Welcome to second class citizenship, Scottish people. You now live in a country whose elected representatives no longer have the same rights as representatives from other parts of the UK. You now live in a country which has no say over the determination of its overall budget. You now live in a country where representatives from another member country of the UK can vote on your laws, but your representatives cannot vote on theirs because some nations are more equal than others. Welcome to the rapidly disuniting Kingdom.
During the independence referendum, Westminster vowed to Scotland that if we voted No we’d be voting for safer and faster constitutional change. And that’s exactly what’s happened. There’s safer and faster constitutional change for England. There’s safer and faster constitutional change for the Tories to screw you over. There’s safer and faster constitutional change that means Scotland is legally a second class part of the Union. That’s the only way in which the vow has been fulfilled. And there goes the Union, fulfilled safer and faster down the toilet.
The American Revolution was fought on the basis that the greatest tyranny is taxation without representation. This is a bit hyperbolic. A greater tyranny is taxation without representation and a crappy BBC weather map. The American revolutionaries didn’t have to put up with a weather map that showed the USA smaller than Belize, but even so they were so annoyed that they flung all the tea into Boston Harbour. Although to be fair that was probably because they’re Americans who think tea can be made by dunking a teabag briefly into lukewarm water. We’ve got the taxation without representation, the weather map, and on top of it all we’re governed by a man whose sexual role play is literally and not figuratively hammy.
So what happened on Thursday was that the Tory government in a fit of pettit lippedness said that it was terribly unfair that 59 Scottish MPs can gang up on 533 English MPs and pass an opinion on English legislation. Scottish MPs can’t actually impose any laws on England, all they can potentially achieve is to swing a vote for one side when the opinion of English MPs is fairly evenly divided. This is a fundilimundellly law of arithmetic which has seemingly escaped the attention of the Tory government and the massed ranks of the right wing press. What Scottish MPs can’t do to England is what English MPs can and do do to Scotland.
This is the same Tory government which has got just one MP from Scotland, which has packed the Scottish affairs committee with English MPs and which voted down every amendment to the Scotland Bill proposed by Scotland’s MPs. Scottish MPs from opposition parties having a minority influence on English laws is unfair, but English Tory MPs having a majority say over Scottish laws is the British way.
Ian Murray, the Honourable Member for Red Morningside, is really pissed off about it. He’s so angry that he didn’t even abstain this time. There was him last year, all dressed up in a Union fleg suit, campaigning for the right of the Tories to rule Scotland, and the Tories go and reward him by making him a second class MP and giving Michele Mone more rights to vote on legislation than he’s got. Ruth Davidson wasn’t so displeased, although it’s hard to say as she spent Thursday putting out tweets about Justin Bieber.
The changes mean that no Scottish MP can ever become Prime Minister, or hold one of the major offices of state. Scottish MPs will not be able to vote with their government on crucial issues which are deemed England only and you can’t have a Prime Minister who is unable to vote for his or her own government. If a Prime Minister isn’t legally allowed to vote on government policies, then that Prime Minister can have no right to determine those policies in the first place. Scotland is now a country whose elected representatives have no right to become senior members of the government that sets Scotland’s budget, that decides whether Scotland goes to war, that determines our taxes, that negotiates with foreign powers on our behalf. At a stroke Cameron and the Tories have removed the basis of the Treaty of Union. There is no Union anymore, there is only the Scotland catch’d by England and clasped tight in an asphyxiating embrace.
Even though this is the most important constitutional change since the introduction of devolution, BBC Scotland doesn’t really want to talk about it except to point out that the SNP is really bad. It was covered on the main 6 O’Clock news, where Eton school mate of Davie Cameron James Lansdale described it as an SNP grievance. It was quickly glossed over on Reporting Scotland as they already had an SNPBad story so it was squeezed between their NHS SNPBad story and something about fitba. There may have been an item about a cute little animal, but these days most of those run away and go into hiding whenever a Tory appears.
Several years ago I told a friend that Scotland will not become independent because it’s the settled will of the Scottish people. Scotland will become independent because the Westminster parties are incapable of dealing with the UK constitution in any way other than what’s in their short term party interests. The EVEL proposals have little to do with Scotland in reality, and a whole lot to do with the Tories ensuring that the Labour party will not be able to form a UK government. They’re quite prepared to ride roughshod over their precious Union in order to achieve that. All those UK media pundits moaning about a one party state were moaning about the wrong party and the wrong state.
Despite the constitutional earthquake of EVEL, this is still not the material change of circumstances we need for an indyref2. There’s only one material change of circumstances we need for that, and that’s the certainty that we’re going to win a second referendum. EVEL brings that a whole lot closer because another swathe of Scottish opinion will see that there is nothing in the Union for Scotland. The Tories will be the agents of their own constitutional misfortune. They want to solve the West Lothian Question? Scotland will solve it for them with independence.
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