The power-grab. ‘It’s just a process thing’, according to Mundell
Yesterday, I updated my list of democratic outrages inflicted on Scotland due to Brexit.
They are basically the same sort of things that Yes voters were worried about in 2014 but Brexit has really brought them into the spotlight.
For the life of me, I really don’t understand why more people in Scotland are not thoroughly pissed off by them. I mean, for me Scotland is a country and these things don’t happen to normal countries.
- The party that called the Brexit referendum received less than 15 percent of the vote in Scotland at the General Election.
- The referendum could have ensured that all countries of the UK needed to support Brexit for it to happen. The Tories, who Scotland never voted for, refused to make that a rule.
- Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but we have to leave regardless.
- The Supreme Court decided that the Scottish Parliament did not even need to be consulted about its views on article 50.
- The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which is the mechanism for replacing EU law with UK law currently means that the UK government will have to change the devolution settlement.
- The Bill also paves the way for the UK government to unilaterally alter laws that should be made in Holyrood.
- The Bill, in its current form, means the UK government is set to gain powers that should return to Scotland from the EU by default.
- The debate over the impact of the Bill on Scotland bypassed the democratically elected House of Commons and Scotland’s fate is now reliant on the goodwill of unelected peers.
- The UK government is almost certainly going to take the Scottish government to the Supreme Court over the Scottish government’s plan to protect the devolution settlement and prevent a power grab.
- The UK government is able to proceed with its plans due to the fact it paid a bung to the DUP in order to buy its support.
- The solution to our lack of sovereignty would be giving people a choice in a second independence referendum. Despite the democratically elected Scottish Parliament voting to hold one, the UK government refused to respect this vote.
In this list, I mention the uncomfortable fact that the UK government is most likely just about to take the Scottish government to the UK Supreme Court.
The reason for this is that the Scottish government, in an attempt to salvage the devolution settlement from the ashes of Brexit, has produced their own EU(Withdrawal) Bill. This bill is designed to protect the powers currently devolved to the Scottish Parliament and to stop the UK Government unilaterally legislating in affairs that are legally the responsibility of Holyrood.
While this is currently a hypothetical event, this week the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, admitted that a legal clash is inevitable.
However, more worryingly was how flippant Mundell was when he was describing what would unambiguously be a full-blown constitutional crisis. He described the UK government taking the Scottish government to court in order to enact a power-grab as just ‘a process thing‘.
I think when you have two different views as to the legality of the Bill, it’s almost inevitable that that has to be tested in legal process.
This is a process thing. There are two different views as to the status of the Bill. There are also issues with the Welsh Bill because although the presiding officer there gave it the green light, it was heavily caveated.
So when you have that degree of uncertainty, then you know inevitably it needs to be clarified. I don’t regard it as a big deal as such. That’s where the process takes you.
This complete lack of respect for Scottish democracy gets to the heart of the independence debate.
Those, like me, who support independence believe that a country should be in charge of its own affairs. The people who live here, for better or worse, should be able to democratically shape the direction in which the country travels.
Those who don’t feel the same most likely fall into one of three camps.
- They consider Scotland merely a region of the UK so the developments above seem natural to them.
- They agree these things are wrong but think they are a price worth paying for some sort of perceived union dividend.
- Or they are not aware or just don’t care about these issues. A problem not helped by the refusal of the mainstream media to give such affairs the cover they deserve.
Mundell knows he can get away with referring to a matter of utmost seriousness with the detachment of a colonial governor.
He knows he can trivialise a democratic outrage because half the population will either support him, think its a price worth paying or be too disengaged to notice or care.
Events that the citizens of most countries in the world would rightfully be up in arms about are just process things to Mundell. Now everyone shut up and eat your cereal.