Resetting Gordie Broon

Gordie Broon doesn’t want Scotland to obsess about constitutional change. In this instance we can be certain that Scotland’s very own political Walter Mitty knows what he’s talking about because if you obsess over things you turn into Gordie Broon. He’s worried because it looks like the voters of Scotland are going to throw a metaphorical Nokia at the Labour party and hold a grudge against them until they’re hounded out of office forever left with nothing but a reputation for crimes against humanity and a clutch of cushy directorships, somewhat like he did with Tony Blair.

In a speech at the weekend to a hand picked audience of the dwindling band of Labour loyalists – because Gordie only speaks to folk who have been vetted and who sign an agreement not to jeer – Gordie said he wanted to press the reset button on Scottish politics and the constitution. The speech was conveniently splattered all over the BBC news so that the rest of us didn’t miss it, those of us who haven’t been vetted and are quite likely to jeer because we’ve heard this sort of guff from Gordie before.

Gordie’s announced he’s resigning as an MP, which is only making it official as he’s rarely been bothered enough about the concerns of the good people of Kirkcaldy to turn up at Westminster to represent them. But his resignation does mean that when the Smith Commission and Gordie’s vow crash and burn, Gordie won’t be there to cop the flak. He’ll be off mumbling about endogenous growth theory – which is apparently something to do with warts – on the highly lucrative corporate speechifying circuit. But at least it does mean that the voters of Kirkcaldy get the opportunity to press the reset button on their MP, and might even get one who can be arsed enough to do some work.

Pressing the reset button on Scottish politics and constitutional wrangling is entirely appropriate as reset is a good Scots word, referring to the crime of holding something which was taken by theft or by a breach of trust such as fraud or willful imposition – you know, like Labour and the other Unionist parties have done with the sovereignty of the Scottish people in the pathetic excuse for more devolution delivered by the Smith Commission. Glad you’ve cleared that up for us then Gordie. Can we call the polis now?

The Smith Commission report has been dissected and digested by everyone in Scotland with at least a passing interest in politics – which is a most of the electorate – and the general consensus of opinion amongst everyone who isn’t a Unionist politician, a wannabe Unionist politician, or an editorialist in most of the media, is “Well that’s a bit rubbish then, isn’t it.” The Smith Commission gives us the absolute minimum which the Unionists think can be fobbed off as fulfilling Gordie’s Vow – the one which promised as close to federalism as it was possible to get and full home rule.

The problem for the Unionists however is that a politically literate electorate is unlikely to be fooled by their scrawlings in crayon all over the constitutional settlement. Although to be fair, we don’t have a constitutional settlement so much as we have a constitutional campsite, complete with discarded bin bags full of devolution proposals that never got through Commons committees, and an old caravan which Labour MPs use for weekend piss ups. But the latest addition – the Smith Commission BBQ and Grill – is not going to toast the aspirations of the majority of Scottish voters who want devo max. Scottish voters know what home rule means, they know what devo max means. The Smith Commission doesn’t come remotely close.

Yesterday the Sunday Herald reported on the many and varied powers which had originally been considered as part of the Smith Commission proposals, but which were filletted at the insistence of one or other of the self-described parties of devolution. Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems spent most of their negotiating time on the phone to headquarters in London and then demanding that various powers were removed from the final report.

Labour – shamefully – demanded the removal of powers over the minimum wage. Labour would have us believe that a Westminster Parliament dominated by Conservatives and looking forward to an ever increasing number of Thatcherite Ukip MPs is going to be a better defender of the rights of the low paid than a Scottish Parliament dominated by MSPs from parties from social democratic parties. The only reason that Labour did this is its tribal hatred of the SNP.

The same goes for the removal from the Smith report of powers over the abortion law. Labour opposed devolution of this – apparently citing the spurious reason that it would mean there would no longer be a single cut off date for abortions throughout the UK. There never has been, as Northern Ireland was exempt from the original abortion law and abortion remains illegal in the province. But Labour refuses to cede powers to Holyrood simply because it hates the SNP so much. What’s in the interests of the people of Scotland don’t figure in Labour’s considerations at all. It’s the very definition of holding the voters in contempt.

But it may all be academic anyway. It needs to be stressed, repeated, and screamed from the rooftops that the Smith Commission’s proposals are merely proposals. We’ve been here before with the Calman Commission. New powers over this that and the other were announced to great fanfare, we were told that this was the devolution settlement that would finally put the issue to bed for a generation or more and Scotland could hit the reset button and get back to normal politics instead of constant constitutional wrangling. As we all know, that’s not what happened. We got devo-hee-haw instead.

Many of the Calman Commission’s proposals were removed in Commons Committees – powers which have once again surfaced as proposals in the Smith Commission. There’s no guarantee that Unionist parties which were dead set against these powers the last time are any more disposed to allow them through the Commons this time. Quite the reverse, this time Westminster is far more interested in limiting the power and influence of Scotland, or more precisely, Labour MPs representing Scottish seats, and that in turn will only hasten the day that the dysfunctional UK comes shuddering to its final unlamented demise. That will be Gordie’s real lasting legacy.

34 comments on “Resetting Gordie Broon

  1. Bamstick says:

    Pretty depressing stuff all this.
    Emigration beckons as it did for so many in the past.

    • Noel Darlow says:

      I’m quite hopeful. The referendum unleashed a surge in support for independence and that doesn’t look like it’s going away. We lost but oddly it feels like we’re in an even stronger position now. This isn’t over.

      By contrast, the NO side seems to have been badly weakened. Labour joining up with the tories as the rear end of the Better Together pantomime horse means they are done in Scotland. Once there are no national UK parties in Scotland independence would seem to be inevitable. Maybe an EU referendum will be the trigger, or further deep cuts masquerading as economic necessity.

    • wilhugs says:

      I know it is an attractive proposition, we did it. However, Scotland comes with you. Every day we’re on the internet to find out what’s happening back home. We would like to be there to go to meetings and get active in the fight, but we can’t. We have to watch from a distance. We joined the SNP, and subscribed to the National.
      Stay and fight, we will win. I hope it will be soon.

  2. andrew>reid says:

    Don’t be depressed, bamstick, ” it’ll be all right in the end, and if it isn’t all right, it isn’t the end.” The referendum was only the beginning of the end. The Smith Commission is just more proof of the workings of Westminster, and why Independence was needed. The Alliance for Scotland needs to move forward and gather in the votes next May and take it from there after setting out a manifesto with real devo-max and home rule laid out, alongside alternatives to austerity and opposition to Trident. Don’t get depressed – get defiant.

  3. hektorsmum says:

    Feel much as Bamstick but too old to emigrate, will wait to see how things go with Europe in 2017, will only be 70 then and will reconsider whether moving to a sensible country there is worth it. Gordon Brown is to put it quite strongly and arse, he always has been. As a wee boy he was over indulged, told he was clever. I have found with those super intelligent folk are actually short on common sense and he would appear that we have far too many of them in Scotland. I still am trying to work out why people who say they do not trust politicians, trusted Politicians and Gordon Brown at that. Someone who ruined the pension industry and made many much poorer than they paid for, who telegraphed he was going to sell the gold and ended up losing money on it, and worse than that bought Euro’s with it, the Euro which he would not join.
    I hear he is having a branch meeting in a Telephone Kiosk in Kirkcaldy tonight where he is expected to resign.

  4. bobsinclair2014 says:

    RESET, Definition in Scottish law:

    The receiving and keeping of stolen goods knowing them to be stolen, with a design of feloniously retaining them from the real owner.

  5. aitchbee says:

    The story in the Sunday Herald about the powers that were removed from the Smith Commission report demonstrate just how hard it will be to wrest any sort of meaningful power from Westminster. None of them want to give up one scrap of their little departmental empires.

    I really hope Labour are trounced in May – that may allow them to press their own reset button and start being an actual political party rather than just knee-jerk SNP haters. I’m not holding my breath on that one however!

  6. Jan Cowan says:

    Don’t be depressed. Be like Paul – upbeat and looking forward to the Union’s end. Keep “Gordie’s real lasting legacy” in mind.
    Another beauty, Paul.

  7. jimnarlene says:

    “We got devo-hee-haw instead.” And that’s what we’ll get this time too, just as we got in ’79.

  8. Bellacaledonia says:

    Don’t abandon hope. We can and will achieve social justice and self determination for Scotland!

  9. Michael Housman says:

    This is about the BBC’s shameful history with the referendum result and it’s attitude to Scotland generally. The author is writing a book about it and deserves support. He is appealing for crowdfunding, the first chapter is available for free online and it is a cracker. He deserves support and folk need to know about this.

  10. But this time around there’s a big difference from 1979 – a popular SNP government is in power in Holyrood – something we could only wistfully dream of in 1979. And that SNP government under Nicola is flagging up a determination to tackle the economy and equality. Meaty issues that we can get teeth into and show the electorate that there is an alternative to Westminster austerity.

    Scotland needs to show we have no demoralising chips on our shoulders. We are standing tall, and we are going to have the kind of country we want, not one dictated by unionists at Westminster. The old unionist guard is slinking off into the after-dinner circuit sunset, we just need to keep working away, and above all believing in ourselves and our potential.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. We have a great deal to celebrate this year………having made Scottish Independence a normal progression for the near future. At one time SNP members were considered crazy nuts or merely eccentric – but always a figure of fun. Now it’s a very different matter.
      Here’s to an exciting time in May!

  11. johnmcgurk66 says:

    Hi Paul your article is spot on ,I would just like to add a little statement . If the public could eat all the promises made by those at Westminster on either side there would be no need for food banks .
    That is why we need the power to make real changes in Scotland so we can DO IT OUR WAY.

  12. JimW says:

    You are quite right, Paul. Once the committees and the Lords get their way Scotland will get nothing useful, and, you can bet your last bawbee, in return for giving Scotland nothing at all, England will get its English votes for English laws. This is the payback we all feared, dressed up by the press as Westminster munificence.

    • Anton says:

      I have a problem with this. I support Scottish votes for Scottish laws as an absolute principle. Why, then, should I not support English votes for English laws?

      • Dale says:

        Because as a Scottish constituent, your representatives would no longer be able to vote on 100% of income tax. Only the setting of the band rates is actually proposed for devolution. No tax allowance powers, no power to simplify the most complex tax system in the world in Holyrood and your Westminster representative unable to vote on these things in Westminster because of the rate setting is devolved.
        You’d be taxed without representation, and we know where that leads.

      • Skip_NC says:

        In a word – Barnett

  13. Steve Asaneilean says:

    I agree – I don’t think Scottish MPs should be allowed to vote on issues in Parliament that only relate to England. They should only be able to vote on things which have not been devolved. That seems like natural justice to me. After all how would we feel if the boot was on the other foot? As far as I understand that is the stance already taken by Westminster SNP MPs and I suspect (though I am no expert on these things) that’s what happens in federal countries – so politicians in Texas don’t get to vote on the State laws of New Mexico. No brainer really.

    • Dale says:

      Given anything involving spending in England should affect the Barnett formula, and therefore the Scottish Government budget, anything involving central government spending in England does affect Scottish constituents.
      So there’s a lot less than you seem to think is actually England only, and almost all of it is more appropriately handled by local councils than Westminster.

    • jdman says:

      So how do you square that with the disgraceful and undemocratic removal of offshore fracking licences being taken away arbitrarily by the HOL from the SG?
      non interference?

      • Steve Asaneilean says:

        I don’t because I don’t think the House of Lords should exist or have any legislative function because it has no democratic mandate to do anything – even exist – and has no place in what is supposed to be a democracy.

    • Brian Fleming says:

      But the State budget in Texas is not affected by budgetary decisions by New Mexico. The UK is NOT a federation. And I don’t remember ANY sympathy from the English when their MPs decided on Scotland’s now devolved policy areas for almost 300 years. The whole West Lothian question is simply a red herring. Which brings me on to fisheries…….etc. etc. ad nauseum. The only proper solution is Independence for the constituent countries of the UK.

    • Brian Fleming says:

      ….i.e. the boot WAS on the other foot for almost 300 years, and still is, if truth be told.

  14. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Westminster Parliament by the way 🙂

  15. faolie says:

    Yep, Smith Commission a waste of time really except to show people exactly what the Unionist parties think of us. But wait until May when we send a host of these dastardly SNP MPs to the Commons and we ask, nay, demand real devo max. That’s the real beginning of the end of the Union.

  16. Stan Drews says:

    By the time the Smith Commission recommendations get through the HoP and HoL, there will be very little left of what was already something pretty inadequate. But whatever we’re left with, the MSM will still say “Vow Delivered” and it’s only the 45 who will know the truth. The vast majority of the 55 either won’t care, or will believe the MSM – like they always have done. We’ve seen it already in the last week.

  17. Gavin Barrie says:


    Concise Oxford – to set a broken bone,gems, mechanical device.
    Collins Scots – crime of receiving or selling stolen goods.

    On the death of Tallyrand ( ultra astute French Chancellor) the French King mused “I wonder what he meant ( by his death) ?”.

    So, Gordy boy, which meaning of reset are you engaging. My guess is the Scots definition.

    Gem of an article Paul.

    Any corrections to the Tallyrand reference accepted in good grace!

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