2007 - 2020

Abnormal Politics as Usual

the-scottish-parliament-may-have-the-legal-right-to-block-article-50-entirely“The Scottish Parliament may have the legal right to block Article 50 entirely.”

“… it is recognised that the Parliament of the United Kingdom will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.”

Please forgive the Independent’s choice of image for a Scottish Constitutional lawyer…and read the piece. It seems that the legal question as to whether the Scottish Parliament has a vote on invoking article 50 or not comes down to a definition of the word “normally.” Normally, you see, Scotland’s parliament has to give assent to Westminster measures that will change Scottish Law. Which Brexit would clearly do. Times a million. Or three.

So the UK government’s argument is that like a war, Brexit is an emergency. It is not normal. (At this point, I’m attempting, and failing, to resist the comment that, No…it’s not normal…it’s fecking MENTAL…)

But the only thing that makes Article 50 an emergency measure to be steamrollered over the top of devolution…is preventing the Scottish Parliament from having a vote on this matter in the first place. Devolution, which we had thought to be a stable element of the British Constitution (or at least the set of practices and precedents that substitute for such a foreign sounding thing) turns out instead to be the cause of an emergency and so must be effectively cancelled in the meantime.

Supporters of the Union who treasure the achievements of devolution…ie everyone but the Tories and Tam Dayell, theoretically …should pause to reflect that when the UK has grown up business before it…that devolution can be easily suspended. Power devolved is only a loan that is only good while circumstances permit.

“Normally” of course we’d let you have a say…but not when it really matters, appears to be the message.

This is I think, part of the developing constitutional crisis that Brexit. Despite the static opinion polls for Indy ref 2, despite the fact that a second independence referendum is very unlikely by 2019 when all this is supposed to have happened, seems increasingly far fetched a possibility, in the longer term there seems to be no way for the current “devolved settlement” of the “British Constitution” to survive, no matter what happens in the Supreme Court today.

It is probably part of the same set of masturbatory nostalgia fantasies that led to Brexit in the first place that the distasteful spectacle of devolution to the provinces be done away with. If he ever gives it a moment’s thought, there is no question in my mind that Farage and Co want to erase as a bad dream Devolution to Jockland along with Human Rights and the Barnett Formula. Lord Lawson, indeed, mused aloud that Ireland might want to re-join a post Brexit UK. There really isn’t a bottom limit to the stupidity of these people.

But do those who campaigned quite honourably for a No vote in 2014 and a Remain vote in 2016 really think it is sustainable in the long term to give their support to the creation of the New England that is being dreamed of by those with the whip hand of UK politics right now? More specifically, if it did ever come to a vote in the Scottish Parliament, I can quite see that the SNP and Greens would vote against invoking article 50 and the Tories would vote for it. The real question is what would Labour andf the Liberals do? Would they vote with the Scottish government to preserve the relationship with the EU, or vote with the Tories in favour of the Union at any economic or moral cost – including the regulation of the devolution settlement that THEY created to the sidelines of the new “normality”. Or would they actually retreat so far from responsibility or principle as to actually abstain?

Place your bets and pass the popcorn.

Comments (37)

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  1. Darby O'Gill says:

    Nice one. It may me think of the on-screen message in the days of one-channel tv. ‘Normal’ service will be resumed as soon as possible.

  2. Redgauntlet says:

    They really didn’t think this through at all when they called a Brexit referendum, did they? Calamity Cameron… what a PM… hee hee hee. Hilarious.

    Given this development, it could take about a decade for Brexit to go through the courts surely? If Westminster tries to force it through, surely Holyrood could take the matter to the European Courts? That would get them going MENTAL…

    1. Darby O'Gill says:

      If only. But you’ve made my day anyway with the just the thought of the SG going to the European Court

      1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

        Having just read my way through the Scottish Government´s legal argument to the Supreme Court, it seems to me that they have a pretty solid case. Not only would A50 require a vote at WM, it would also require the agreement of Holyrood. If WM agree to A50 but Holyrood refuse permission, then the whole devo settlement is put into question, a genuine constitutional crisis if ever there was one. One way or another Brexit will have to be delayed and eventually kicked into the long grass of history …

  3. Neil says:

    Brexit is an emergency? It’s an emergency they seem to be taking a helluva long time to deal with. If that’s the line Westminster is taking, given their lack of action on the matter, it’s a very unconvincing one.

  4. Brian MacLeod says:

    Oh, an emergency?

    Perhaps the Scottish govt could help by making an emergency declaration of the dissolution of the Treaty of Union.

    After all if England is going to over-ride the Scottish govt, then it is not being treated as an equal partner, which is a clear breach of the treaty.

    This would then enable England to continue in its withdrawal from the EU without us pesky Scots interfering…

  5. Valerie says:

    Of course, it’s massive arrogance that drives the Tories. We will trigger A50 by Royal Prerogative. You may have voted to ‘take back control’ in June, UK, but we will bypass your elected MPs, as to how we do this.

    It takes a businesswoman with money, to put a spoke in that wheel. Rather than accept the outcome of that, May appeals. Why? One theory is that they fear losing the argument on this issue, and it has a lot of repercussions further down the line. In other words, they can’t ride as roughshod as they wish, there’s the tiny issue of legality.

    As for a vote in Holyrood about A50, Slab will do what they told, and abstain. Business as per.

    No one can say that Sturgeon hasn’t stated clearly, the intention of resisting A50, so their stance is clear since June.

    I really hope Scotland is paying attention to the fact that Scotland is actually the other Union in the UK, and not a colonial outpost.

  6. bringiton says:

    The London based parties in Scotland will always support London’s interests,because that is their purpose in Scottish political life.
    Having Scotland acting independently of London control is not something they will ever agree to and as we have seen recently,they will vote against anything which might allow this.
    England needs Scottish resources to continue as a viable entity so they won’t agree to any deal which allows those resources to taken away from them.
    The political fallout from this will be considerable however and it will definitely not be business as usual for planet UK.

  7. Roland Laycock says:

    The Scots will tow the line as the have always done just look back in history I’m sorry to say

    1. Willie says:

      Too true Roland. Scottish votes count for nothing. England will tell Jock what to do and Jock’ll just accept it

  8. Eleanor Ferguson says:

    Roland-is there anything about Nicola Sturgeon that makes you think she’ll tow the line?!
    Unless you are talking about Scottish Labour of course…..

    1. Mungo says:

      I suspect Roland is talking about the Scottish people and as much as it pains me to say it, I suspect he’s right.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        He’s not talking of Scots per se; he’s stalking about the establishment, the ‘parcel of rogues’, which now includes the SNP leadership.

  9. Maria F says:

    I can’t help but wondering every day, at which point did the people of Scotland give Westminster any mandate to drag them out of the EU?

    In fact, at what point did the people of Scotland give the current Tory government at Westminster a mandate to negotiate on their behalf or even to govern them?

    So, considering the two points above, by declaring Brexit ‘an emergency’, forcing Scotland out of the EU against its will and by not allowing the Sgov – democratically elected by the people of Scotland and therefore with the mandate to represent them – to have a say, isn’t the Tory government effectively completely overriding the democratic rights of the people of Scotland so the ones of the people of England can be fulfilled? Isn’t this in breach of the act of union 1707?

    1. Valerie says:

      The Lord Advocates submission is now available, a hefty document that I’m still reading slowly.

      It clearly sets out the legal issues arising from the Scottish Claim of Right, 1689, and the 1707 Act of Union. Also details all the other relevant modern legislation. Its fascinating, and obvious that we today owe a great deal to those legal eagles centuries ago, who sought to protect our sovereign rights.

      Not always a nation of cringers.

      Sorry can’t link, but you will get it on SG website.

      1. Maria F says:

        Thank you Valerie for point me in the right direction. All the sudden I have developed this great interest in history, which is something I never was that keen before!

        1. K. A. Mylchreest says:

          It is indeed a ´good read´ if you want to see the whole situation set out ¨chapter & verse¨ in all it´s ´fascinating´ detail. Also a good source of quotes against all the half-baked nonsense that will inevitably start to get thrown around.

  10. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I would be hilarious if the Supreme Court ruled that the 1707 Act of Union would be dissolved if A50 was triggered without the Scottish Parliament’s approval.

    1. c rober says:

      Actually it should be suggested anway that it is a condition of breaking it , but then again there has been many conditions broken since – including the use of the supreme court itself on scots law.

  11. Alf Baird says:

    It is surely inevitable, as always, that unionist judges will decide in favour of unionism, i.e. Westminster. Sae A widna haud ma braith – e’en fer a Scots Langage Act anaw.

    1. East Neuker says:

      Alf Baird, do you –
      a) Ever have anything positive to say?
      And
      b) Actually have any ideas about what actions the Scottish Government and other players in this situation should be taking?
      Or, in fact, are you what you appear to be, the guy sitting at the corner of the bar muttering “it’s all shit and and everybody’s at it.”
      C’mon, give us something constructive.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        I’m only stating the bleeding obvious. You are aware we live in a colony, right? The UK ‘Supreme’ Court itself is a breach of the Union Acts.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      I’m interested in your proposal for an Act anent the Scots Leid, Alf. What issues would that legislation seek to address? Perhaps you could set out the key provisions in an article for Bella or Lallans magazine?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Provisions could/should be similar to the Gaelic Language Act (Scotland) 2005:

        – Scots language teachers in schools and Scots language firmly on the curriculum
        – Scots Language degree courses in our universities
        – Scots Language Broadcaster
        – Scots Language Board (to ensure the above is implemented)

        Bob’s yer uncle, Nicola has just created weel-peyed jobs for 10,000 more teachers. Canna be bad.

  12. c rober says:

    So we have Wales saying they would reject a veto from Scotland – so essentially Plaid Cymru is dead.

    The Empirical interlopers are in full control , displaying their provincial control in full unionist regalia , as they enact more tax powers devolved to them than Scotland has – ie via corporation tax. So where has Cymru gone wrong – or is it just like England all the immigrants fault , well the English born ones anyway that are implanted into their industry and civil service? But the same implanting is ongoing and endemic in Scotland.

    Then we have EIRE and NI saying for them its in negotiations for a special deal.EIRE already puts most of its EU and Worldwide exports through England , so Westminster despite Independence that cost its people lives is still treating it as its bitch.

    England NE special deal. Despite saying leave the EU , with its EU owned industry , and EU non whitefish fishing exports. Though the EU is mouthing that this may be an illegal state aid , it is however forgetting that NIssan is owned by Renault – whom no doubt will aid them in the “cough” investigations…. seeing as how Renault is part state owned with a weighted seat on the board.

    London Special deal. A given , seeing as how it is double the population of Scotland , europes banking centre , and a makor world player – with 33 percent of GDP vs Scotlands 22 percent in second place.

    Cornwall and Devon , voted to leave but wants Westminster to keep the EU grants for it , so special deal.

    Scotland , no deal , hard border needed for any INDY 2 yes vote – so STFU and submit.

    Spain thus the EU saying by proxy , or being reported in the MSM , they have the power to veto any Scottish application to the EU , or by it remaining as rUKEU , to prevent parts of Spain become nations in their own right…. like some sort of middle eastern dictator the EU and the West condemns like Assad. But no one sees the irony.

    SO what do I say , FxxK the lot of them , join the Nordics and expand it further , widening their/our trade deal power , keeping sovereign , and thus economical levers , then create a pound euro hybrid pegged on the difference between the both – and then wait. Those that held us back , prevented us , will come knocking with their caps in hand , rather than making us do it – as long as we are a net importer.

    And of course put a surcharge on Spanish flights – then watch the rest of the EU worry about tit for tat trade deals and embargoes that the EU was set up to prevent , yet simultaneously protects for its biggest partners over its smaller ones.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “But the same implanting is ongoing and endemic in Scotland”.

      Ye can be shuir aboot thon c rober, nae doot whitsaeiver, wi hunners o Scotlan’s public institushuns heided bi wir colonial unionist maisters. Its gey slumpie oot thair an efter independence Scotlan’ll hae need o a gey muckle slump-souker.

      1. c rober says:

        Of course there is another option , we could be the Donalds lapdog and become the 51st state?

        All the talk of Euro , Quid , or smackeroonies , when we could simply become Dollar – “show me the money”.

        But with that comes being Americas western Europe barracks (looks like there will be some up for sale soon anyway on ebay ) , the dissolution of the NHS replaced by insurance and claims refusals , fracking to destroy our ecosystem , 22 percent of our taxes on the war machine , terrorism with Scotland being the USA outpost , right to the upper appendages of the bear driving fear in the minds of our Southern neighbour , driving on the right with cars that can only go in a straight line , and having to shag yer relatives and so on.

        But could the dollar be courted as a serious thought? At least for America?

        Well for Americans a Second geographical Shield for prevention of Nukes from Russia , now its new missle is being made is ideal , and a cheap option is housing it in Scotland. Its not like they dont have history for housing subs , navy and troops.

        TTIP failure , with an indy Scotland , as a 51st state , one like Hawaii in the cauld , essentially its own Jersey or IOM , then its has a EU hub for exports.

        Euopean Banking – the Euro Passport and Dollar exchanges moved to Scotland.

        EU and Airlines eastward travel hub – removing the higher costs of using Londons airports.

        Eu Car makers – chance to take them on head on , assembly in Scotland for EU means they can increase the same on car imports to America from the EU.

        Of course all of this playing out is regardless – Scotland will just have to go it alone , and negotiate individual deals , which is exactly what UK is having to do anyway , so why not just do the same regardless – just sans the UK aspect.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Savvy Scots politicians (if there were any) would surely be seeking diaspora Donald’s help to get the auld country independent. England would happily cast adrift the auld colony in return for a half decent US trade deal. On the other hand, perhaps as leverage Nicola could send our diplomatic mission ship to Arkhangelsk? The Russians are always on the lookout for a global trade/transhipment entrepot and occasional naval facility outside the Baltic. Scapa Flow?

      2. Graeme Purves says:

        An efter the muckle souk, Alf Baird’ll be wir aesome dominie!

  13. Robert Duff says:

    Guid Yin, C rober

  14. Graeme McCormick says:

    Lot of great contributions here. We must learn from the Indy Referendum and keep control and don’t visualise our future based on the goodwill of the EU or any perceived cooperation from the British state.

    To preserve and enhance our public services without the fear of the volatility of the global markets we must raise the public revenue through an Annual Ground Rent on every square metre of our land. That will also provide the opportunity to slash other taxes so the extra money in folk’s pockets gives them the comfort and confidence to support Indy2

  15. derekclow says:

    I dunno about anyone else but I am fuckin luvvin this…..

  16. Alf Baird says:

    I wouldn’t have any faith in a ‘convention’, which basically implies:

    ‘a way in which something is usually done’
    or
    ‘an agreement between states covering particular matters, especially one less formal than a treaty.’

    So its not exactly cast in stone, is it.

    Nicola is merely playing to her gallery, ‘giving the bear a wee poke, as someone else noted. The indycamp protestors had more chance (and right) of winning their case, and they had no chance.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      Can you set out your route to success, Alf, to help us find the true path?

      1. Alf Baird says:

        A wid suggest tae educate mony mair o wir Scots fowk, Graeme, tae degree level an ayont, raither than haein tae aye import maist o wir ‘bricht mynds’ tae be heid bummers here, colony-lyke. Reversin thon cultural an racial discriminashin that hauds doon Scots fowk, wid be a guid stairt in ony sairch for success.

  17. Archie MacD says:

    I think the question is not whether A50 constitutes ‘normal’ but whether the Brexit vote and subsequent events are a devolved issue. The wording clearly refers to ‘normally’ in the context of devolved matters. The rhetoric from WM is clearly that the vote was a UK context – unfortunately. However it would be deeply satisfying to be able to stop this madness. A lot of folk in rUK will be hoping we can.

  18. Ed says:

    Scotland voted in an independence parliment, revoke the 1707 treaty of union, it has been broken too many times to let it continue, we have the mandate from the Scottish people, do it now!!!!!

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