A guest post by Samuel Miller
This is the week where Government, political class, nations and their electorates divided in a court room. This is the week where Scotland found out the true meaning of devolution, better togetherness, pooling and sharing and the nature of political union under the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.
This is the week where Gordon Brown’s carpet cruising vision was finally put to rest as it met with the reality that is the United Kingdom establishment. A quick refresher from 2014 –
“We’re going to be, within a year or two, as close to a federal state as you can be in a country where one nation is 85 per cent of the population.” (Yeah ‘country’ I know, but he said it not me, OK?)
“There is now an all party agreement that they will bring in big changes after the referendum. I believe that there is no alternative but to introduce these changes, which would be taxation powers for the parliament.” (Epic LOL!)
“It would mean that there would never be anything like a poll tax or a bedroom tax or rail privatisation imposed on Scotland against its will. There is a mood that too much power rests in London” but that this is about to change.” Gordon Brown (UH HUH!)
Spookily, HMG and Lord Keen, (HMGs chief counsel for the stomping of rowdy neighbours), disagrees with Mr Broon’s devovision and assurances. As covered by this site only yesterday, in exceptionally colourful and easily understandable detail, the government’s stance is basically that devolution means ‘dae as yer telt’. The Scotland act, the Sewel Convention, the Smith Commission, Scotland Bill debates, the most powerful devolved parliament in the world (if not the universe). ALL of that nonsensical bill of goods sold to the Scottish electorate, boils down to so much empty rhetoric and stage dressing so far as Westminster government is concerned.
To those who voted no last time out and may now be regular readers, its worth bearing in mind that however deluded the former PMs pledges and assurances were, he was a former PM. He also had the weight of the UKs media behind him to sell this bullshittery to the electorate and the tacit compliance of the then party leaders and current Prime Minister. None of whom, by the by, saw fit to correct Mr Broon or enlighten the public as he paced holes in carpets and gesticulated theatrically to terrified pensioners and rent a crowds the length and breadth of his ego. It was a hard sell on a truly massive scale. It had to be.
So in this week of ALL weeks, why oh why does Labour in Scotland’s Kezia Dugdale think its a good idea to have a ‘major’ speech on devolution and a federal solution? Clearly Ms Dugdale didn’t get the memo from HMG, or perhaps doesn’t understand the nature of devolution? Mibbies she disnae huv a telly or read the papers? In any event, an epic example of political naivety, truly bad timing and utter pointlessness.
To quote another famous Labour ‘big beast’, Jack Straw, on the matter of devolution and devolved legislation:
“English MPs control all the money which Scotland receives – is that ‘fair’? England constitutes 85% of the UK’s population and 87% of its wealth. It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.“
We’re all perfectly clear on the matter of devolution, power and the union at this point, yes?
So where am I going with this? Well to be blunt, people needed to hear it. They needed to hear from Westminster governments’ own lips the truth of devolution and the union. This is about understanding the nature of a thing. The why and the how of it.
Back in 2014 a good many folks in the pro independence camp argued themselves hoarse that THIS is where our devolution ‘journey’ was headed. Commentators, campaigners and supporters alike were shouted down by the mainstream media and establishment political class. They controlled the narrative and the messenger (shrugs). There wasn’t a title or broadcast channel that didn’t carry pro union commentators and pundits waxing lyrical about the idea that if Scotland voted no, devolution to the max and near if not actual federalism was where we were headed. They sold people on the concept of an offer which never was and never could be on the table. The narrative was deliberate. It was calculated. It was misleading. (and I’m being kind in that description)
Well, the reality couldn’t have been made any clearer on Tuesday by HMGs own counsel no less. Power devolved, really is power retained and not ceded. Westminster ‘ALLOWS’ the Scottish parliament to exist. Its powers now as then, are in the ‘gift’ of Westminster government and legislation. What can be gifted, can be amended or taken away on a whim. When Scottish democratic mandate or legislation doesn’t suit, as in this case? Technically they can be utterly ignored and the democratic deficit that is when the reality of UK politics is made manifestly clear.
THAT is the true cost of a NO vote from 2014. Your choices, your rights, your mandate, your voices ignored because they don’t suit the agenda of central government, or their political needs. Devolution does not work for Scotland, because it was never intended to work for Scotland. It was always intended to work for central government. (see under Jack Straw)
This is the week we found out that the truth of the union, is that there is no union. There is no partnership, equal or otherwise. There is no family of nations, not on the political level and never was, only a means of asset management and crowd control. A long chain which Westminster may have called devolution, but still a chain for all that.
Now the good news.
That chain can be yanked in two directions. In fact in the right circumstance, as two years ago, it can be broken altogether. The laws, the procedures, the legislative bodies, the national and international precedents which brought about indyref 1 are still relevant today. The UN charter still recognises a population’s right to self determination and no one, not President, Prime Minister, First Minister or meeja mogul can deny the Scottish electorate their inalienable right to choose.
If you want your vote, your mandate, your basic human rights to matter, then by now you know what to do. Should the opportunity arise and our ‘devolved’ government in Holyrood asks the question? You and only you can mandate them to become our national government. To go from being a nation in a one sided union where your vote is regarded as an irrelevance, to once again become a nation state where that vote decides the nature of your government.
This could be the week you decided to have your voice heard.