Saturday, 23 July 2011
This Man Is So Politically Stupid
There's no organisation anywhere in the world quite like the Crown Estate. That's its boast on its website where it also states the board members are appointed by Buckingham Palace.
The assets of the Crown Estate, dates back to 1066 and have a sordid history of plunder, treason and murder, yet we ignore the reasons how monarchs through the ages gained their money. Now, although still belonging to the monarch and inherent with the accession of the throne, it's no longer the private property of the reigning monarch and can't be sold by him/her. The monarchy, in return for an annual grant, surrenders surplus revenues to the Treasury.
Its one of the largest property owners in the UK with a portfolio worth £7 billion.
The marine estate includes over half of the UK's foreshore, tidal riverbeds and almost all of the seabed within the 12 nautical miles limit, including rights to all minerals but excluding hydrocarbons.
The Scottish government wants its fair share of the profits from the marine estate, particularly since Scotland has two-thirds of the UK's coastline. Surely, now there is a devolved parliament in Scotland, it's only common sense to give the nation the earnings from their part of the marine estate?
But no. Danny Alexander - how did this man ever become so powerful? - announced in a speech in Stornoway, a new fund which would, using Crown Estate profits, give help to coastal communities. Charities and community groups are expected to benefit and will receive half the Crown Estate's marine revenues in Scotland which amount to £4 million a year but are likely to rise to around £40 million by 2021.
John Swinney, the Finance Secretary responded:
"... by accusing the Treasury of try-ing to “buy off Scotland’s coastal communities by offering them only 50% of their own resources” and said “this paltry announcement does not go nearly far enough”. source
Danny Alexander admitted the move was not to halt the SNP plans when he said:
"No, not at all. This is some- thing I have been committed to for some time. I started discussing the work here last summer. This is an attempt to set out a policy I care about and the UK Government is committed to. The SNP have put forward a proposal and we are considering it but this is a better way forward for the communities in Scotland.”
So Danny Alexander has had this new fund in planning while the Scottish government have made, what I would think are several, efforts to gain what rightly belongs to Scotland. Where's Dave's coalition mantra of 'transparency and openness'?
What does that say about the Westminster government and the political astuteness of Danny Alexander in particular?
But that's not the end of the story. Danny Alexander stated the fund would be administered by the Big Lottery. I have experience of applying for Big Lottery funding and it's a very time consuming task which does need some legal input. Is it right that communities have to compete for money which could be distributed far more easily by simple arithmetical calculations? I think not.
It's also shameful that Danny Alexander's fund will only proffer 50% of the actual income from the Scottish marine estate although, to be fair, highland communities are delighted because they've had no financial payback from their work.
Am I angry? You bet and I would like to think that Alex Salmond and his government will use the arrogance of Danny Alexander saying he'd had the idea in mind when he's had several meetings with the Scottish government and not uttered a word.
Do I believe him? Of course not. He's stupid and has shown that David Cameron's 'respect' agenda is a lie. The man's a stool pigeon of Westminster's coalition government.