When I was a wean people used to scoff about banana republics where the establishment had no respect for democracy, no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the checks and balances that ensure that the people get a hearing in the corridors of power. They’d laugh at the inflated balloons in their fancy uniforms who strutted and posed as they trod democracy into the dirt. They’d look contemptuously on the failing states where infrastructure crumbled and distasters piled up in human tragedies, losing count of stories of grief and loss. But we’re not laughing now as we look upon the ruined road to the failed state, and realise it’s the one that we’re treading. Britain is the only country in the world that has become a banana state over the bendiness of a banana.
We’re living in a country where there’s actually a person whose job is to hold a hat on a stick during the state opening of parliament while the government is clueless and mired in confusion as it takes us to the cliffs of Brexit without a plan or a clue. We’ve got no right to feel superior to the banana republicans with their fancy uniforms and bloated pride. Britain is every bit as bad. Britain is country where democracy is weak and accountability as meaningless as a flunky with a hat on a stick, a stick that Scotland is being beaten with.
The Prime Minister has taken it upon herself to define what Brexit means. Our interim Prime Minster lost her majority after taking us into an unwanted election on a personal crusade to increase her own power. She failed, but she’s carrying on as though nothing much has happened. We’re still expected to trust in Theresa to make all decisions, the banana republic dictator who’s the arbiter of everything. The puffed up authoritarian with her flunky with a hat on a stick as the country is mired in a crisis that her party created as a by-product of putting its short term party political interests first. The Tory response to this crisis is to grab yet more power for themselves. Laws passed by so called Henry VIII powers, the powers of Holyrood changed as a result of Brexit and devolved competencies being taken back by Westminster. And yet no one voted for any of this.
There’s a huge power grab going on at UK level, and by weakening and diminishing the power of the Scottish parliament the Scottish Unionist parties are complicit in it. What’s been happening in Scotland over the past few days and weeks amounts to nothing less than a concerted assault on the pillars of Scottish democracy by a vindictive British state that sees its rule threatened. This is what a British coup looks like.
Holyrood has already passed a bill for a referendum, but the Tories and their pals want that vote overturned because they gained more seats – but still didn’t win a majority – in another election entirely, an election which had nothing to do with the powers of Holyrood. Can you imagine what the response of the Tories would be if the SNP or other parties demanded that Theresa May put a halt to Brexit because the Tories had lost seats in a council election? But that’s exactly parallel to what the Tories are demanding of the Scottish government now, and they’re being aided and abetted by a supine press that’s helping in the destruction of the free society it’s supposed to be defending.
The Unionist parties wouldn’t be so desperate to prevent a second independence referendum from ever taking place if they were confident of winning it. If they were confident of winning they’d be desperate for another referendum, because then they could silence the calls for another vote for decades to come. The reason they’re so desperate to prevent another referendum is because they know the chances are that they’d lose it. They’d lose it because there is a large and substantial body of Scottish opinion that wants independence, and another body of opinion which is no in principle opposed to it but which remains to be persuaded. All the Tory foot stamping in the world won’t make that go away. You do not heal differences of opinion by demanding that those who disagree with you shut up. People are told to shut up in banana republics.
Meanwhile voting in Scotland no longer seems to count for anything much. Scotland voted by a very large margin to remain a part of the EU, but that vote is being ignored. Scotland’s parliament voted for a referendum, obeying the mandate given to the Scottish government by the people of Scotland in the Holyrood election of 2016, but the Unionist parties demand that vote is ignored. Scotland returned the SNP as the largest party, giving them a large majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, but that majority is being ignored. Scotland said no to a Tory victory. Failed Westminster candidate Ian Duncan gets elevated to the House of Lords and is given a job in the government despite being rejected by the voters of Perth. Whatever happened to respecting the result of the ballot? What was that about no means no? That only applies when it suits the Unionist parties. It doesn’t seem to apply to the Tories in Perth or anywhere else.
Today it was confirmed that the Scottish Parliament has the right to vote on Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill because it has a direct impact on devolved powers. The Scottish Parliament must vote it down and say no to Theresa May’s power grab, say no to the Tory self-interest that’s destroying democracy, say no to Scotland being ripped out of the EU against its will. It won’t prevent Brexit. Yet again Westminster and the Tories will overrule Scotland. But we shouldn’t make it easy for them. The Tories created this constitutional crisis, and this is the crisis that will show that the UK state is no longer fit for purpose.
It’s not too late to halt and turn back before Scotland becomes the kailyaird state, a walled off and neglected back garden of a broken Britain fit only for growing the stunted banana plants of small horizons and little hopes. The Conservative assault on Scottish democracy must be resisted by all and any legal means available. The Scottish Government must make it clear that its mandate to hold another independence referendum when the results of the Brexit process become clear remains undiminished. It’s more important now than ever that the grass roots independence movement steps up and organises. Democracy is nothing if it is not a participatory process. The Tories want us to stop participating, to sit back quietly and meekly as they order and command. Let’s not let them. This is about more than the bendiness of bananas.
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