Another day, another affront to democracy
In 2014, most independence supporters voted for independence for reasons of fairness and democracy.
We thought that the UK political system was broken and unrepresentative and we thought the independence would go some way to make the system work for everyone. Many supporters of independence would be happy to remain in the UK if the UK political system was radically reformed to make it fairer and more democratic.
What is interesting is that many of the people who support remaining in the union agree that the UK system needs urgent reform. The current system allows a government to govern after only being voted for by a small percentage of the electorate. Political parties are dominated by those from the top end of society and are beholden more to corporate lobbyists than those they claim to represent. Our second chamber is partially unelected and the process for selection to that chamber is open to abuse.
The Lib Dems and Labour both talk up the need for constitutional change. The difference between independence supporters and supporters of the union is that independence supporters don’t think that satisfactory change is possible if we remain in the UK. By contrast, many supporters of the union believe these problems can be fixed while we remain part of the UK.
This key disagreement was a decisive factor in 2014. Afterall, the referendum was won by a last minute promise of constitutional change which unfortunately did not live up to the sales pitch.
In 2014, whether or not the UK was capable of delivering the change craved for by Yes and No voters was a debatable point. However, I would argue that Brexit proves that independence supporters were correct. We are moving backwards in terms of democracy and fairness and most of those who fought to keep us in the union agree this is the case.
This Monday, a Tory Government propped up by the sordid deal they did with the DUP, voted to progress a bill that gives them the power to legislate without oversight.
Then on Tuesday, they voted to rig the process for selecting the makeup of the legislative committees that will scrutinise the legislation they progressed on Monday. Essentially they ensured that the Tory minority government will have a majority on those committees. A power grab to oversee a power grab. A subversion of what people actually voted for.
Just looking back at blogs we have published, this is just the latest in a long line of events which shows Brexit as an affront to democracy.
- Before Brexit, the Devolved Administrations campaigned to ensure that a Leave vote had to be replicated in all 4 countries that make up the UK. This request was ignored, so we now have a situation where Scotland and Northern Ireland are being forced to leave even though the people who live there don’t want to. Showing that UK stands for the Unitary Kingdom, not the United Kingdom.
- What Leave Voters voted for in the EU referendum was vague. There was no plan and as such, there is no way to fulfil the will of the people. Because of this, we have to make do with a Tory interpretation of the will of the people which is being driven by a hardline group of ultra right wing free marketeers.
- The Scottish Parliament, which is elected by a much more representative voting system than Westminster, voted, without the use of a DUP style bung, to give the Scottish People a second independence referendum. This majority decision was rejected by an unelected Prime Minister representing a party which received just over a third of UK votes in 2015.
- During the Article 50 legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled that the Sewel Convention had no legal bearing. Meaning Scotland had no power to prevent Brexit and putting to bed the idea that the UK was a union in any meaningful sense.
- The Tories are a minority government and they are dependent on support for their Brexit plan on the DUP, who only agreed to support them after extracting from the Tories a promise of a substantial amount of money.
- The EU Withdrawal Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, gives the government power to change laws without oversight, which is what we call a dictatorship when it happens abroad.
- The bill is going to strip the Scottish Parliament of competencies and also allow UK ministers to change Scottish Law without consulting MSPs or the Scottish judiciary.
- The Tories and the DUP have now ensured that the committees that will scrutinise the EU Withdrawal Bill will have a Tory majority. This is despite the Tories being a minority government and only receiving 42 percent of the vote in this year’s General Election.
- All of the signs are that Brexit is going to make that system less fair for the average person. It is going to remove Human Rights, create a series of TTIP like trade deals that will barter away hard fought for protections, set the conditions whereby the privatisation of the NHS is all but inevitable and cause all sorts of problems for collaboration with other nations in areas like science, security, travel and healthcare.
Every time Brexit illuminates a glaring affront to democracy, veterans of the Better Together campaign engage in hand wringing at what a disgrace it all is.
Here is proven liar Alistair Carmichael hand wringing about this week’s Committee Power Grab.
This is a sinister power grab by an increasingly authoritarian prime minister. The Tories didn’t win a majority at the election but are now hijacking parliament to try and impose their extreme Brexit on the country. It is a bitter irony that Brexiteers who spent their careers championing parliamentary sovereignty have now chosen to sell it down the river.
As I said before, most NO voters agree with most Yes voters as to what the problem is we just disagree on the solution.
The problem for the likes of Carmichael is, his solution of remaining in the UK isn’t working and, as detailed above, things are getting worse. The only solution is some form of constitutional change to make the system more representative and democratic.
Independence supporters don’t think this is possible while we remain in the UK and the fact that things are getting worse is making our position look justified.
The onus now must be on people like Carmichael, Dugdale and Davidson to come up with a viable solution that isn’t just saying, it’s terrible what is happening but self-determination will be a whole lot worse.
They persuaded us to stay in this mess, what are they going to do to get us out of it?