Yesterday on this blog I wrote about the way in which the Conservatives in Westminster systematically sideline and marginalise the devolved administrations. This isn’t just because the Tories hate Thatessempee and – as British nationalist zoomers on social media constantly claim – that Nicola Sturgeon would only use it to further her agenda. The governments of Wales and Northern Ireland receive the same cold shoulder treatment. When it becomes politically commonplace occurence for ministers in devolved governments to complain that it’s only when they read about it in the right wing press that they find out about British government policies which will have a direct effect on devolved government, this can only be because of a deliberate decision by the Westminster Tories.
As yesterday’s blog piece was published, the right wing Brextremist British nationalist website Guido Fawkes published leaked British Government documents relating to planning for the UK’s exit from the EU transitional period. The documents detail the plans that the British Government has to abolish EU laws by statutory instrument, in other words by the exercise of ministerial fiat and not following a debate in that British Parliament the restoration of whose sovereignty we were constantly told was the whole aim of Brexit. The documents also detail how UK Government ministers will take control of state aid throughout the entire UK. They also details some of the possible scenarios which might result following a no-deal Brexit, such as serious disruptions to the supply chain and a “tightening” on the supply of certain food items.
The plans and policies contained within these pages have a direct impact on all the devolved governments, relating as they do to devolved competencies. However the documents, which were prepared in June this year, are clearly marked as not to be shared with the devolved governments. It’s there as plain as day, as plain as the lies that utter from Michael Gove’s mouth, as plain as Boris Johnson’s lack of credibility. The British Government is deliberately setting out to restrict the flow of relevant information to the devolved governments which makes it impossible for those governments to plan accordingly. The Conservatives in Westminster are deliberately and consciously as an act of policy trying to create a political atmosphere which suffocates the devolved governments.
The Conservatives have already admitted that they are willing to break international law. This latest revelation shows beyond any shred of doubt that the British Government not only intends to press ahead with an extreme form of Brexit against Scotland’s will but that it also sought to disguise its plans to do so and to hide them from Scotland.
Food standards are a devolved matter. The Scottish Government not only has the right, it has a legal duty to formulate policies on food standards and to give advice which is appropriate to Scotland’s needs. They need to have the information necessary which allows them to minimise any potential disruptions. But they can’t do that because the British Government took a political decision not to share the relevant information. The Westminster Tories did so because they decided that they didn’t want the Scottish Government to criticise its plans – because that might have damaged the Conservative party. Yet again the Tories are putting their own narrow party interests above the public good. They preach union but practise deception. There are teenage YouTube influencers pumping out tearful apology videos about comments made about a rival’s weight during a post about a make up regime who have a more mature approach to life than the Conservative party.
You can’t get a clearer illustration of the pathetically adolescent approach to politics espoused by the Conservatives than the remarks of the Scotland Secretary Alister Jack this week. Speaking at the Conservatives’ virtual party conference, the Governor General for the Northern Colony spoke about the controversial UK Internal Market bill, the bill that threatens to break international law and which undermines the devolution settlement. The pith helmeted one said that he liked the new bill even more because the SNP hate it and that opposition to the bill from Scotland had only increased his support for it. The UK Government develops policy on the basis of yah boo sux to you. Their priority is to bring about a Brexit which benefits their disaster capitalist friends, not to benefit Scotland, and despite what they constantly claim it’s not to strengthen the UK either.
We no longer need to suspect that the Conservative Government in Westminster is deliberately marginalising Scotland and putting its narrow party interests before what’s good for the people of this country, we have it in writing from the British Government itself. We no longer need to put two and two together and present a narrative that we have constructed from a series of slights and slurs to the devolution process. We have it in black and white in the words of the British Government itself. We have the proof from the puddings.
The leaking of documents which prove conclusively that the British Government has deliberately set out to undermine the Scottish Government and the other devolved administrations was naturally the leading item on the news broadcast from Scotland’s publicly funded national broadcaster. This is the final nail in the coffin for the Conservatives’ respect agenda, and it puts beyond doubt the claims of independence supporters that the British Government is not now and rarely has acted in the best interests of Scotland. BBC Scotland has been shouting from the rooftops about it, because as the Scottish section of a UK national broadcaster they are naturally concerned to act as the voice of Scotland within the UK. BBC Scotland is well aware of the huge significance of this moment and wants to fulfil its duty to the public by ensuring that the people of Scotland know it too.
Yeah… One day it will be possible to write a passage like that without it dripping redolently with sarcasm, but today is not that day. It’s never that day. It’s never going to be that day. This is why it remains vital that as independence campaigners we cannot cease to highlight the damaging and harmful actions of the British state and the Conservative party. We cannot rely on the media in Scotland to do it. We have to do it ourselves, and that’s the only way that we will ever persuade no voters and undecideds that Scotland’s interests will never be met within the UK. The good news is that we are winning, and that’s every reason to keep going.
Please note there won’t be a blog article tomorrow because I have to go to the funeral of an old friend and neighbour who gave me a lot of support when my late husband Andy was in the last stages of his terminal illness.
The purpose of this blog is to make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence. It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign. I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree. Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.
So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere. I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored. You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally.
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My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.
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