The Scottish government has confirmed to The Herald that the repatriation from Scotland to London of powers to control the subsidies for renewable energy development will go ahead, whether Scotland votes for independence or not.
Today’s Herald, Sunday 27th January, reports that the Energy Bill, now on passage through Westminster, will see no more than a consultative role for the Scottish Government, devolved or independent, in setting these subsidies.
As The Herald points out, this gives Westminster control over whether or not Scotland will meet its target of providing 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
Yet the Scottish government has been explicit in telling The Herald that it does not anticipate setting up an independent subsidy regime in an independent Scotland; and that it sees the arrangements proposed in the Energy Bill as of benefit to ‘all GB customers’.
The Herald wonders if this unexpected subordination is a move by the Scottish government to escape from electoral responsibility for the subsidies that will drive electricity prices ever higher.
We’re intrigued by the quoted mention from the Scottish government source of the Bill’s measures being of benefit to ‘all GB customers’ – given that the remark was looking to the future.
This information comes within a couple of days of the SNP’s defence spokesperson at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, floating the benefits of a ‘common airforce’.
These two recent propositions leave the SNP’s vision of an ‘independent’ Scotland, to date, as including:
- the Monarchy, with the Queen as Head of State;
- the pound sterling as our currency;
- the Bank of England as our fiscal policy controller and lender of last resort;
- a common airforce;
- a common subsidy regime for renewable energy;
- British passports;
- British driving licences;
- British defence bases…
The question is obvious: ‘What’s independent about this?’.
The reality is that we’ve already got all of these things – and more – so why put ourselves in a position where we have to ask for them?
We’re wondering if today’s revelation by The Herald is the Plan MacB the First Minister has always denied having.
The SNP’s envisaged situation post 2014 – largely but not exclusively listed above – would see Scotland as effectively no more than a rather more independent member of the UK than at present: the federalist solution.