The sixth circle of devolution hell

The Tories talk a lot about how Brexit means taking back control. Except for viewers in Scotland. For Scotland Brexit does also mean taking back control, it’s just that the control is being taken back by Westminster. The devolution settlement has taken years, indeed decades, to thrash out, yet this Conservative government has unilaterally trashed it in just a few minutes.

Today in the Commons we had Prime Minister’s Questions, a chance to ask Theresa May directly about her government’s shameful treatment of the devolution process and its repeated failure to allow any debate or discussion in the Commons. Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t really interested. So no surprise there then. It fell to the SNP.

After attempts during PMQs to raise the lack of democratic accountability, the lack of a voice for Scotland in the House of Commons during yesterday’s proceedings, the SNP’s Westminster leader was offered an immediate vote on the matter by the Speaker, who then backtracked and repeatedly told Ian Blackford to sit down, and then ordered him to leave.

Faced with this blatant rewriting of the rules to save the Speaker’s face at Scotland’s expense, Ian Blackford led a walkout of all SNP MPs. After all, if they are not going to be allowed to speak, if the House of Commons won’t permit Scotland’s issues to be debated and discussed, then there is no point on them being there.  Then the Speaker muttered about how regrettable it was that Scotland’s MPs weren’t going to have the opportunity to speak, as though the travesty of putting a couple of questions to a Theresa May who wasn’t going to answer them anyway somehow made up for the travesty of democracy of Tuesday.

Theresa May said in the Commons on Wednesday that she won’t allow Parliament to overturn the will of the British people, but she’s perfectly happy to allow it to overturn the will of the Scottish people. Devolution only exists because of a referendum in which the people of Scotland voted by a huge majority in favour of the devolution settlement. That settlement was supposed to have been strengthened and entrenched in the offer made to the people of Scotland by all the main UK parties during the 2014 independence referendum. But here we are.

Only some referendum results need to be respected in the British state, and they sure as hell aren’t Scottish ones. Yet these are the same people who repeatedly demand that the SNP respects the outcome of the 2014 referendum, people who have no intention of respecting the promises and commitments that they made to win it. Ruth Davidson, that darling of the Scottish press, sneered that attempts to highlight the democratic deficit were nothing more than “Grievomax”. Ruth is sure as hell not going to stand up for Scotland within her precious union.   If Ruth isn’t going to respect the result of the referendum, why should we?

In Dante’s vision of Hell, the hypocrites are consigned to the Sixth Circle of Hell, weighed down by their gilden monks’ robes of lead, moving with slow and sluggish indolence as they are condemned forever to walk in circles. That’s where the Scottish Conservatives and their Labour and Lib Dem enablers belong. That’s the vision that they have for Scotland within the UK, weighted down and condemned forever to go round in circles. It’s the Sixth Circle of Devolution Hell, the shackled monks of Britishness led by Ruth Davidson ringing a bell and chanting We Don’t Want Another Referendum as they go round and round in circles for all eternity, lost in the dark void and achieving nothing. Today the SNP marched out of it. When the rules of the game are stacked against you, play a different game.

As far as Scotland is concerned, the House of Commons is a democracy in the exact same way that candy floss is a nutritionally important major food group. The SNP were quite right to walk out. It might have been a stunt, but it was a stunt that succeeded in getting the issue of the treament of the devolution settlement and the Westminster power grab to the top of the media agenda, a media which has until now ignored it. Because it’s only Scottish and so isn’t really that important.

You might think that this massive assault on devolution, what was always touted as the great British alternative to Scottish independence, might have merited some cries of outrage from that Scottish press that had bigged it up in the first place. You know, like that newspaper that gave us the Vow. Yet from the British nationalist media in Scotland – which is the vast bulk of it – there’s a collective shrug of the shoulders and a “meh”. As I pointed out in yesterday’s blog piece, they are failing Scotland on their own terms. They are not standing up for their own vision of Scotland within the UK and are consenting to the destruction of a devolution settlement which they sold to the people of Scotland as the safe and secure alternative to independence. By failing to stand up for devolution, they anti-independence parties and the British nationalist media in Scotland have only make the case for independence unanswerable.

Yesterday’s farce of democracy in the Commons, when the Conservatives refused to allow a Scottish MP to speak on the subject of devolution, refused to allow any amendments, and refused to concede more than a few minutes for debate, was covered by the BBC Scotland news this morning in a mere 16 seconds. More importance was given to the English fitba team and to efforts to protect endangered bats. Efforts to protect endangered Scottish democracy, not so much. And yet meagre and trivial as it was, BBC Scotland news gave the issue better coverage than the front pages of Scotland’s anti-independence newspapers.

The devolved powers are only being retained by Westminster for seven years, they claim. If you believe that you probably also believe that the Ewok Mundell is an effective voice for Scotland within the UK cabinet. It’s not that the Fluffy one doesn’t speak in the British cabinet, it’s just like one of the BBC’s beloved bats his utterances are too high pitched for human ears to detect. On Wednesday during an interview with Sky News the Fluffy one said that he was disappointed that there hadn’t been a debate the previous day but that there were lots of technical and boring things being voted on and they didn’t need to bother their pretty little heads with Scottish stuff too. There’s that strong voice for Scotland in the British cabinet, telling us how disappointed he was that he couldn’t be arsed to do his job.  However he did concede that tomorrow there would be an opportunity to debate the impact of the Brexit bill on devolved powers.

The walkout has been effective. Devolution is not going to be ignored. It’s not going to be ignored because some Scottish MPs stood up for it, literally. There will be time in the Commons tomorrow to debate the effects of Brexit on the devolution settlement, although one thing is certain and that’s that it won’t make any difference to the final outcome. The Conservative Government will ram it through and Scotland will be left with nothing. Scotland will get what Conservative MPs from outwith Scotland tell us we’re getting. What Scotland wants, what Scotland voted for, doesn’t figure in their considerations.

If this doesn’t count as a material change of circumstances, then nothing does. Home rule is dead. The devolution settlement is dead. The results of Scottish constitutional referendums are null and void. The great constitutional alternative to Scottish independence has been killed off by those who claim to love the UK. It’s time for all of Scotland to walk out of the Sixth Circle of Hell of this unitary British state which masquerades as a union. Let’s play a different game.  Let’s play independently.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. You can now access this blog simply by typing into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

32 comments on “The sixth circle of devolution hell

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug The sixth circle of devolution hell The Tories talk a lot about how Brexit means taking back control. Except for viewers […]

  2. Macart says:

    Something for folks to consider.

    Respect is earned, NOT demanded. Scotland’s electorate, our parliament, our representation, our popular will, were all treated with utter contempt and consummate arrogance by the membership of Westminster.

    15 minutes, 1 speaker and no debate on Brexit, devolved powers and legislative representation. The members of that howf on the Thames took from YOU without asking your permission. That is theft. It is stealing. It is a criminal act whatever way you look at it. When someone dared to complain? When your representation (those who had the courage) stood up in your name? They were treated with similar contempt by the house.

    So, no. No I don’t feel we owe Westminster parliament any respect today, nor any of those who support its behaviour and that includes Scotland’s party of serial abstention, Labour. (clearly no longer the party of devolution) Oh, and it most certainly includes Scotland’s conservatives. The Libdems? They lost any respect I had a long time ago.

    Not one of them stood up to defend THEIR devolution. It took a party of independence to do it for them.

    Just to be crystal? I’m pretty certain Scotland’s electorate know how to hold a thing in utter contempt with equal conviction. After the past twenty four hours, I know I certainly do.

    • Cubby says:


      MacArt we should not really be surprised as Westminster has been stealing from Scotland for a very long time. What the next few months will show is if we now have political representatives who really will stand up for Scotland. We are suffering now because Westminster only respects strength and people who stand up for themselves. They have grown used to having the Labour Britnat lapdog to kick about in Scotland. Scotland will only get respect if Scotland is seen to have changed from a lapdog to a bloody big Rottweiler and gives them a bite where it hurts and then promises more if their behaviour does not change.

      SNP stand up for Scotland.

    • “So, no. No I don’t feel we owe Westminster parliament any respect today,” Sam, we owe these bastards fuck all.

  3. Jan Cowan says:

    Time to walk out for good.

    • Cubby says:

      Jan. I understand your motivation but I do not think it is a good tactic. I am hoping the SNP have plans in mind that will need the MPs in situ in Westminster.

      • Robert Harrison says:

        Today was the excuse we needed it’s shocked them so much both sky and bbc couldn’t get the snp on it never seen the daily politics talk so much about the snp as they did today and tomorrow oh can’t wait im going tomorrow to holyrood for the 2nd hoop demonstration and with the BBC televising fmqs they can’t ignore it this time.

      • Macart says:

        Worth reading Cubby.


        • Andy Anderson says:


        • grumpydubai says:

          Was just about to post this. Thanks, Sam. Maybe it helps us keep our powder dry for a little longer, till all of the SOBs are in sight.

        • Vestas says:

          They’ll simply change the rules/law and who is going to prevent them/enofrce existing law?

          The EU/UN and CoE have proven themselves incapable of dong so in both Catalonia and Crimea. Scotland will suffer the same fate.

          Play by their rules and we’ll lose. Every time.

  4. dolemite69$$ says:

    John Bercow seemed tae find the hale hing hilarious. Be laughing on the ither side ay his Tory features when Scotland goes independent and cuts off their effing scum parasite gravy train…n the English voters see jist how fae they’ll get withoot stealing Scottish money n resources. That should be interesting.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      That’s how they hide there embarrassment see he cut may of as well she was going to go of on one of her anti scottish rants but bercrow stopped her I see.

  5. bringiton says:

    Bear in mind that since our referendum in 2014,as far as the London establishment are concerned,we are no longer the United Kingdom but Greater England.
    Scotland doesn’t exist in their view of the world.

  6. Andy Anderson says:

    I am scunnered and angry at this whole farce. The sad thing for me is that the majority of the people are unaware due to media bias. Shameful. I am e-mailing this note of yours Paul to my contacts list.

  7. Mark Russell says:

    Its about time some Scots remembered the motto of their forefathers and just what self-respect actually means.

    Nemo me impune lacessit.

  8. A brilliant digest of the whole sorry affair, Paul. I was so angry when I saw Bercow’s performance this morning that I was rendered incoherent, verging on speechless. You have spoken for me, for which my heartfelt thanks. Now IS the time! Let’s be having it!

  9. Robert Graham says:

    it appears the phrase of the day is now stunt ,never have i seen so many stunts in the one place before , the media are full of stunts ,the bbc in scotland having ignored yesterday’s stunt by the tory government are now obliged to report on a snp stunt ,

    More savvy folk might question eh how did this stunt come about , what brought this stunt on , I mean the BBC never told me what happened yesterday in the house of ill repute and i have been following the news all morning nope not a word until the shit hit the fan .

    This is where the BBC in Scotland slipped up , by ignoring tuesdays events that simple little trick of not reporting items that will affect scots now leaves them open to question about the events that led up to the stunt , what else are they not reporting ? RHETORICAL .

    The BBC in Scotland never knowingly told the truth for the last 50 years now that’s consistency .

    • Anne Martin says:

      On LBC they said that the ‘stunt’ had to be preplanned because all the other MPs following Ian out was too choreographed!

      • wm says:

        The so called stunt was caused by the speaker not knowing the rules and expelling the leader of the SNP from their so called house for asking a ligimate question, does this mean that he was part of the stunt.

  10. james smith says:

    many years ago I took part in what was known as the march for jobs in Glasgow. The march was in opposition to Thatchers destruction of Scottish industry,as usual it was ignored
    when the march was over I saw an elderly man in highland dress walking towards me, around his neck was a plackard which read ance the lang sword, I never forgot that elderly man and the words on his plackard and I am now eighty four,Recent events in Westminster
    causes me to think,has the time come to follow the advice on that elderly mans plackard?

  11. Macart says:

    Heh! 3000 new SNP members today. Lead story across the meeja. Walkout and devolution betrayal brought to the fore.

    Not a bad day to sure. 😉

    How and ever, this was effective because it was a rarity. Don’t expect it every day of the week. The day job is keeping our representation at Westminster for the time being. Let Westminster do the heavy lifting, just as they did last night and today. It’s in its nature and that has been uncomfortably exposed over the past twenty four hours.

    Not long now.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Sorry Macart never read your post before I posted mine , I honestly wasn’t copying your comments, Great Minds etc Ha Ha .

      • Macart says:

        LOL 😀 Don’t worry about it.

        Latest update I’d heard was 3000 and 1500 of those since midday.

  12. Robert Graham says:

    Ha Ha it was a trap yah stupid Tory stunts , you lot have done the heavy lifting for us , the SNP have just gained over a 1000 new members all because of the publicity generated from the media pushing the stunt line ,
    perfect and thanks to mr Berco for making a total arse of procedures and making it all possible.
    Just watching the English news from the English parliament when something struck me the SNP MPs are missing and nothing has changed,
    labour in disarray and having measured Moral resignations that weren’t in any way classed as stunts by the media and not related to the one a day when the messiah was first anointed Now that was a stunt,
    The Tory party wining votes to see who gets to blow their brains out first , oh well I guess we will all miss this quaint relic from the past ,
    good luck to the English taxpayers funding the restoration of that monstrosity they call the mother of parliaments , The mother of all f/k ups I would call it .

  13. Robert Graham says:

    Just noticed the BBC reality check, well that’s good for a laugh I wonder who’s reality it’s checking , must be the BBCs version of reality, because it smells like a Tory press release . Rancid .

  14. Macart says:

    Well JINGS! :O

  15. As Bercow struggled to understand the clerks’ advice, on procedure, (“what the f**k do I do” panic all over his coupon), the BBC’s Jo Coburn gave a suspenseful voice over interjection. I suspect the BBC might even have toyed with the idea, right then, of pulling the programme off the air entirely and going back to the studio, but of course it would have made the BBC explictly complicit in covering up the Union panic, and Bercow & the parliament TV would still be showing events live in the House.

    Bercow even whined the SNP leader gave him no notice of his intent to call for a private sitting of the House! disrupt their cosy wee procedure. From bitter experience, MPs should know never to give the Clerks of the House a ‘heads up’ as they will simply find an arcane rule to overrule anything they dislike. Jim Sillars, gentlemanly informed the Clerks, many years ago, of a similar type intervention he had planned. Naively, Mr Sillars thought the Clerks were impartial and not fully paid up EStablishment lackeys. The early warning allowed the Clerks to prepare a gambit to nullify Mr Sillars planned disruption. Of course unwritten ‘conventions’ can be interpreted as the powers there deem fit and that is never in favour of you upstart Jocks! Get back below stairs!

    Delighted therefore to see that the SNP have learned from these past misconceptions of the role of power at Westminster. Don’t ever be gentlemanly and play by the rules as made for and bent and ignored as it suits Westminster’s Establishment.

    Since the Tories and Labour (with the honourable exception of Dennis Skinner) murdered the devolution settlement, on Tuesday, I suggest that, at every Westminster debate, the SNP calls a ‘private sitting division’. They’ll lose the division every time, of course, due to the democratic deficit, but why play nice and by their loaded rules any more, Scotland? if we can’t persuade that place, then we must disrupt that place by every means we can.

    Watching the SNP yes I was punching the air when they stood up, held their ground and, finally, walked.

    With the death of devolution I was minded of a wee poem by Hal Summers (educated at Fettes):

    ‘My Old Cat Is Dead

    My old cat is dead,
    Who would butt me with his head.
    He had the sleekest fur.
    He had the loudest purr.
    Always gentle with us,
    Was this black puss.

    But when I found him today,
    Stiff and cold where he lay,
    His look was a lion’s,
    Full of rage and defiance.

    Oh, he would not pretend,
    That what came was a friend,
    But met it in pure hate.
    Well died, my old cat’

    Devolution is dead. More, it was a premeditated tory murder. Labour are art & part guilty, choosing to watch the killing, raising not a hand to defend it. The SNP are the only party defying the murderers. We will not pretend, unlike the press & the BBC, the union is our friend.

    Blackford tellingly said yesterday to the assembled world media, that the people of Scotland are sovereign, not Westminster. That’s a reference to the 1707 Treaty. That rang out like a bell to me.

    The game has totally changed.

Comments are closed.