Ripping a Christmas cracker from the cold claws of a corpse

You’ll have had your vow then Scotland. On Tuesday the UK and Scottish governments finally reached an agreement on the fiscal settlement underpinning the Scotland Bill, bringing to a conclusion the exercise in misbegotten mendacity begun by Gordie Broon with his front page spread in the Daily Record. The image of Gordie spreading is enough to make anyone ill, but extracting the commitments which the Unionist parties solemnly swore to deliver has been a process of enscunnerment guaranteed to sicken even the strongest of stomachs.

We started off with a commitment to full fat federalism, which we were promised would give us Home Rule, the most devoey maxiest Holyrood this side of Reporting Scotland, all your self-governing eggs in a basket wrapped up in a union fleg bow. Then there was the Smith Commission and the Unionist parties smashed each egg one after the other until all that was left was the union fleg bow with which they hoped to strangle Scottish self-determination. Then as the remnants of Scotland’s expectations passed through the bowels of Westminster they were stained and soiled and every amendment proposed by the SNP was thrown up and thrown back in our faces.

The Tory Government made no bones about how it was constructing a trap for Scotland and wasn’t even pretending to answer the demand for substantial home rule. They didn’t want to make the Scottish Parliament permanent, they looked askance when we asked if we could get the TV remote control. Away to your bedroom Scotland, you can watch what you’re told to and don’t dare get ideas above your TV station. We’re introducing EVEL because the real lesson from the independence campaign is all about England, just like the current referendum is all about England too. Now off to bed Jockish persons, your masters will inform you when a decision has been reached. You’ll be told about it somewhere between the murrdurrs, the cute kittens and the fitba on the news where power isn’t.

Westminster decided that in return for its begrudging powers that were designed to be unusable, that it hoped would be a trap to destroy the SNP, that Scotland was going to have to pay £7 billion in a Better Together Levy. Their best of both worlds means paying for nothing twice.

The Tories not only sought to use the devolution process for their own short term party political gain, they wanted Scottish workers to pay for it and Labour was perfectly happy with that. They were determined to extract their own political advantage from your granny’s care provision, from your library services, from your child’s education. That’s your no-detriment there they smugged, no detriment to the UK Treasury and we can give Google a tax deal. They hoped in vain there would be no detriment to Labour’s chances of avoiding extinction. Fat chance of that.

Even when faced with almost half of Scotland, and a majority in the country’s largest city, being so fed up and pissed off with the Westminster system that they supported independence from the UK, the Unionist parties couldn’t help themselves. We thought they were getting a warning shot across the bows, they thought they’d dodged the bullet and could go on keeping dodging it indefinitely. They’re never going to change.

When you have to fight tooth and nail for things that you’ve already been promised in a solemn vow and you still only manage to extract less than a half of what was pledged, there is no respect agenda and there never was. That ought to be clear even to the most obtuse voter by now. The only thing that Westminster respects is the threat of another independence referendum. The only way to make Westminster respect Scotland will be to deal with it as an independent power. Bullingdon boys don’t respect the lower classes, and as long as Scotland remains a part of this Union that’s what we’re going to be.

It was only by threatening to bring the entire sorry process of the Scotland Bill to a shuddering halt that the Scottish Government was able to reduce the Better Together Levy to £2.5 billion, and then to zero. Or more exactly, they were able to defer Westminster screwing us over for five years. This is Westminster’s definition of no detriment to Scotland. They’re still planning to screw us over, but they’re kicking it into the long grass for five years in the hope that there will be a Unionist party in power in Holyrood by then.

Westminster doesn’t comprehend no-detriment as far as Scotland is concerned, because as far as Westminster is concerned Scotland exists to do as it’s told. Scotland’s role in the Union is to supply labour, resources, and the supranational window dressing that allows British nationalists to pretend that their nationalism isn’t nationalist at all. We’re the sub-state of Ruth Davidson’s imagination, a state of nuclear submarines that we didn’t ask for, that we don’t want, and that we can’t get rid of.

Och those Scots and their grievance culture, whine the Unionist parties. Grievance means pointing out the hypocrisy of Westminster, grievance means resisting policies we don’t want from parties we didn’t vote for, grievance means demanding the Unionist parties fulfil their promises and keep their word. We’ll be keeping on grievancing until Westminster tells the truth, until Scotland gets the settlement that the Scottish people want, and not the settlement that the Unionist parties deign to give us.

The vow has been delivered my arse. It’s a strange definition of delivery, but then we live in a country where we have a goverment that got the support of less than 15% of voters and has just one MP and an unelected second chamber stuffed with party donors and superannuated politicians. Then the same goverment’s supporters complain that they want out of the EU because it’s not fair that a country can’t vote out those who govern it.

It’s not so much that the vow has been delivered as the Scottish Government has finally ripped half of a Christmas cracker out of the cold dead claws of the corpse of the British state. We’ve managed to get a plastic toy of powers that are effectively unusable, and a bad joke of a settlement. The best that can be said for it is at least it won’t do any harm.

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30 comments on “Ripping a Christmas cracker from the cold claws of a corpse

  1. Dan Huil says:

    I wish we’d get independence by the end of the week, but I have to remember the SNP have, for the last few decades, taken a step-by-step approach towards the ultimate goal. This is another step towards independence.

    Also, take well-deserved pleasure in hearing the britnats say once again that this latest piece of devolution will stop independence “stone dead”.

  2. […] Ripping a Christmas cracker from the cold claws of a corpse […]

  3. Scots_wa_hey says:

    Before anyone thinks we have got one over Westminster we haven’t

    We are getting less powers than what was promised in the 1913 home rule bill 103 years on and that’s not been delivered
    With out Corporation tax or any of the real levers needed to drive our economy I fear we have just put a noose around our necks and as the cuts come so will support for Indiependance drop just as Westminster engineered

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      Scotland only has only a mere 56 out of its 59MPs (possibly even some of the other three?) who desire control over Corporation Tax, what sort of mandate do you think that is?… to hope, to aspire, to have the nerve to think you could ever possibly have control over Corporation Tax…. who do you think you are.?… an equal partner in a Union ….or perhaps you think you are …..Northern Ireland.

      No detriment..?…

      Belfast Telegraph 23rd Feb 2016:-

      Corporation Tax Bill for Northern Ireland published – powers to be devolved by 2017
      Bill tabled for Parliament today, expected to be enacted in March.

      ….so hands up anyone who thinks Scotland has ‘Home Rule’ now……or anything like it….more like divide and rule….roll on May.

    • davidbsb says:

      Then get active. Actively boycott all those union flagged products – I see English Country Life is the latest to lose its place in my fridge at any price.

      Civil disobedience. Frustrate any attempt to assist the state voluntarily. Argue with young people not to join the military. Do nothing that is voluntary – from picking up Lizzy’s litter to paying their telly tax. There are plenty people looking for leadership.

      Women did not get the vote by accepting gently the promises of Westminster. And few of the other colonies won their independence by waiting for London’s grace and favour.

      So tip their tea in the Charles River and actively, and creatively resist.

  4. Dan Huil says:

    “They’re [Westminster britnats] still planning to screw us over, but they’re kicking it into the long grass for five years in the hope that there will be a Unionist party in power in Holyrood by then.”

    Some hope. More than ever: SNP x2

  5. Marconatrix says:

    “It’s a strange definition of delivery” … ‘abortion’ might be more appropriate. The puir wee thing could never have lived, mairs the pity.

  6. Coinneach Albannaich says:

    The British can forget about us taking *any* of their State Debt after Indyref II.

  7. Sooz says:

    One more step along the way. If Westminster thinks they can now dust off their hands and forget about us, they’re deluded. May’s elections will make sure of that.

    We will keep pushing and pushing and they can get as sick of us as they like. We’re not stopping.

  8. ScotsCanuck says:

    agree … but here is the rub, we have a window of five years to make the point to the Scottish people that Independence is the only way forward for the country and our succeeding generations. The mile markers are :-

    a) the EU in/out referendum
    b) the Scottish Parliament elections
    c) the Labour party meltdown / Scottish electorate Tory disapproval.

    The SNP must be more forceful with Cameron / Westminster that Scotland won’t be bullied and prove to the “faithful” that IndyRef 2 is on the cards within that five year window.
    For me that is critical but I do understand the responsibility NS has on her shoulders, however we the people expect her to articulate our aspirations.

    Nicola is without question a brilliant tactician (having AS as a mentor was a great education !!) but I just wish she would show her claws a wee bit more when faced with the crap she gets …she is feisty when angry !!

  9. Sue de Nymme says:

    Apart from not losing money, which is neither positive nor negative, and the ability to raise the base rate of income tax, which is negative, what did we gain?

    • Ealasaid says:

      I am no expert on this, and I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I think they have won the ability to collect Scotland’s income tax in Scotland. There was some wrangling over start up costs in there so I believe this may be the case. Could it be the first taxes collected in Scotland that do not go through Westminster first?

      Yet another great post Paul. So glad to find you in my in-box 🙂

  10. Kenzie says:

    “an unelected second chamber stuffed with party donors and superannuated politicians”

    Tsk, Tsk, Paul. You forgot ‘convicted criminals’. Convicted, that is, as opposed to unconvicted…yet.

  11. macart763 says:

    Great post Paul and bang on the money.

    For me? I’ll tell you what I saw yesterday.

    I saw a Scottish government talking to a Westminster government, one nation to another. Normally these things are settled in a chamber in the bowels (and I do mean bowels) of Westminster by folk who are pretty much all singing from the same hymn sheet.

    What we saw yesterday hasn’t been seen in three hundred years. A Scottish FM making it plain that no deal would be signed off on unless a. b. and c. were in place.

    I understand, I really do, all those who simply wanted the FM to tell Camo and Osborne to take their piss poor devo lite bullshit and stick it where the squirrel hides his nuts. I would so dearly have loved that myself, but that was not and could never happen. This is STILL the fallout from our own referendum remember? The Scottish government is there to govern and follow through on the MAJORITY decision even though sitting through the Smith farce and dealing with Westminster’s Scotland bill debates must have felt like monkeys throwing shit at them and laughing in their faces on a daily basis. They did it because THAT is the job we gave them to do. One we could not.

    The ONLY thing they had going for them out of the position our own nation’s majority put them in was any deal put forward required to be adhered to (and to the letter) before ratification. Westminster altered pretty much everything from what they led the Scottish electorate to believe during the campaign, through the Smith Commission (world speed reading champ there), to the awful cringe inducing Scotland bill debates, (where the Jocks were put in their place) and finally to the Scottish parliament scrutiny stage.

    Well? Westminster’s powers have been delivered (with a five year review). The outcome is here and done in the worst possible grace imaginable with the winners attempting to alter their own contract with the population every step of the way whilst applying, what they consider, punitive measures. The Scottish government’s only remit throughout all of that painful process, was scrutiny and protect the nation’s interests as best possible.

    This is the outcome the NO vote has won.

    Now those who voted NO have to decide, is this the UK, the relationship, the outcome they envisaged or wanted?

    It does NOT have to remain this way.

    • Saor Alba says:

      Sensible comment as always macart. People need to realise that the SNP have been working hard for Scotland all the way, despite being clothed in the straight jacket that the No voters put them in. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

      • macart763 says:

        Ethically, I don’t think there’s anything else they could have done. A majority made a choice and their government had to follow through on that choice whilst attempting to protect ‘everyone’, from what they feared and expected, would be a punishment exercise.

        Well, they’ve done their duty by the majority and Smith is put to bed, the outcome of the referendum agreed upon and implementation will take around a year and a bit before those woeful powers become available for use.

        Time enough for people to consider whether they’re happy with what they got in exchange for their trust in the Westminster system.

        The only upside in terms of the deal is that the Scottish government headed off those £7bn cuts, but that was their job, full scrutiny.

        Worth remembering that no amendment put forward by 56 of our 59 MPs was carried forward in the current Scotland Bill. NOT A SINGLE ONE. That bill’s state up until yesterday evening and any amendments made to it over last years commons debates was a creation of all unionist parties in Commons up to and including the construction of the unworkable fiscal framework.

        As for those who put together the initial deal and may be crowing about their part in it? Something for them to consider. If it took George Osborne’s last minute intervention to agree to no detriment, does that not mean the initial deal was indeed critically flawed in favour of HMG to the ‘detriment’ of the Scottish public?

        This would surely lead the average punter to think one of two things about those who put together and supported the current Scotland bill through commons.

        Either :
        a. Those who did so were cataclysmically stupid and didn’t understand the meaning of ‘no detriment’
        b. They knew exactly what they were doing and presenting to the people of Scotland

  12. David Agnew says:

    I really wanted the SNP to walk away from this…I really did. There must have been something in there they wanted, and so played a pretty hard game to get it without cuts to Scotland’s funding.
    I personally don’t even think that achievement, makes the low hanging fruit we got out of this process worthwhile. The one power in there, the ability to tinker with the base rate of income tax, is one the SNP simply won’t use.

    So in conclusion there is no conclusion. Nothing really changed. Westminster still holds the purse strings but agreed not to dip our pockets for a while. We didn’t get what was promised. Scottish Labour and the MSM will still be obnoxious lying gobshites.

    Oh yes and the SNP will win in Holyrood. Watch the gloating turn to foaming temper tantrums when they realise the other thing the vow can’t deliver is a British party to run Holyrood.

    • JimW says:

      The ability to tinker with base rate of income tax is not necessarily an unusable power. There is one situation where the Scottish Government might opt for a different rate of income tax from the rest of the UK, and that would be if the UK Government increased the tax and the Scottish Governemt decided not to.

  13. Tinto Chiel says:

    “Now those who voted NO have to decide, is this the UK, the relationship, the outcome they envisaged or wanted?”

    The trouble is, as we all know, unless they get access to a counter-narrative to MSM, there is little prospect of huge numbers of No voters seeing the light. Was it not AS himself who said you can’t wake up someone who’s pretending to be asleep?

    I wish they could be forced to sit down and read a few of Paul’s Rattling-Good Rants, like this one. Unfortunately, I still see large numbers of oldsters buying the “Scottish” Daily Mail/Express in large numbers as they styter about my town centre. Getting the message out is still our main problem. My only feeble contribution is leaving my spare National lying around in a cafe or shop.

    Of course Wastemonster comes out terribly from all this, as per usual. They should make a new tag-line: Westminster: bringing disrespect and detriment to Scotland since 1707.

    We could even get a wee badge made up for Peerie Mun’ell.

    • macart763 says:

      The counter narrative gets out just fine these days Tinto. Its why the SG is in the position its in both at home and Westminster. You reach one family member through sites such as this, you reach a family. 🙂

  14. Mike Fenwick says:

    A plastic toy of powers? It won’t do any harm?

    Just watch a child with a plastic toy, and simply watch imagination at work, indeed watch the harm it can often cause.

    Are we really saying that Scotland lacks imagination? That there is no way at all in which we can use these powers imaginatively? Is that our epitaph? Really?

    I think we are better than that.

  15. Tinto Chiel says:

    “You reach one family member through sites such as this, you reach a family. :)”

    That’s certainly true, and my daughters report very high Indy support in their age group, but folk of a certain age don’t usually get to see sites like this or The Rev.’s.

    I would mention the inevitable effect of The Grim Reaper and Time’s wingèd chariot on this age group but I’m in the line of fire too now, hoist with my own bus pass.

    Will keep up the Alone in Berlin strategy and also engage the Golden Oldies in subversive conversation………

  16. hettyforindy says:

    Great article.

    The Scotgov had no choice but to thrash out this ‘deal’ for Scotland. Had it been one of the unionist parties, we would be £7b worse off for sure. Remember it was the Labour party in Scotland that sent back £1.6 billion to Westmonster because they were so incredibly incompetent and what an insult to Scotland and the Scottish people that was.
    At that time, those of us with young children were fighting a losing battle in trying to get learning support in school, and constantly told there was no money for it so tough. I feel like suing Labour in Scotland for that, because it impacted on the kids’ lives, even to this day.

    The ‘deal’ also means that the NO voters cannot beat the SNP with a stick, though they will try oh so hard to do so. I can hear them had the Scotgov walked away, saying see there you go, they are not working for Scotland. Of course, what the Scotgov do is nothing short of a miracle given the horrendous austerity attacks on our most vulnerable from westmonster. Even the nawbags will be benefitting from the Scotgov’s mitigating and it could have been a whole lot worse.

    Now we work towards more powers and more tax and revenues staying in Scotland. (not easy I know).

  17. Robert Louis says:

    Quote from the article above;

    “…The only thing that Westminster respects is the threat of another independence referendum.”

    THAT is the entire situation between Scotland and England in a nutshell. Unless the metaphoric gun of an independence referendum is being held to Westminster’s head, then they carry on treating Scotland with utter, utter contempt.

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