6.31 The Independent Expert Group concluded that to the extent that a region with full fiscal autonomy is to all intents and purposes independent, full fiscal autonomy is not consistent with the maintenance of the Union; the Commission agrees.- Calman Commission, First Report, Page 64
However, as this post on the Tartan Army Message Board makes clear, the former part of that sentence would then mean that the following British Crown Dependencies and UK Overseas Territories have just been declared independent by the Calman Commission because they have fiscal autonomy:
full fiscal autonomy is not consistent with the maintenance of the Union" - that gives the game away for the above dependencies and territories are not part of the UK whilst remaining united with the UK.
It is a case that shows that the Calman Commission is not addressing the issue of unity but retention of the constitutional legal position that retains power at Westminster.
It is avoiding addressing the issue of what is best for Scotland in terms of taxation but what is best in retaining the constitutional status quo of power at Westminster. It allows for the continuation of taxes to be set at Westminster regardless of whether their effect would be detrimental or beneficial to Scotland.
Since none of the examples above send MPs to Westminster it is retaining the partisan position that is the priority for the political parties involved.
However even that position is not under threat when one considers that the dependencies and territories pay for those matters they do not exercise such as defence and foreign affairs. The question could be asked why they are not given that privilege to send MPs to Westminster to represent them on those issues?
As Kenny Farquharson points out - "Calman seems determined to take on a bigger challenge – a constitutional version of the Theory of Everything". So if Calman can extend his remit why has he not addressed that issue unless it is to focus on retaining the Westminster power status quo?
And even if it were just to focus on Scotland as a part of the core state why is the Basque model of fiscal autonomy overlooked? Is it because such examples would embarrass the participating parties who have tried to argue that no such examples exist (even although they do within the British orbit)?
*** UPDATE ***
Interesting to see that Gordon Brown thinks "tax competition" is a good thing even within states.
"Competition between tax systems exists in the United States of America even where they have not just a single currency but a federal state. So far from the single currency requiring tax harmonisation, it is becoming generally recognised that tax competition is an essential element of the economic reform agenda. It can encourage innovation and thus more efficient ways of raising revenues; can help cut through bureaucracy and reduce compliance costs; and while tax competition must be fair and above board - the UK is working with our international partners to root out unfair and discriminatory tax competition - tax competition allows governments to respond to national preferences on the role, structure and aims of taxation."So why the foot dragging on matters fiscally Scottish since, in his own words, it can "encourage innovation and thus more efficient ways of raising revenues; can help cut through bureaucracy and reduce compliance costs; and ... allows governments to respond to national preferences on the role, structure and aims of taxation."