The repeal bill that will repeal the Union

According to our Unionist media, the big news of this week is not that Westminster is attempting the greatest power grab since Henry VIII changed England’s religion so that he could get his end away with Anne Boleyn after ransacking some monasteries. It’s not that Theresa May has been saying for months that she would listen to and consult the devolved administrations, but it now transpires that her listening consists of her sticking her fingers in her ears and repeating Brexit means Brexit and clicking her kitten heels together as she sets off down the yellow brick road that ends in a plummet off a cliff.

It’s not even that the devolution settlement is about to be blatantly trashed by a Westminster that’s taking devolved powers back to itself and placing restrictions on what Holyrood and Cardiff can do, and only then deciding what if anything it’s disposed to give back again. It’s not that the Sewell Convention saying that Westminster will not change the powers of Holyrood without the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, a Convention that was supposedly enshrined in law, has now been proven to have less practical use than a Klingon dictionary on a foreign holiday. It’s none of these things. According to the Unionist press the big news this week is that our governor general David Mundell has warned Nicola Sturgeon not to hijack Brexit.

Even if this was indeed the most salient point to have come out of this week’s Westminster train wreck, the hypocrisy from the Tories is on a par with Henry VIII’s insistence that finding a legal justification for his screwing opportunities was the path to eternal salvation for an entire nation. And in fact, it’s worse, because in this instance the Tories are insistent on screwing an entire nation and the only salvation on offer is the salvation of the careers of Conservative politicians.

The Tories are the ones who have hijacked Brexit, taking the most narrow Leave vote and choosing to interpret it in the manner that’s most beneficial to the right wing of the Conservative party and to hell with the rest of us. They’re using Brexit as a chance to impose a far right vision of a deregulated, neo-conservative low wage low tax economy that will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. They’re using Brexit to shred social protections and allow big businesses unfettered power to screw as much money out of the country as possible. Then they greet like weans at anyone who resists them, anyone who dares to point out that what is good for Michael Gove’s career opportunities isn’t likely to be especially good for anyone else.

David Mundell is the governor general who for the past year has been insisting that Scotland stands to gain significant extra powers from the Brexit process. This week we discovered, predictably, that Mundell’s promises are worthless. There are no extra powers for Scotland in Westminster’s bill to leave the EU. If you’re surprised by that revelation you will probably be surprised to discover that the big wig wearing contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race are in fact men. In Scotland we ought to be used to Westminster politicians promising all sorts of innovative jam for us, only to discover that not only is the jar empty, but we’re still expected to pay for it. That doesn’t stop our Unionist media trumpeting every hollow promise made by Westminster as though it was a lottery win, and then when the promise fails to materialise it’s independence supporting parties who get blamed for pointing it out.

Instead, and entirely predictably, there’s a Westminster which is taking back powers which were previously devolved. With its Great Repeal Bill, Westminster has unilaterally, and without consultation with Holyrood or Cardiff, destroyed the key principle of devolution, and it has done so for the party political interests of the Conservative party. This is an even greater assault on democracy since Margaret Thatcher abolished Greater London Council because she was annoyed with Ken Livingstone.

The underlying assumption of the Scotland Act upon which devolution rests is that all powers are devolved except those which are specifically reserved to Westminster. The updated and improved – no laughing at the back there – version of the Scotland Act passed after the referendum of 2014 supposedly enshrined in law the principle that no changes could be made to devolved powers without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. Those foundations have now been proven to be as worthless as Theresa May’s tears. The UK government, not even the UK parliament, has taken it upon itself to decide what is or is not devolved. They’re giving themselves the right to do this not merely without consulting with Holyrood or seeking its approval, but the right to do so without consulting with or seeking the approval of Westminster MPs. What was that about taking back control? This bill is a direct assault on devolution and the Scottish parliament. Brexit will result in a Scottish parliament that’s under greater constraints and has fewer powers than before. Another Unionist promise broken. If Unionist broken promises were piled up in a bonfire, it would be higher than any found in Belfast in July.

It would be bad enough if it was just the devolution settlement that was being ripped up by the UK Government’s Brexit bill. It’s far worse than that. The bill is supposed to transfer EU law into UK law following Brexit, but it won’t include the EU Charter of fundamental rights. This is a charter which underpins human rights and employment rights – such as the right to data privacy, the protection of children’s rights, the right to equality. We’ve already seen that this Conservative government has a poor record on these. It’s happy to separate children from their parents if one of the parents is a non-European citizen and the family doesn’t have a certain level of income. It’s happy to bring in a snooper’s charter. It’s happy to drive about vans telling migrants to “go home”. The Charter of fundamental rights covers rights not fully covered by the European Convention of Human Rights, and we’re about to lose them, surrendering them to the interpretation of people who have demonstrated that they regard Brexit as an opportunity for the advancement of their own sectional interests. We live in a country without a written constitution, and without a clear and unambiguous statement of citizens’ rights, and we’re expected to trust Theresa May, Michael Gove, and Liam Fox with the interpretation of human rights.

The Scottish Parliament will have to vote on this bill because key aspects of EU law are enshrined in the Scotland Act. Holyrood can refuse to give its consent to the bill, that won’t prevent Theresa May’s constitutional vandals from progressing with it, but it will make explicit that Westminster will ride roughshod over the Scottish Parliament, and will demonstrate that the wishes of the Scottish people are ignored and traduced by a British government that doesn’t wish to listen. They might not choose to listen, but we can still make our voices heard. All this Great Repeal Bill will achieve is to hasten the eventual repeal of the United Kingdom.

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58 comments on “The repeal bill that will repeal the Union

  1. Illy says:

    Incidentally, the USA is trying to kick net neutrality off a cliff again. Which, if successful, would be the wet dream of the unionist media, since then they could actually shut down all these pesky discussions pointing out that they’re lying their arses off.

  2. Therapymum says:

    Got it again WGD! You are having a great run of spectacular posts.

    I do wonder whether those who voted for the Tories in the GE still feel the same way after the chaos if the last few weeks. I’ve always been sure since the EU ref that the government would target the devolved parliaments and try to close them down, especially since the High Court declared that the Sewell Cinvention had no power in law. So I’m not surprised by the repeal bill, but I am shocked by the extent of it. Politics.co.uk had a good article on the terms yesterday – well worth a read. And after reading that I understand why Labour, LibDems, Plaid, Greens are all threatening to block the legislation, as it affects the all aspects of law across the UK.

    Predictably, despite the fact that all parties other than the Tories are complaining, it’s only Scotland and Wales that are headlined. In one way that makes me hope, because the establishment obviously sees the devolved parliaments as a threat. On the other hand, the establishment has a well defined method of crushing whatever stands in its way, so that makes me anxious. The Colonel has been remarkably quiet, as has Willie and Kezia. Wonder what joys they will have in store! Nothing for the good of Scotland, that’s for sure.

    • Diane says:

      Some who voted Tory will be delighted to see Holyrood no more 😡

      • Moonlight says:

        Doesn’t Holyrood no more take us back to 30 SNP MPs = Independence

        • Andimac says:

          No, it won’t. History teaches us that freedom has to be fought for (I have chosen my words carefully).

          • Cheltenham GCHQ are studying your rebellious words right now, Andy.
            Expect a 4 a.m., knock on the door.

            • Les Bremner says:

              Jack, that is exactly where we are heading if we stay in this ‘Union’. There is the Snooper’s Charter, there is ‘a war on terror’, we are to lose the EU Human Rights, etc., etc. The Repeal Bill is the tip of the iceberg. I wonder what Westminster’s STASI will be called, even assuming that they actually make their presence public.

              BTW, it is not a knock. It is a crashing as the door leaves its hinges.

              • Les. watch what happens when I type (with extreme difficulty because I’ve just come in from a night out ‘with the lads’) ,trigger words like ‘armed insurrection’ or UDI.
                I’m staying up; no point in bedding down. The Men in Black will be calling.
                We must get out of this corrupt little ‘Union’, which of course is none of the sort.
                I am beyond typing.
                See you all at the far post.

  3. Macart says:

    A great post Paul and as with Mr Tickell in the National, right on the nail.

    Let’s not beat about the bush here. This is theft. Naked theft of Scotland’s resources and assets. It’s an assault on our inalienable rights and an insult even to those who voted to retain the union in 2014. It is a complete betrayal of their trust. Only the most tunnel visioned, fleg wavy, hardline unionist will have zero problem with these actions, but then its thanks to their own choices that this appalling situation has transpired.

    Just in case that isn’t clear enough?

    Theft: In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person’s property or services without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft, and fraud (i.e., obtaining money under false pretenses). In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny;in others, theft has replaced larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is also known by other terms such as stealing, thieving, and filching.

    Well done them.

    This CAN be put right. As and when the Scottish government seeks a specific mandate (permission) of the Scottish electorate, we can begin to repair the damage decades of Westminster’s idea of ‘partnership’ has caused simply by returning our legislative powers to where they rightfully belong. In the hands of Scotland’s electorate.

  4. RogerM says:

    “They’re using Brexit to shred social protections and allow big businesses unfettered power to screw as much money out of the country as possible.”

    That was the plan all along. That’s always been why they hated the EU.

    What Britain has become

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Mays been wanting this since she was home secretary under Cameron now she’s so close to getting it she won let anyone get in her way you wacth

  5. bringiton says:

    I doubt they will shutdown Holyrood,that would be a red rag to a bull.
    No,they will do what they have always done,remove powers by stealth and get their press pack to cover it up.
    Perhaps direct rule from London is what it will take for some Scots to realise that maybe we could make a better job of things ourselves.
    Time for some Labour people to waken up and realise that Phony Blair perpetrated another one of his tricks with devolution.
    Devolution was never the intent,just window dressing to keep Scots quiet.

    • Therapymum says:

      Devolution was forced by the EU. I think it was Major who was fined by EP for not providing the option and then Blair provided the referendum. Westminster never wanted to share power and it was the threat of further penalties that pushed the vote.

  6. And still there are those who will vote for them. <U#£$!

  7. Brian Powell says:

    But a deafening silence from Scottish Labour on the destruction of Scotland’s future and political future. I can only assume they want this so if they get back in Westminster everything will belong to them: they think.
    But as always people with this low level of intelligence they’ve forgotten something important.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Why am I not surprised yet welsh labour are fuming as carwen Jones is not standing by and letting this happen

  8. A paddy in fife says:

    Fantastic as per WGD. You are a beacon of hope and reason in the westminster sea of thievery and corruption. Keep up the good work, it might be a long slog but eventually scotland will get there, thanks in no small part to your incisive articles. God bless you (I’m an atheist btw)

    • Neil Anderson says:

      So why the nonsensical “god bless you”?

      • Marconatrix says:

        Simply by now a conventional phrase wishing good fortune. No need to get all PC about it, what would you replace it by? “Lang may yer lums reik” mebby?

        • Even that’s not PC in these carbon-reducing days. Naebody should have reeking lums noo! 🙂

          • Marconatrix says:

            Whoops! Indeed, just like the God-blesser, I hadn’t thought through the literal meaning. Someone cleverer than myself clearly needs to craft a suitable pithy phrase relating to windmills and/or solar panels etc.
            No, I won’t even dare 🙂

            • Marco, if I recall Brendan Behan described himself as a ‘daylight atheist’.
              I’d imagine that most of us have ‘prayed for salvation’ in times of crisis. I know that I did one January morning on an ice rink designated A1 just outside Ripon when I was involved as the fourth car in a 9 car pile up.
              I prayed to ‘god’ that there wasn’t a sixteen wheeler slithering towards my back bumper.
              I survived with only a bruised knuckle and ego and therefore concluded that there must be a god, and she’s Scottish.
              ‘Whirring windmills!’ doesn’t quite do it for me.
              Hey, whatever floats your boat.

          • Marconatrix says:

            This is in reply to several below, but the columns are getting far too narrow, on my display at least.

            I personally am a 24/7 atheist, but fortunately I’ve never been in such a traumatic situation. And I restrain myself from adding the conventional “God willing!” — LOL!

            I’ll settle for the line from “Tramps & Hawkers”, “And I will trust in Providence, and if Providence prove true …”

            Mind you, before I answered this there was a brilliant lightening flash out over the sea, like a fine strand of red-hot copper wire … a sign? 😉

            Funny how odd song lyrics from way back when float into your mind :

            “To Hell with Jehovah, to the Carpenter, I said,
            I wish to God a carpenter had made the World instead,
            For ‘t was God that made the Apple, and the Woman, and the Man,
            And there wouldn’t be an apple, if it wasn’t in the Plan!
            It’s God they ought to crucify instead of you and me,
            I said to the carpenter, a-hanging on the tree”.

            That, I suppose, is what happens when you try to apply logic to religion … and the thunder is now rolling in …

  9. Robert Harrison says:

    This is it then the death blow that killed the uk you said the unionists would kill the uk and if this bill is passed your theory becomes reality Paul and there’d be no way even the most thicko imperial could deny this

  10. daibhidhdeux says:

    Irony of ironies, these uber BritNat Tory Yoons – with the silent complicity of their muckers in the LibDums and BritGabs – are performing as the constitutional gravediggers for their beloved Union to borrow a modification of the thesis from and paraphrase Marx.

    The spectres of Churchill and even Thatcher must be aghast and birlin’ at a rapid rate of knots in their dunnies.

    “Bring it on” to quote the former Petain-like FM, Wendy Alexander.

    And as a concluding aside, I wonder, out of simple curiosity, what she is making of all this boorach and is Ian Davidson sharpening his bayonet in anticipation of the incoming brouhaha?

  11. stewartb says:

    Saw this (below) in a newspaper online yesterday – note the stark contrast between (a) the common ground and co-operation between Labour in Wales with the SNP over the Tory’s Brexit and its threat to the devolution settlements; and (b) the absence of comparable support from Labour in Scotland against the Tories in order to protect the powers of our Parliament at Holyrood.

    “In a JOINT STATEMENT (my emphasis), first ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones described the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill as a “naked power-grab” that undermined the principles of devolution.” (https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/pipe/news/scotland/sturgeon-and-jones-issue-legislative-consent-warning-on-brexit-repeal-bill/ )

    For the Labour leadership in Scotland, will its British Nationalism prove to be more important than even sustaining the status of the Scottish Parliament? If so, candidly, who now could be surprised!

    • Marconatrix says:

      The difference obviously is that Welsh Labour are in power in Caerdydd and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, whereas Scottish Labour are yesterdays folk. To put it in a Scots perspective, the Welsh situation is as if the SNP won mostly Highland seats with Labour still having a firm grip on the central belt.

    • Therapymum says:

      Well observed stewartb.

  12. manandboy says:

    The Empire is losing it.

  13. Les Bremner says:

    The main reason for Brexit is clear. It is to support the Holy London Empire.

    Currently money flows from all corners of these islands into Europe, which then sends money back to the corners. For example, the Road Equivalent Tariff in Scotland is funded by the EU.

    Money from the corners will stay in London. The corners will atrophy.

  14. Marconatrix says:

    A timely warning WGD! You’ve brought home to me, and I sincerely many others, just how serious this move is.

    But it’s perhaps worth emphasising that this is bigger than Scotland, bigger even than the devolved admins, although they could act as a focus and a mouthpiece for a movement that needs to be UK-wide. Everyone, (yea even the English!) will be a loser if this Tory/London power grab succeeds.

    Unfortunately many of the rights that stand to be lost are rather intangible and may seem esoteric to the average person. Maybe a campaign focused on a few clear examples? Otherwise the Tories may get away with this before enough folk have figured out the consequences.

    No time to lose then …

  15. emilytom67 says:

    They know their Scots alright they know that they can do whatever they want with us we are a nation of proven rollover merchants,we will fight tooth and nail for them yet capitulate at every turn,it;s all there in “The Scottish Empire” our massive contribution to the “British Empire” and to the fight for the freedom of foreign lands has never been duplicated for our own fight.Most benefited financially or were bought with baubles/bangles/beads,it still goes on to-day,arise “Sir Big Yin”.

  16. Andy Anderson says:

    I hope that your last sentence is correct Paul. The end of the Union.

  17. AnnieM says:

    I like this, posted on FB by my 15 year old grand-daughter.

  18. Austrian lad says:

    Hello everybody,

    and greetings to beautiful Scotland! I’ve just spent two hours reading some of the excellent articles here. Very impressive and I like & agree with the mostly fair & balanced comments too.

    I’m from the “other side of the channel” – from Austria. Since almost 20 years I’m working for one of Europes largest truck manufacturers, together with locals but also lots of people from all over Europe, mostly germans but also three brits. They’ve been my colleagues since a long, long time now. Over the years we became close friends and through them I’ve also met plenty of other people of the british community here. There are two fantastic scottish pubs in Vienna and in the late nineties I had the pleasure of meeting Angus Robertson (while he was working for Blue Danube Radio). An outstanding personality, outstanding figure and I still can’t believe he lost his Moray seat in the last election…

    I was always and will always be pro Europe, pro European Union and I still remember the day after the British EU-referendum as if it’s been just yesterday. Didn’t make a difference if you watched austrian, german, italian, france, spanish, dutch or whatever TV on the continent. It was a sad day for most of us here and all of these channels were conveying a message of genuine sadness about the result. For me it was a massive disappointment, for my british friends here it was and is still truly devastating. They feel left alone, ignored as it seems nobody on the british side cares or even listens to them and they are very worried about their future. It is not a game! It’s about real people, their jobs and their lives. Truly a shame that everything got so completely messed up, turned into such a gigantic chaos only because of a deeply divise referendum based on so many lies and scapegoating.

    Apparantly whatever goes wrong, it’s never the fault of the tories, it is always the fault of the EU and/or the labour party. Just blame someone else for your own failures seems to be the strategy. Never admit any responsibility and with some assistance of the right-wing media sadly it seemed to have worked quite well for the Tories so far. Millions of voters fell for it and most of todays politicians have become almost pathological liars with absolutely no sense of honour. With the brexit-stupidity a small majority of people have opted for an inward-looking country, isolation and I’m afraid for economic stagnation & decline. When the full consequences become clear for everybody, then it will be already too late to reverse anything and the damage is already done then.

    For sure the likes of Farage and UKIP will not be missed much in the european parliament. Not that they’ve done any noticeable real work in all the years, unless constantly insulting other MEP’s other countries and their citizens counts as work. The negative highlight and simply unacceptable & disgusting was undoubtedly the fight between two UKIP-MEP’s in Strasbourg. It seems to me the UK, especially England has lost an awful lot of goodwill on the continent in the last months. The trust is gone and it could take years to repair the damage that is already been done and sorry, but Theresa May seems very determined to dig an even deeper hole every day. The EU represents cooperation, working together and goodwill between countries. Building bridges is the answer imho and not burning them.

    Since the EU-referendum the previously quite good reputation of the UK as a whole and primarily England has suffered a lot in Europe. A bit surprisingly not Scotlands, in fact Scotland even managed to get out of this mess with a good image. The people of Scotland and your politicians have made it very clear that your country doesn’t want to be isolationist and xenophobic. That maintaining a good partnership and friendship with your european neighbours really means something to the Scots. It was the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who showed some real leadership-qualities when pretty much everything in UK-politics was in chaos and the SNP and Libdems are since then the only I’d say real opposition parties with a clear massage. You can be very proud of them! Nicola Sturgeon simply has to have a little bit more patience, time is on her side.

    If most Scots want an independent Scotland, then this wish & right to self-determination has to be fully respected by everybody. I’m sure Scotland would do fine in the longer term and it will give you the chance to build an even more properous and wealthy nation based on fairness, social justice and tolerance. There are very good reasons for an independent Scotland:

    – You could make decisions in Scotland for Scotland and decide your own destiny (free from the shackles of Westminster)
    – You would have full control of your economy, your monetary, fiscal and social policy
    – The taxes raised in your country would be entirely kept in Scotland
    – Scotland would have full control of its vast, natural resources and 100% of the revenues created by them

    Your own scottish currency and Central Bank will be necessity very soon and will give you the financial leeway your economy will need in the first years. England made it very clear that it wants to go it alone (very likely to be trading on WTO-terms) but that doesn’t mean the same has to be Scotlands way as well. If an independent Scotland decides to continue its highly appreciated economic partnership with the european countries, then every option will be on the table for you. EU customs union, EEA or even full membership of the EU, everything is possible. It will be your decision then and you can be sure Scotland will be treated as an equal partner with an equal say as all the other countries. You are not alone, you have 450 Mill. friends on the other side of the channel and just in case you’ll need some finanical assistance, we won’t let you down. Scotland has such a good standing in Europe and now it has been finally noted here that it wants and is a very different society compared to your southern neighbour.

    Now to the downsides and they should be mentioned as well and you should be fully aware of them. In the worst case a border between Scotland and England could be one of them. A few years of uncertainty and economic downturn are also very likely, but I’m afraid with brexit you’ll be getting that anyway. At least an independent Scotland would have the chance to escape from it to go its own way. There will be enormous challenges ahead of you – certainly. It will be a very difficult task, but be brave, make the right choice this time, decide to stand on your own feet for a better future.

    One of the obstacles you have to overcome is the massive press and media bias. Even the BBC is exactly the opposite of impartial when it comes to scottish independence. I seriously doubt it they will play fair at the time of the 2nd Indyref. The right wing media is so utterly against the SNP and an independent Scotland that it is almost unbelievable. So much bs (sorry), they twist facts, they lie, they present half-truths – everything just that suits their agenda right out of the unionist propaganda manual. Repeating a lie over and over again does not make it true, but at least some people will believe it just when they hear it often enough. For example:

    – SNP and everything the SNP does is evil
    – Nicola Sturgeon the most dangerous women in politics

    So much blatent nonsense & drivel presented by vile, rabid tabloids – it would be ridiculous if it wouldn’t be so sad. Nicola Sturgeon, Angus Robertson, Alyn Smith and a few others are probably the finest politicians the UK has to offer at the moment. Politicians who put country before party and not the other way around like the tories. They stick to their ideals with passionate conviction and try to do what is in their minds the best for Scotland. Of course that brings them on a collision course because Englands interests are more important and have always to come first.

    To ensure that they throw enough mud and lies of the worst kind at the First Minister all the time. Well, as the old saying goes: “Throw plenty of dirt and some will be sure to stick”, doesn’t matter if it is just humbug and lies. The behaviour of most of the “unionist-media” is really a shame and I feel very sorry for Nicola Sturgeon and the others. They don’t deserve this and it is appaling how unfair they are treated and very often even directly insulted by the tabloids. That is not acceptable – no way!

    Unionists will fight tooth and nail to make sure Scotland stays in the UK. A post brexit-UK can’t afford to lose Scotland. It would weaken their isolated, vulnerable position even more and I’m afraid Scotland’s ressources will be needed to pay down the enormous mountains of debt caused by brexit.

    Quite a lengthy comment, sorry! I wish Scotland and the people of Scotland all the best for their future which is in my humble opinion a truly independent Scotland. When it happens I’ll finally get the bootle of Glenmorangie 18 out of the cellar. Finest scotch whisky waiting since many. many years for the right opportunity to enjoy it and I can’t think of a better one in my lifetime…

    Thank you for your time! Have a great week!

    • Macart says:

      Much appreciated and well said.

    • AnnieM says:

      Thank you so much Austrian Lad. May your words go from your mouth to God’s ear.

    • It helps tremendously to keep us going hearing that we have 450 million friends who will welcome our continuing membership of the EU, Austrian lad.
      Thanks for your comment which in no way could be described as ‘lengthy’.

    • Thank you for your “lengthy” but most welcome comment, Austrian Lad. It is very comforting to know that we have so many friends and supporters in the European Union, who consider our position objectively and dispassionately (something our nearer neighbours don’t seem able to do) and who believe that we are both capable and deserving of self-determination. It gives us great strength – thank you again.

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