Stick it where the EVEL doesn’t shine

Time is running out for an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Treasury on a financial settlement for Scotland. Now Labour has accused the SNP of creating an artificial deadline, because Labour are taking the side of the UK Treasury in this process. The discussions relate to the much hyped new tax responsibilities which Westminster wants to foist on Scotland in lieu of a proper devolution settlement, tax responsibilities which Governor General Fluffy Mundell gleefully described as a trap for the Scottish Government.

The trap is that Westminster wants to force the Scottish Government to raise income tax in order to protect public services. Westminster has refused to devolve any other major tax, and it’s not accidental that the one major tax for which they are willing to give partial control to Holyrood is the tax which has the greatest direct impact on the wage packets of ordinary working people. Westminster is keeping its paws firmly on taxes on businesses. They hope that they can force Holyrood to raise taxes on working people, which will then cause fewer voters to give their support to the SNP and to turn to the Tories instead.

Saving the Union and increasing Conservative support in Scotland in one. It’s yet another example of Westminster treating Scottish devolution as an instrument of short term party political advantage instead of trying to respond honestly to the aspirations and desires of the Scottish people. Everything about previous devolution settlements has been about short term Unionist party political advantage, and everything about the latest settlement is too.

The thing about traps is that you’re supposed to keep your trap shut about them. Traps work because they’re a deception, because they’re hidden. Putting a big advertising sign on your trap, like Fluffy did when he gleefully announced in the press that the UK Government had created a cunning trap, stops your trap from being a trap. It turns it into a roadblock. No sensible person is going to walk willingly into a trap when the trap setters have told them that it’s a trap.

Now Labour and the Tories are complaining that the Scottish Government is proving reluctant to walk into the trap. How very dare those evil nationalists. It’s entirely unreasonable to demand that when Scotland gets a devolution settlement that it should be a settlement to benefit the people of Scotland. Everyone who is anyone, and that would be anyone who is a Unionist politician because they’re the only ones who count, knows that it’s totally unreasonable to expect a devolution settlement to benefit anyone who isn’t a Unionist politician.

Labour is upset because the deadline imposed by the Scottish Government is looming, and it’s now looking as though no agreement will be reached. The deadline exists in order to give the Scottish Parliament ample time to debate the agreement before the May elections and if there hadn’t been sufficient time to debate it in full, Labour would have been amongst the loudest at complaining.

Personally, I’d be quite happy if there was no agreement. The Scotland Bill is the homoepathic remedy to the demand for real devolution, so watered down that it no longer contains any real devolution at all. All it contains is the appearance of devolution, an empty tartan box with more powers written on the side by Davie Mundell.

We started off with the infamous vow which waffled its way onto the front page of the Daily Record. The vow was phrased in a vague way to allow it to be presented as substantial powers, as home rule, as the nearest thing to federalism possible, without the Unionists having to commit to anything much at all. It was a lie from the start. Then during the succeeding Smith Commission the Unionists did all they could to remove what little of substance remained. Abortion? Oh no, you can’t have control over that. Scots are primitives who need Westminster to show them what is civilised behaviour. Trade Union rights? Oh no, you can’t have control over that. Scots might end up protecting the unions from the depredations of the Tories. We’ll let you have roadsigns, as long as you promise not to put Gaelic on them.

Smith was supposed to be the Unionist parties’ response to the referendum campaign. They’re refusing to give any response at all to their pandafication during the following general election. They don’t want anyone to intrude on their private grief at being reduced to a single representative each.

So instead of them taking the election of 56 SNP MPs as a warning from Scotland that we expect the Unionist parties to be serious about their promises for the most devolved parliament in the world, for home rule, for devo max, for the nearest thing possible to federalism, what we got was EVEL and Tory and Labour MPs seeping out the bars like spilled drinks in order to drown out every single amendment to the Scotland Bill put forward by Scotland’s own MPs.

If the Unionists ignore reality for long enough they hope that reality will change more to their liking. If their Westminion pals in the press keep up their litany of SNP bad for long enough, then eventually Scotland will realise that the SNP is as mendacious and venal as the Unionist parties, and will go back to voting Unionist. But Scotland doesn’t vote SNP because Scotland is in love with the SNP, it votes SNP because the SNP represents an escape route from Westminster and from being taken for granted, ignored, sidelined, and treated like a child.

The General Election might as well never have happened as far as Scotland was concerned. The Unionist establishment has no response to their near destruction in May last year, and will likewise try to downplay their impending decimation this coming May. Scotland isn’t important. Scotland doesn’t matter.

And that’s precisely what will lead to Scotland becoming independent, the realisation amongst No voters that their votes in the British Parliament count for nought. It doesn’t matter what we want, we get what we’re given and there’s nothing we can do about it. Scotland is outvoted, outnumbered, and outraged.

The best response to the pathetic Scotland Bill is to tell Westminster to stick it where EVEL doesn’t shine.

There won’t be any updates to the blog until Monday. I’m off to London for the weekend to visit family.

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23 comments on “Stick it where the EVEL doesn’t shine

  1. Anne Meikle says:

    I fear the unionists in Scotland are quite happy for WM to govern over us – it’s what they want, it’s why they voted no.

  2. macart763M says:

    Crawled out from under the duvet today and wished I’d stayed wrapped inside. The party politicking, the Mail going tonto and Labour giving the tories their full backing over the fiscal settlement.

    I thought ‘feck it, the stinking cold was more appealing’.

    Labour of course are merely picking up where they left off after the referendum, gophers for their betters. Dear God what have they become that they’d sacrifice their own people’s well being for electoral advantage? We know what the conservatives are and what they stand for. The bastards don’t even attempt to hide their contempt for the poor. Labour though? Labour’s hatred and envy of the SNP blinds them to all consideration for the public.

    Any fool can see what the gifting of those tax powers are intended to achieve. They’ve been a fiscal and constitutional bear trap in waiting from day one. Political sabotage at the expense of the public. A naked attempt to bring down the Scottish Government and discredit our parliament neatly wrapped up in a vow.

    We can’t let this happen.

  3. Robert Graham says:

    Agreed reject it ,and this to happen in parallel with withdrawing all our MPs from Westminster what is the point when all requests are rejected all amendments voted down by sheer weight of numbers it’s their parliament always has been .

    • Norrie says:

      My thoughts exactly

      • william says:

        I argued this before. SNP representation at Westminster can and will achieve nothing. They are outvoted by the English at every turn, to preserve Westminster rule. That can and will never change. The SNP are making a grave mistake to believe they can change the system by working with the system, even though the system will and must always oppose them. I don’t understand their thinking at all (SNP, not Westminster). They cannot achieve anything, other than show the public it’s all a sham. But that is not generating the groundswell it should, it seems to me most Scots could give a toss these days. The energy of Yes has been lost, or is dissipating rapidly as we all begin to realise there isn’t much we can do.

        An SNP landslide in May? It makes no difference! 56 MP’s at Westminster – it makes no difference!

        Westminster rules anything that matters. It always will. If the Scots break free, so will the Irish and the Welsh so Westminster won’t allow it to happen. Ever. The only party that can force the pace in Scotland is the SNP (at the moment): they should withdraw from Westminster where they cannot achieve anything (since the Scotland committee is packed with English MP’s and Fluffy holds a Veto anyway), and refuse to implement anything Westminster imposes. For Christ’s sake, fight for it, don’t pretend to. And playing along with the system is pretending to. That will be the SNP’s undoing if they don’t change course. By playing along with the charade they are giving tacit consent to it. We have had more than enough examples of those who talk a good game, only to wind up accepting a “gaudy prize from people they despise”.

        Getting pissed off with the nicey nicey going nowhere achieving nothing route. Call Westminster’s bluff, or just give up.

  4. mealer says:

    Well,I’m happy to trust our Scottish Government to do what’s best for Scotland.It looks very much like that will involve telling London to GET STUFFED.

  5. bedelsten says:

    My understanding of the trap is that any extra income generated by, for example, altering taxes, will result in a reduction in the block grant making Englandshire better off. If that is the case, just how (expletive deleted) stupid do those running the big hoose by the Thames think we are? I doubt if there is anything to lose in rejecting the trap if the terms of entrapment are unreasonable.

    What I cannot get my head round is, if Scotland is the hand-out junkie basket case it is claimed to be, why have the capitalists running the big hoose by the Thames not caste Scotland loose? This hasn’t happened, indeed the opposite, some sort of mock paternalistic smothering is taking place which leads me to conclude that they are hiding something and what is being hidden belongs to Scotland.

    Enjoy yourself in Englandshire. The pubs are quite nice, some even accept real money.

  6. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  7. @bedelsten. That is the conclusion I drew four years ago; If Scotland is such a parasitic drain on “The Centre of the Known Universe”, they seem terribly reluctant to divest themselves of the tartan albatross festooned around their neck…

  8. The point is simple and was made eloquently by Schumaker in small is beautiful. It is a whole lot easier to exploit a population and resources from within your own territory than from outwith it. Hence secession.
    To accept what is on the table would be to open a pandora’s box of vile lies. The SNP have to be seen to do something, should the indyref2 be off the table currently.

  9. Dan Huil says:

    As it stands it must be rejected. Labour can complain alongside the tories if they want to – it’s what they did during the referendum after all. Most people in Scotland view Labour as Red Tories.

  10. Luigi says:

    According to a recent opinion poll, only 9% of people in Scotland believe the “Vow” has been honoured. It seems, therefore, that the SNP government will not be blamed at all, if they do not accept the settlement currently on offer. Will the media go ape-shit? Of course they will, but who cares? No-one is listening to them anymore (apart from the 9%, perhaps). The majority are on side with this one. Therefore, any problems at all (no matter how slight), any unfinished business, any loose ends unsecured, and it has to be rejected. To accept a dodgy deal that may be detrimental to Scotland is far more risky, by an order of magnitude, IMO.

    No ifs, no buts – if it’s not perfect, then reject it.

  11. barpe4 says:

    What Luigi says “No ifs, no buts – if it’s not perfect, then reject it.”.

    But I’m sure John Swinney knows exactly how to deal with this matter, I certainly trust his judgement.

    Meanwhile, make sure it’s SNPX2 in May!

  12. david agnew says:

    What they have done and what they are doing is to remind yes voters, why they had voted yes in the first place. All they have achieved is to vindicate that choice. They can keep serving up their putrid SNP-BAD broth in the press. They can behave like a gang of swivel eyed, two faced lying gob-shites. It’s not going to reverse what happened.

    They’re got it wrong again, and it will cost them dear. We’re gonna vote their pish union out of Scotland one MSP/councillor/MEP at a time. We’re going to get our thumb in their fucking eyes til we win. And we will win.

  13. douglas clark says:

    Thanks for that Paul.

    I wonder if you agree with me that this might be a genuine tipping point for those of a ‘No thanks’ persuasion? Swinney has never done Scotland down, and if he rejects the proposal, I think he will carrry most folk with him.

    They either believe John Swinney, who is probably the living enactment of George Washington in terms of honesty, or whatever Eton towel folder is in the Treasury next week.

    Seems to me that, if he sells it right, this coud be game, set and match.

  14. douglas clark says:

    As we do elsewhere, *could

  15. macart763M says:

    The reality of the devolution ‘settlement’ (does anyone like the idea that something has been settled?), the reality of Scotland’s place within the union.

    Outside of the referendum this ‘settlement’, agreed by everyone in commons who doesn’t give a shit about Scotland, is the first time both governments have truly locked horns over a constitutional issue. Where the other parties stand and how they react on behalf of the Scottish electorate will NOT go unnoticed.

    The establishment parties were teaching Scotland a lesson, or so they thought. THIS is the point of sending 56 MPs to Westminster. 55% of our electorate saw fit to put their trust in Westminster government and so long as we remain in the UK it is Scotland’s right and obligation to send representation to that house. How and ever, what our representation does when it is there? Well that’s another thing entirely. Until this point in time that house could count on Scotland’s representation to doff its cap and vote along UK party lines, grateful for being noticed and/or included, the righteous loyal types repaid with ermine and position for services rendered.


    The representation we saw fit to send have one mission and one mission only and that is to represent the best interests of the people of Scotland. ALL the people of Scotland without fear or favor.

    How effective have they been in this endeavour? Well they’ve caused enough of a problem that the media hounds of hell have been unleashed upon them. They can’t shit out of the sight of a 1000mm lens. They’ve had their collective histories gone through forensically and their names by turn dragged through the sewer that is the UK press. THAT is how effective and unsettling they’ve been to the establishment and they are going through this hell for us, because we asked them to.

    Their greatest achievement to date has been their conduct throughout the Scotland bill debates where no one and I mean no one outside of the most blinkered ‘union right or wrong voter’ could fail to have noted both the treatment our representation received and the outcome and consequences of the votes in chamber. DEVOLUTION IS DEAD. HOME RULE IS DEAD. The myth, the sham, the lie of equal partnership and political union exposed for all to see.

    Woe betide any political party that sides with Westminster over Holyrood and the Scottish electorate. At least half of our nation is fully switched on to politics and are fully aware of the omnishambles that is the Scotland Bill. That half of the electorate WILL be watching and they’ll make bloody sure the other half get informed of the outcomes.

    • douglas clark says:

      Thanks for that Macart,

      I personally suspect that the media ‘hounds of hell’ are nowdays no more than poodles. It is perhaps wrong to say this, but the space given over to newspaper sales in my ‘newsagent’ – who has diversified into a quite reasonable wine merchant – has decreased even over the last five years. He will adapt to changing circumstances, I am unconvinced that newspapers will. The recent ‘spat’ in the Herald galaxy suggests that they are less interested in readers than they are in advertisers. As the former informs the latter, I am not entirely sure that they have a clue what they are doing. If you lose the readers you also lose the advertising revenue. It would take a genius to square that circle. If readers see you as contemptuous of journalistic standards then they will leave.

      If I speak nowadays, about something I read in a newspaper, I get increasingly blank looks from younger folk, y’know the 40 minus group – the whippersnappers – who don’t apparently read newsprint. For equivalence, I used to buy the Herald merely for the crossword. I doubt I was alone in that.

      So I expect that the fall has been a long time coming.

      T’internet has been a breath of fresh air, though I wonder whether it can ever have the resources to bring the privileged to account.

      We are now between a rock and a hard place. Scottish people – I am first and foremost Scottish – have to decide whether any print media is accountable to them. And, if not, it has to then sort out who it believes in the alternative media. I happen to find the likes of Wee Ginger Dug and Munguins Republic to be less up their own backsides than some of the more popular blogs, But is difficult to see a realistic alternative to Rev Stu Cambell’s ‘Wings Over Scotland’ where people donate to save a starving shoplifter in England without a qualm. And rightly.

      I am not convinced that this is a stable way to do alternate media. It especially needs investigative power, beyond the wholly worthy ability to rip internet bullies apart. It needs to be able to directly ask questions to power, and that is not evident, yet.

      We live in interesting times.

      SNP X 2

      • Macart says:

        Naw, is the short answer douglas. They’re not accountable and never have been. They’re self appointed guardians dontchaknow and of times past have done a fair old job of uncovering many a crime against the public interest, but always, always with a main eye to their own agenda. Nothing gets published that doesn’t serve the interests of the publisher first and foremost, be that cash, or political patronage. As we’ve seen demonstrated only this week, news doesn’t make newsprint profitable advertising does. The exception as always, lies in the individual, not the institution. The stand out journo or editor who is willing to take a story and run with it, or turn it into a personal crusade and that, as we’ve seen, can be both a good thing and a bad thing. In short Newsprint is dying, though not quite there yet right enough and though not as powerful a medium as in times past, is still more than a dangerous handful when its pulling in one direction.

        Online is in its infancy and it is where the future lies, but I agree its not at that point where it can hold to account. It is though in the position to question, satirise and inform and as such has proven an incredibly powerful tool. I’d say it has to be seen and utilised in this light at the moment IMO. Maybe in fact that is all the power we should allow it. The power to challenge authority should perhaps be retained by the public and enshrined constitutionally, rather than become the realm of the self appointed. Only time and evolution of communication will give alternate media the strength to act as the new fourth estate I suppose, the old one turned into a corrupt, self interested cesspit and sometimes you wonder would we allow that same thing to happen again?

        But yeah, interesting times right enough.

  16. Clive Scott says:

    If I were John Swinney I would be inclined to reject whatever is offered as a Fiscal Framework. The first, second and third offers will be improved upon if the Westminster yoons are sent home to think again. The Smith Commission proposals are an unworkable incoherent farce. Our 56 MP’s need to ramp up confrontation with Westminster at every opportunity. SNP x 2 May 2016.

  17. benmadigan says:

    Have a good weekend Paul and while away the time on your journey Darn Sarf smiling at this, which won’t make the ladies blush – despite the title!!

  18. arthur thomson says:

    Thank you as always Paul.

    So Labour join with the Tories yet again to emasculate Scotland. I expect Nicola and co to tell them, in the nicest possible way of course, what to do with their Bill. I equally expect the media, in the nastiest possible way of course, to act as the mouthpiece of the unionists.

    We must acknowledge that the considered reasonableness of the Scottish Government, by contrast with the predatory behaviour of the unionists, is key to our ongoing progress towards independence. That distinction is exactly why it is impossible to have a meaningful union with the British – they are incapable of being other than predatory. As increasing numbers of normal people in Scotland recognise that, support for independence will grow.

    It is a painful process that we are having to go through but the SNP have to be tough enough to set bruised egos aside and courteously but firmly reject the Brits’ insulting behaviour.

    We, on the other hand need not be so constrained and that, for me, is one of the joys of reading your work. I love that you tell it as it really is and with such aplomb.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

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