Many of us in Scotland have spent our lives avoiding the British royal family. The Windsors provoke in us a mixture of intense boredom and deep anger, a peculiar combination of emotions called banger. Which is what your head turns into whenever the bloody royals dominate the news as though their goings on were indeed news and not some species of nauseating trivial gossip propagated by sychophants who’d be as well to get that brown stain tattooed permanently on their noses. We’re looking at you Nicholas Witchell.
Anyway, in the proper news which you might have missed what with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taking the huff with the Daily Mail and the BBC, which to be honest is perfectly reasonable of them, today Scotland’s Parliament has voted by 92 to 29 not to give its consent to those parts of the UK’s EU withdrawal deal which impinge upon devolved competencies. MSPs from the Labour party, the Greens, and the Lib Dems joined with the SNP in voting against Westminster’s power grab. Only the Tories supported it. However this will not make the slightest bit of difference to what happens with the deal, which will be railroaded through anyway irrespective of the views of the Scottish Parliament whose powers and competencies are being directly affected against the will of MSPs of all parties except the Tories.
The objections of MSPs are threefold. Firstly the UK government’s withdrawal bill encroaches on devolved competencies and Holyrood does not consent to this. Secondly the UK bill makes no acknowledgement of the fact that Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU, and indeed did so by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK. Thirdly the bill is an effective power grab because powers which should be returned automatically to Holyrood from Brussels upon the UK’s exit from the EU will instead be taken by Westminster. This represents a fundamental rewriting of the devolution settlement, without any consultation with the Scottish Parliament.
Westminster’s move comes despite the solemn and heartfelt promise from the anti-independence parties in 2014 that if Scotland voted against independence, they would ensure that no Westminster government would ever be able to alter, change, or affect the powers of the devolution settlement without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament. Well I say heartfelt promise, you can’t actually make a heartfelt promise when you don’t possess a heart. The Conservative party is kept alive by the pumping of rich people’s money, which isn’t exactly the same as a functioning moral compass or the ability to tell the truth.
The legislation from Westminster runs a coach and horses through the Sewel Convention which says that Westminster will not “normally” legislate in devolved areas. This is despite the fact that the promise that this convention would be enshrined in law was one of the key commitments made by the anti-independence parties during the referendum. As we later discovered, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the changed legislation supposedly guaranteeing the rights and powers of Holyrood had no legal effect and the UK government could do whatever it pleased.
Governor General Alister Jack refused to respect the decision of Holyrood, since as far as he’s concerned it’s a decision taken by tribal elders in a glorified mud hut and the natives will do what the likes of Alister decides is best for them. “We’re respecting the result of the referendum”, said Alister, carefully not mentioning that his party isn’t respecting any of the promises or commitments that it made to win either of the past two referendums. All sales are final in Alister’s world. No guarantees, no returns. And don’t you dare think that you can complain when what you receive is an empty box when you’ve been promised that it contained a Scotland that’s an equal partner in a family of nations and a devolution settlement that can’t be altered or changed.
The Governor General took a wee break away from yelling at the servants who’ve been cleaning his pith helmet to appear at Scottish Questions in the Commons on Thursday, where he faced the ire of Scotland’s MPs. He hummed hawed and attempted a fnaugh or two when asked why it was that his government claimed a mandate to leave the EU when it received 43% of the vote in the General Election, but thinks that the SNP doesn’t have a mandate for another independence referendum when it received 45% of the vote in Scotland in that same General Election. That would be the General Election where Alister’s party campaigned on the single issue of opposing a referendum only to see its vote share drop and the loss of over half its MPs. Alister replied saying “Blah. Harrumph. Respect the referendum.” Or fnaughery to that effect. There’s being out of your depth, and there’s Alister Jack. Alister can only aspire to being out of his depth. He looks at the depth from far beneath the bottom of the Marianna’s Trench.
Westminster will proceed with its EU Bill even though all of Scotland’s MPs except seven discredited Tories will vote against it. Westminster will proceed to rip up the devolution settlement even though the Scottish Parliament voted heavily against it. This is not what Scotland was promised in 2014. The UK that we have been delivered comes as close to the promises that the Conservatives and the other anti-indy parties made to Scotland as Alister Jack does to a competent and convincing Scotland Secretary who stands up for Scotland’s interests.
The final death of a key promise which was used to persuade Scotland to vote against independence in 2014 is of course the headline story on BBC Scotland which has sent a reporter to doorstop Tory politicians to ask them how they can justify the lies that they’ve told to the people of Scotland. The reporter will badger them until they give a plausible answer to the question why they expect the SNP to abide by statements that it made during the referendum campaign of 2014 but the Conservative party thinks it should get a free pass.
Ha. Just kidding. Of course they haven’t. The headline story is about a murrdurr. Now this is of course news too. It’s sad, tragic and unfortunate whenever anyone loses their life. It’s just a shame that the murrdurr of the devolution settlement doesn’t appear to excite our national broadcaster in Scotland quite as much. But the murrdurr of the devolution settlement will be instrumental in delivering Scotland to independence. No wonder the British media in Scotland wants to distract us with nonsense about a royal family few of us care about and hopes the real murrdurr story goes away. Well it’s not going away. We’ll make sure of that.
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