Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Smith Commission and "The General Will"

The Smith Commission set up after the NO vote in the Scottish referendum must be the fastest  constitutional commission on record   its work on 22 October this year, and concluded its deliberations on 26 November.  It has left  some left cynics wondering if it was just a smokescreen to make sure the infamous VOW by the three main Unionist Party leaders Cameron Miliband and Clegg can at least seem to be delivered.

Wings over Scotland have come up with some interesting figures on the  Smith Commission began 

They write...

If we assume it took Sundays off that’s 30 days, and we’ll also assume it worked full eight-hour days, which gives us a total of 240 hours (though we suspect in reality it was rather less than that).
It noted that it received “over 18,000″ submissions from the general public, as well as 407 from organisations. If we divide 18,407 into those 240 hours, we learn that if the Commission did nothing other than read submissions, it would still have had to get through approximately 77 an hour.
That gives the Commission a generous 47 seconds to read and thoughtfully consider each submission, weighing up its pros and cons against the other 18,406 and contemplating how it might fit into the practical possibilities of the devolution process and whether it would be acceptable to the five political parties who were charged with reaching a compromise agreement.

I seem to remember  while at Harlech  at studding under the late and must missed Lewis Lloyd that  Jean-Jacques Rousseau. came up with the concept of the General Will

The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its formation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all public dignities, positions, and employments, according to their capacities, and without any other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents.
Rousseau also claimed that this did not mean that this the rule of the majority, but one person may have the idea that unselfishly benefits everyone.

He has been accused over advocating totalitarianism. and God knows how you sort it out,but it is clear the Smith Commission had absolutely no intention of consulting outside the Westminster and Hollyrood bubbles.

It is clear, that the Smith commission saw its remit, not to find what is best for Scotland but to find some way of getting the signatories of the VOW of the hook while muting those who campaigned for Independence.

What Smith failed to recognise is that  the YES campaign  went further than mainstream political parties and whilst I am not advocating Rousseau philosophy he should at least have listened to those who independently made submissions instead of it seems leaving them unread.

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