The Scottish Parliament What has devolution ever done for us? 1.
Embed Size (px)
Transcript of The Scottish Parliament What has devolution ever done for us? 1.
The Scottish ParliamentWhat has devolution ever done for us?*
Devolution: The settled will of the Scottish people?
Health Education Local Government Law Social Work and Housing Economic Development and Transport The Environment Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Sport and the Arts
The constitution Defence and national security Foreign policy Immigration UK fiscal and monetary policyEmployment legislation Social security Transport and safety regulation Others e.g. nuclear energy, broadcasting *
*Founding principle: AccessibilityOpportunity for Members Bills
Scottish parliament TV
Cabinet and Committee meetings around the country
Founding principle: Accountability*The Scottish parliament has powerful committees.
Ministers, including First Minister are held to account at First Ministers Question Time.
In 2008, Alex Salmond was quizzed over his involvement in the new Trump golf course.
The First Minister has to account for his actions every week.First Ministers Question Time
Founding principle: Equal opportunities?*Scottish Politics, like politics elsewhere, remains dominated by white males.
34.8% of the Scottish Parliament is female, which is a higher percentage than many other parliaments. The Scottish parliament only meets during school term time and has family friendly working hours.
There are no minority ethnic MSPs.Bashir Ahmad (SNP) who died in 2009 was the first ethnic minority MSP.
Founding principle: Sharing power*
Members of the public can try to change the law via online petitioning.
In 2010, pupils from Waid Academy, Fife presented two petitions to the Scottish Parliaments petitions committee; one of school age workers and another on free access for school age children to public swimming pools.
Multi party politics*The AMS means that it is very difficult for one party to have an overall majority, unlike Westminster.
MSPs must, therefore, have dialogue and compromise in decision making.
*But smaller parties dont always do so well..The AMS does not guarantee small parties success.
In 2007, the Greens were squeezed out by the rise of the SNP.
In 2007, the Scottish Socialists imploded as its leader, Tommy Sheridan, formed a breakaway party after his court appearance.
*The Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government is the civil service of the Scottish Parliament.
It supports the Scottish Cabinet.
The Scottish Government has offices across Scotland and in Brussels.
*Ban on smoking in enclosed public spacesIn 2006, the Scottish Parliament passed a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces.
The rest of the UK has subsequently followed.Smoking ban Scotland
*No upfront tuition feesUnlike England, Scottish students at Scottish universities do not pay tuition fees.
In 2008, the SNP Scottish Government also abolished the Graduation Endowment Tax, saving students a further 2000.
*Free personal care for the elderlyAs we live longer, illnesses such as Dementia and Alzheimers have become more common.
In 2002, the then Scottish Executive introduced free personal care for all elderly people in Scotland.
Standing Up to Anti Social Behaviour*Scottish Governments have passed legislation to tackle ned culture.
The SNP Government intends to end supermarket alcohol promotions and restrict the marketing of alcohol.Minimum Pricing of Alcohol
Anti-Racism*One Scotland is the Scottish Government campaign designed to tackle racism.
It aims to raise awareness of racist attitudes, highlight its negative impact and recognise the valuable contributions that other cultures have made to our society and make Scotland no place for racism.
*Limits to Scottish influence: ImmigrationImmigration remains a power reserved to the UK Parliament.
There have been a number of high profile deportations from Scotland.
The Calman Commission proposes greater consultation between Westminster and Scottish authorities on immigration policy.The Glasgow Girls campaign
*Nuclear PowerScotlands two nuclear power stations are due to be modernised in the next few years.
Energy is a reserved power.
But, Planning is a reserved power and the SNP is against nuclear power.
Who will win this stand off?
Foreign Policy*Post devolution there have been Scottish troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Scottish Parliament can discuss foreign policy but it has no decision making powers.
But, Justice is a devolved powers and decisions made by Scotlands Justice Secretary can have a major impact on UK foreign policy.
In August 2009, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill released convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. He was diagnosed as having terminal cancer with an expected three months to live.
Lockerbie bomber freed
Revenue RaisingAt present, the Scottish Parliament can vary income tax levels by 3p in the . It has no powers over VAT.
No Scottish Government has ever used its income tax varying powers.
Some people are in favour of Fiscal Autonomy.
Fiscal Autonomy would mean that instead of Scotland receiving the block grant from the Westminster, as at present, the Scottish Parliament would receive all taxation levied in Scotland and would then make payment to the UK government to cover Scotland's share of the cost of providing UK services.
They feel that Scotland, particularly at a time of Westminster-led budget cuts, would be better off. Some economists and politicians disagree though, claiming Scotland would be worse off.John Swinney, Finance Secretary, in favour of Fiscal Autonomy
*Learning Intentions: To examine areas where the Scottish Parliament has made a difference to the lives of Scottish citizens.*The late Labour leader John Smith described devolution as the settled will of the Scottish people. He believed that the creation of a Scottish parliament would offer Scots the best of both worlds; control over the most immediate affairs, yet within the overall security of the UK.
This may yet be the case. Most voters in Scotland voted for pro-UK parties in the 2007 Scottish elections. But there are undoubtedly tensions. The emergence of the SNP as the largest party in Scottish local government shows that there is a mood for change. It is likely that the SNP government will test the limits of Scottish decision making.*The Scottish Parliament has set itself ambitious aims. Its Founding principles are:Accessibility
MSPs can organise members Bills on issues they feel strongly about. Green MSP Patrick Harvie successfully had his Offences (Aggravation By Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill passed in the Scottish Parliament. This changes the law regarding attacks on people motivated by prejudice.The Scottish Parliament has become a world leader in e-democracy. Parliamentary debates are webcast live on the parliaments state of the art Holyrood tv. Minutes of debates and committee meetings can be downloaded by the media and the public. Petitions to the Parliament can be submitted online via the Parliaments website. The Scottish Parliament welcomes visitors seven days a week. There is a creche facility for those wishing to take part in parliamentary business. The Scottish Parliaments Visitor Services team provides free tickets for committee meetings and parliamentary debates. The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) provides an impartial research service, offering advice on issues such as freedom of information and data protection. In 2009, the Scottish Cabinet held five meetings outside Edinburgh over the Parliament's summer recess period, in Dundee, Melrose ,Stornoway, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
*AccountabilityParliamentary procedures, such as First Ministers Question Time and the powerful committees the engine room of the Parliament hold the Scottish Executive to account. First Minister Henry McLeish had to resign in 2001 after a scandal over office expenses. It is widely believed that the grilling by Conservative leader David McLetchie at First Ministers Question Time led to his resignation. Parliamentary procedures, such as First Ministers Question Time and the powerful committees hold the Scottish Executive to account. First Minister Henry McLeish had to resign in 2001 after a scandal over office expenses. It is widely believed that the grilling by Conservative leader David McLetchie at First Ministers Question Time led to his resignation. Ironically, David McLetchie himself was forced to resign as leader of the Scottish Conservatives in October 2005 when evidence of his alleged misuse of taxi expenses was unearthed by the media. This would not have been possible without the Scottish Parliaments Freedom of Information Act. First Minister Alex Salmond has had to justify his actions to parliament over the proposed Donald Trump golf course in Aberdeenshire.
The Scottish Parliament in its operation and its appointments should recognise the need to promote equal opportunities for all. To some extent has been a success.
Parliament is said to be family friendly with opening hours as per a normal business There is a crche. Recesses are timed with school holidays.
The Scottish Parliament has 45 female MSPs out of 129 (34.8%) (July 2010).The Labour party has the greatest gender balance, with 50% of their MSPs being female. In the Conservatives, leader Annabel Goldie heads five female Tory MSPs, (just over 31%). Perhaps most surprisingly the Liberal Democrats have only two female MSPs, (12.5%). In