it reached an outcome by the agreed deadline came at the expense of ambition and detail.
In order to secure a minimum level of agreement in a short space of time, certain contentious or complicated issues remained unresolved. The result was a terse report with a low level of analysis and argument.
The devolution of welfare was not sufficiently explored and thought through, and the discussion was ultimately cut short not only by the time pressures limiting the extent of the engagement by Scotland’s academic and third sector but also by the recurring intervention of the Cabinet Secretary in London.
The report also relied on abstract concepts such as the principle of “no detriment” that required subsequent inter-governmental negotiations to give it substance.
A short-term fiscal framework was agreed in February 2016, but negotiations afterwards were punctuated by the intransigence of the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell who laboriously insisted on conducting a long drawn out campaign of delaying tactics aimed at reducing devolved powers.
The Smith Commission was a political fix in the guise of an investigation. Its predetermined task, which it accomplished, was to put together a package of powers that could be presented as delivering a ‘powerhouse’ Holyrood. This neutralised the heat of the referendum battle by creating some legitimacy and consensus around the next stage of Scotland’s devolution journey. Its report was simply a checklist of agreed points and mentions of unresolved issues.
The source document is well worth a long read (https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/322480365.pdf)