The Strathclyde Commission report, 15 months in the making and repeatedly delayed, is just 16 pages long. We’re not too sure what the team did for 14 months and three weeks of that time, because in essence the report is the executive summary of Scottish Labour’s “Powers For A Purpose” paper with a couple of numbers changed.
So rather than bore you by going through it making all the same arguments that we made about the Labour report again, we’re going to keep it short.
1. The Tories never expect to control the Scottish Parliament. They expect, quite reasonably given that Scotland hasn’t voted Tory for almost 60 years, that for the forseeable future it will always be controlled by either the SNP or Labour.
2. Therefore, it’s not in the Conservatives’ interests to ever do anything to make it stronger, because all it’s ever likely to do is get in the way of a Tory government at Westminster and cause trouble.
3. Therefore, anything the Tories actually propose will in fact be designed to have the effect of weakening the Scottish Parliament so that it can be less of thorn in Westminster’s side. This isn’t particularly evil, just sensible, pragmatic politics.
(In this particular case, the mechanism of weakening is to impose a large burden of additional and pointless bureaucracy in order to administer an abstract and unusable “power” and put extra strain on the Scottish budget, limiting its ability to introduce or maintain social-democratic policies at odds with Tory ideology.)
There you go. Now for a sandwich.