Tory MP and Brexit campaigner Chris Grayling has dismissed talk of a second Scottish indyref if Britain votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to remain. We’ll be having none of that nonsense, said Chris, we’re voting as a single UK and Scotland will do as it’s told. That’s why Chris introduced English votes for English laws to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English issues and to ensure that Scottish MPs became second class citizens at Westminster, because he didn’t simultaneously introduce a measure to prevent English MPs from voting on Scottish issues.
Days after the independence referendum Chris warned that it would be a travesty of democracy to allow Scottish MPs any say over English laws. Chris wrote an article in the Telegraph just after the indyref in which he fulminated against the injustice and unfairness of allowing Scottish MPs to foist socialist policies on England. Funnily enough, he’s pretty laid back about the idea of allowing English MPs to have a say over Scottish laws and foist reactionary conservative policies on Scotland. Scotland having its laws made, its budget set, nuclear weapons imposed on it, and its social security system ravaged all on the say so of a single Scottish Tory MP with the aid of his English Tory pals isn’t a travesty of democracy, it’s just how Westminster works. Suck it up Scotland, is the message from the Tories.
If there was any fairness and justice in the Westminster Parliament it would only be Scottish MPs who would vote on matters that affect only Scotland. But then expecting fairness and justice for Scotland from the Westminster Parliament is like expecting self-effacing modesty and shyness from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
Scotland sits at the back of the Westminster bus, and the driver will always be a Tory. Or possibly a Labour Prime Minister who could only get elected by pretending to be a Tory, but it is reasonable to expect that’s pretty much the same thing. This is also the only context in which the word reasonable appears alongside the words Chris and Grayling. Whoever is in charge at Westminster, thanks to Chris and Davie Cameron it’s not going to be a Scottish MP ever again, although of course a Scottish MP only gets to become Prime Minister in the same way that a Labour MP does – by transforming his or herself into a Tory with the interests of Daily Mail voting Middle England uppermost in mind. Scotland will no longer even be able to console itself with the fiction that we’re equal partners in this Union.
Naturally Chris repeated the once in a generation quote from Alex Salmond and insisted that “we” should hold him to that. By “we” he of course means “me and my pals but not you”, because he was certainly not addressing his comments to the people of Scotland. In Chris’s mental universe, Scotland doesn’t get to decide these things. That’s what his whole English votes for English laws and Scottish laws as well was all about. Anyway, he added, the SNP lost its majority in May’s election.
This is of course relying on the possibility that Scottish independence supporters have a) forgotten that the Eckness specifically stated that he was expressing a personal opinion, b) that we all think that it was Alicsammin’s Referendum and not Scotland’s, c) that the current Scottish Government is still headed by the Eck and he still has a say in the matter, d) that the question on the ballot was “Should Scotland become an independent country and should this question never be asked again until Chris Grayling and the Tory party say that it’s fine by them?” and e) that we overlook the fact that there’s still a majority of pro-independence MSPs and the Scottish Greens have explicitly stated they’d support another indyref if the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland votes to remain. That’s a whole lot of very dubious bullet points which anyone who is remotely aware of the realities of Scottish politics realises puts a bullet through Chris’s argument. The UK media might swallow his line, but it’s not going to go down very well amongst the half of the Scottish population who already support independence and those who don’t have a firm commitment to remaining a part of the UK. We don’t need an English Tory MP pontificating about Scotland from a pedestal of ignorance, we have the BBC for that sort of thing.
Funny how it’s only ever Alicsammin and the SNP who need to be held to their word. Chris may not recall, or may not choose to recall, but those of us in Scotland who were following the Scottish independence referendum campaign, which is a lot of us, distinctly remember that one of the key promises of the No campaign was that Scotland could only ensure its EU membership by remaining a part of the UK. We remember the Better Together slogan saying that the process for removing EU citizenship from Scots was to vote yes. We remember Alistair Darling accusing Alicsammin of playing EU roulette by holding the indyref. Yet here we are not even two years on and it’s Westminster which is playing EU roulette because the Tory party wants to settle its internal Eurodispute and the process of removing Scots’ EU citizenship appears to have been putting our future into the hands of a Conservative government in Westminster.
The Unionist media and politicians aren’t demanding to hold to account those who threatened Scotland with the loss of our EU membership if we voted for indy. They’re not insisting on the accountability of those who claimed that all devolution options were on the table in the event of a No vote to independence only to wheech them off the table the second that their slight majority was won and then crowed that the new devolution settlement was going to be a trap for the Scottish government. They’re not holding to account those who said that pensions were at risk if we voted for indy only for us to discover that they’re at risk because we’re in an austerity Tory state. They’re not demanding that those who told us that jobs in tax offices and shipyards could only be secured if we voted no keep to their word. They just wring their hands when the jobs are lost and the pensions put at risk and hope to keep the focus on who it is that some SNP MP is shagging.
Scotland’s parliament will decide if there’s going to be another independence referendum in the event of a Brexit. For all the whining of the Tories, for all their crowing that they won a great victory when they came a distant second, the Scottish people voted for a parliament with a majority of pro-independence MSPs in the full knowledge that a Brexit against Scotland’s will would be a trigger for indyref2. It’s Chris Grayling and the Tories, not Scotland, who is the powerless one in that equation.
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