Yes is consent, silence is consent, no is consent

The language of the British Government’s supposed concession to Scotland over the terms of Clause 11 of the EU Exit bill is breathtaking in its insensitivity. Insensitivity is what we have come to expect from a government which has deported British citizens of the Windrush generation and then expects them to be grateful for the supposed concession of giving them back something to which they were already fully entitled.

That seems to be something of a pattern with this Conservative government. They are stripping Scotland of something that is rightfully Scotland’s yet we are supposed to be grateful for the concession that they are only going to strip us of it in a humiliating way for a mere seven years. That’s if we believe their protestations that it’s only for seven years, and there are very good reasons not to.

What the supposed concession to Scotland actually says is that no matter what the Scottish Parliament says or doesn’t say about how UK ministers propose to use the devolved European powers that by rights ought to come directly back to Scotland, Westminster is going to interpret whatever Holyrood says or doesn’t say as consent. Look at the damage that the Tories have done in just two years, and now imagine what they can do in seven, without Scotland having any means of holding them to account.

Westminster is proposing to make an amendment to the Scotland Act which would say that with respect to devolved powers relating to retained EU law that UK ministers would only make a decision about the disposition of these powers after the Scottish Parliament has made a “consent decision”. It then goes on to define a “consent decision” as being an explicit granting of consent, a failure to grant consent, or an explicit denial of consent. To add to the insult, this amendment will naturally be pushed through the Commons without the consent of the majority of Scottish MPs. That’s how Scottish Conservatives can still tell the barefaced lie that the consent of the Scottish Parliament is still required, and tell themselves that they’re not actually lying. They’re only fooling themselves, and significant parts of the Scottish media.

Say yes, and it will be taken as consent. Say nothing, and it will be taken as consent. Say no, and it will be taken as consent. QC Jonathon Mitchell has described it as the rapist’s theory of consent.  Agree, refuse to engage, disagree. It doesn’t matter. Westminster has ruled that they all mean Scotland agrees with what Westminster wants to do.

Naturally the Scottish media is outraged by this fundamental betrayal of the devolution settlement. They are up in arms at this Conservative inspired assault on the very foundations of something that generations of Scots fought and campaigned for and wrested from a reluctant and unwilling Westminster. They’re explaining to the people of Scotland at length and in detail how what Westminster is proposing is a fundamental betrayal of both the devolution settlement and what Westminster promised the people of Scotland back in 2014. Oh wait, no. Silly me. The most important political news in Scotland today is the fact that Ruth Davidson is going to have a wean.

That’s the Ruth who stood up in Holyrood on Thursday and claimed that after the UK government has passed its EU Exit Bill, the Scottish Parliament would still have the right to consent to legislative change affecting the devolved areas currently exercised by Brussels which will be seized by Westminster. It does have that right, it’s just that absolutely anything that the Scottish Parliament says is going to be interpreted as giving consent. When yes means yes, and silence means yes, and no means yes, the right to give consent is even more meaningless than one of Ruth’s cheeky photo opportunities.

So if the Scottish Parliament were to vote that Holyrood did not give its consent to genetically modified crops, or chlorinated chicken, Westminster has just given itself the right to interpret that refusal as assent and to impose GM crops or chlorinated chicken on us anyway, telling us that we’ve agreed to it.

Yet all Holyrood is asking for is meaningful consultation and that agreement should be arrived at by mutual consent. Holyrood isn’t saying that Westminster should have no role in how these devolved issues currently exercised by Brussels should be dealt with after Brexit. It’s Westminster that’s saying Holyrood should have no role.  Remember how in 2014 we were told that if Scotland voted No we’d be a leading and loved equal partner in a family of nations, safe and secure in our membership of the EU? It turns out now that Westminster has given itself the right to interpret whatever Scotland says as whatever Westminster wants it to mean.

Some in the Scottish media are claiming that there is no popular and widespread outrage amongst the public at what they describe as highly technical and rarified changes to EU exit legislation. That’s a bit like saying that there’s no outrage from someone whose house has been burgled when you’re refusing to let them know that they’ve been robbed. The Scottish media hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to explain how the actions of this Conservative government derail and undermine the very basis of the devolution settlement, and now they’re saying that the lack of public awareness of the issue proves that they were right not to explain it. Move along, nothing to see here. It’s all just the SNP grievance mongering.

The partisan British nationalism of the vast bulk of the Scottish media stands exposed today. They are so terrified of independence, so afraid of publicising anything that explains how the actions of a UK government are damaging to Scottish interests, that they will not stand up for Scotland within the UK. Even on their own terms they are failing the people of Scotland. They might be happy with Westminster’s formula of “Yes means consent, silence means consent, no means consent”, but the rest of us aren’t.

Westminster is giving itself the power to do what it likes with the Scottish Parliament and has ruled that even an explict refusal from Holyrood will be taken as assent. It’s nothing less than a political declaration of war. Bend over Holyrood, Westminster is going to shaft you, and your refusal will count as a yes. If this isn’t the significant and material change in circumstances that the SNP manifesto of 2016 said would trigger a second independence referendum then nothing is. Enough is enough. Scotland has a choice. Independence or consenting to robbery even if we say no.

Many thanks to Phantom Power for the video. Subscribe to his Youtube channel here.

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0 thoughts on “Yes is consent, silence is consent, no is consent

  1. Yes it seems that Scotland has a choice to make it’s very serious to Scotland’s actual survival now.

    The Britnats have the backdoor key, we can’t allow them to take the front door keys and sell the house at auction for next to nothing, leaving Scotland in ruins.

    That a 100% of the media are working to silence the facts of the matter is what we need to counter at every single minute opportunity.

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  3. ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive’.

    For what it’s worth, I do not consent to any of this..

  4. Scotland must stand up against Britnat power-grabbing. The Britnat media, like Westminster brexiteers, can try and hide from the truth but the truth will find them out sooner than later.

    This is just the start. Everyone in Scotland will soon have to make a fundamental choice: independence or subjugation.

  5. I am trying to figure out what form of Weasel words will be presented when labour in Scotland follow the example of their Welsh friends .

    The only hope of saving their precious Union is for all the Unionist parties to join and assist with the closure of Holyrood that is their only solution , Labour has no influence or any chance of any so nothing lost , the Tory party never wanted it and see it as an impediment to their government in Westminster , and the liberals well we all know what they will do ,

    it probably started with Ken I don’t believe that the Scottish government has the power or competence to enact this or that , this act set the ground work .

    Labour will stab us in the back they will sacrifice Holyrood in order to stop Independence the electorate doesn’t matter but the precious bloody union does .

    Be prepared for a major betrayal by labour in Scotland led by a Yorkshire man .

  6. Well said, Paul.

    It’s appalling that Vichy Vision (and STV) and our “Scottish” press simply ignore the dreadful, Kafkaesque, anti-democratic behaviour of WM on this issue and seem only interested in Ruthie Babe’s pregnancy, with a fervour to rival that of the recent royal sprog. Given the fact she was handed her butt on a plate by the FM today, it’s hardly surprising, mind you.

    This blackout makes a mockery in particular of the BBC’s much-vaunted but delusional/hypocritical “impartiality” and “balance” which is lauded every Wednesday on Pravdasound4’s The Media Show, truly an Alternative Universe Experience with “serious” journalists from The Guardian telling us how brave and fearless they are in pursuing the truth.

    The way I’m feeling just now, North Korea has a more trustworthy media.

  7. It’s independence or bust.

    There will never be a Devo max Scottish Parliament. Only suckers believed the vow would be delivered. There will never be a federal UK. This is the fag end of the British Empire.

    It’s obvious to all but the blind that the choice is independence or a totally subjugated colony like Wales.

    The Tories are trying to reverse devolution.

    British Nationalists lies are like the rain in Scotland – ever present and you know that there is a lot more to come.

  8. Paul, you know a lot more about Spain than I do, bit there are close parallels between Catalonia and Scotland, both present and historical, political and cultural. Could it be that May is following Rajoy’s lead and is trying to goad Holyrood into UDI?
    Is that a conspiracy theory too far?
    In 2014 didn’t Ruth Davidson et al meet with the fascists of the PP to discuss strategy and tactics?

    • Yeah, Davidson met with representatives of the Partido Popular at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham in 2012.

      I don’t think May is trying to goad Holyrood into UDI. I think she’s just so arrogant that she believes she can do as she pleases and can get away with it.

      • Thats the tory conference ruth called us a burden to the state and the mail plastered it on there front page with the headline 9/10 of scots are a burden to the state.

  9. You’re right, Paul. We’d be fools to believe the Tories. Seven years? What a crooked bunch! IndyRef2 has to come soon.

    • Its direct rule presented as a gift we are not the trojans we will not be decived by English like them trying to be clever.

  10. We are at war, We have been swept aside by the English Establishment; or so they think.

    Lords and the filthy rich, and even a London Private School, are donating hundreds of thousands to SiU, to interfere with Scotland’s democracy.

    We have no time to stand and stare. Indyref 2 is NOW.
    We are being invaded.

  11. I have seldom been as enraged as I am by this … I’m speechless with fury. I agree with WGD’s comment above, I think The Maybot is just SO arrogant that she believes we’ll take this final insult lying down. Please, please let us show her how wrong she is!

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  13. Whatever Pete Wishart may say : we need Ref2 now. BBC Scotland will be profiling baby Davidson as tantamount to a royal birth in 6 months… we need to get a move on.

  14. I suspect sadly that we are walking towards the end of democracy in the UK.

    There are consequences for people who engage in such action. Indeed there are consequences for us all.

    We in Scotland are presently in a situation where depending on your view about half the country do not support the regime and the many liberties it has taken along with the great cruelties visited on the non elete.

    Many in the country even those who are politically unaware or just daft understand now that the so called newspapers and TV stations are propaganda outlets for the regime.

    The unity between the Tory party and the Labour party is very clear the anti Scottish attitude of both sets of politicians is quite evident.

    We have a government who use racism and sectarianism to nudge the lesser well read towards the direction the regime wishes to go.

    We have a government who are in bed with the flat earthers and wasp chewers of the DUP regardless of the clear dangers that could bring to peace in Northern Ireland.

    The end of democracy brings consequences for everyone from the rich supporters of SIU, to business owners to the comfortable middle class all who are quite happy with the actions of the regime.

    What happens when democracy ends? We should buy some history books and gift them to the present day decision makers.

    We can all list violence all through the world where voting was no longer an option, Africa, the middle East and nearer home Northern Ireland.

    When half, at least, of the population feel disenfranchised when people see their parliament stood down by a larger foreign government when voting no longer works what might happen to the businesses, to the wealthy supporters of SIU and to the comfortable middle class.

    You can only push a people so far, you can only cheat people so much and you can only lie to people for a limited period before you are discovered.

    I honesty fear the future if the madness of the British Nationalists is not stopped for the consequences will hurt all of us.

  15. Guilty on all three counts is what Bill Cosby’s jury decided after they asked the judge what consent meant. Is this Westminster’s attempt to drug Holyrood as a prelude to negotiate away Scotland’s fishing grounds in exchange for “passporting” for The City? Worked well for Bill Cosby… just saying… after all, rape is rape.

  16. Infuriating ain’t it? Can make a bod downright grumpy tbh. How and ever, calm and measured is the response that’s required.

    The next few months is where this was always headed from the very second Cameron’s ego and ambition outstripped his ability to deliver. Some might say, it’s where it’s been headed since long before Camo was born. But headed toward a constitutional crisis and showdown is the end destination. So calm – measured – peaceful and determined. Mmmkay?

    Westminster were always going to be Westminster and their media were always and likewise going to act as their nature demanded. They are both dysfunctional, compromised and broken. They are both rife with corruption, malpractice, patronage and greed. They are both run by sociopaths who use deluded, career minded ideologues to do their dirty work and both do so love their wee worlds and guard them jealously.

    This is going to get a lot nastier before it gets any better, but it CAN and WILL get better if the population want it enough. Also as predicted, Westminster and the meeja are doing most of the heavy lifting. For the moment… let them.

    We need these examples of Westminster’s duplicity and the media’s complicity in those actions to come to light. We need Westminster to take Holyrood to court and end the concept of parliamentary union. To literally break the union themselves. They’re doing a grand job so far. We need their arrogance and ignorance exposed for the populist audience (not everyone watches parliamentary telly). We need their lack of empathy and diplomacy to be brought fully into the light where no one can be in any doubt.

    Westminster have broken pledges aplenty over the years. It’s pretty much the way of parties and governments. Now though? Now they’re destroying the binding agreements that are the foundations of peace and political unity within their own partnership. What they do now, they do to their own populations and they do so willingly and simply to preserve themselves as a state and party political construct. They put the machinery of power and self before the well being of those in their care.

    People can and will have their say. People do have the power to change what has been done to them and to take back what has been taken away from them. There will be time aplenty to show them just what we think come the next opportunity at the ballot.

    So, timing, process, legality and then… response. (help make it a good one)

    • I have a better idea, it has to be legal, it must be democratic and the precedent is set by Westminster… simply… Holyrood legislates the following for indyref II… a yes vote counts as a yes. A no vote counts as a yes, and an abstention also counts as a yes! There can be no disputing the results when the turnout is 100% and 100% of votes cast is for independence… they must accept that, as it follows their own constitutional precedent. Simplest 😉

    • I stick to my long held assertion, Sam. By October, all will be revealed. We build the Indyref 2 campaign around that milestone. We have 6 months run up to Eurmageddon, then October to March to intensify the campaign with a Refrendum to coincide with Brexit D Day in March 2019.
      Remember project Fear?

      We’d be kicked out of the EU.
      BAE would pull out of Scotland and the MOD would not commission work from our newly stylised ‘foreign’ country?
      Our fishing and agriculture would be under the control of Brussels?
      We are too wee too poor too stupid?

      We are going to have a field day confronting the ProudScotsBut Brit Nat Fifth Column as they attempt to reiterate that we will stll be Better Off sticking with Boris and Rees Mogg’s Union.

      To resurrect Wendy Alexander’s political death sentence:- ‘Bring it on.’

      Ian Davidson will be running his whet stone along the edge of his bayonet.
      Ian Who? you ask.

      Where is the Clunking Fist now that his mortal enemies, the Blue Tories have invaded Scotland and are attempting to close our Parliament and impose Martial Law?

      Rest assured, we are not far from Commander Boris leading a flotilla of gunboats up the Forth and storming the Castle.
      No more Mr and Mrs Nice Guy.

      Leonard, Rennie, and Carlaw will head for the hills when campaigning begins.
      Can you imagine this trio defending the indefensible?
      Wha would be a traitor knave?

      • I really hope they’re stupid enough to roll out the clunking fist one more time. He’s got a lot of questions to answer on devolution and pensions from indyref1. How and ever, if they have a brain cell between them, I suspect they’ll keep him well away from the public.

        • He could perhaps explain a way the Edinburgh Schools PFI contracts while he’s at it.
          Only the crumbliest flakiest concrete sets like Public Owned concrete never set before.
          First thing on the table day one Free Scotland: drive the privateers and carpetbaggers from our land.
          I’d imagine Old Gordo and Lord Darling would gracefully decline this time.
          And Ruth will be on Maternity leave.

  17. Gordon Ross 27.04.2018 “Take it or leave it”

    “That’s the English Government ultimatum. Take more austerity and mass unemployment from endless Tory government. OR Leave the UK to Brexit alone and live happily ever after.”

    Quote from Gordon:

    “The english government doesn’t see itself equal, it sees itself superior to Scotland and it sees itself as running Scotland. Anything that Scotland decides to do will be ignored while England runs Scotland.”

    Please watch and share! Thank you!

  18. How about flooding ALL SNP politicians with a short message in their twitter feeds and mailboxes telling them you are ready? Let them know you will not roll over and will not forget one more betrayal.
    I fear for Scotland.

    Great post Paul, as usual.

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