2007 - 2022

Brexit Britain, a Post Democratic Selfie

Everywhere we see the evidence of a broken democracy. We have widespread  , a government railroading Westminster votes and the super-rich who bankrolled Brexit laughing at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. We have a twenty-year devolution settlement broken and a constitutional crisis emerging amongst a mixture of frustration and impotence.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame

Before she donned the khaki Ruth Davidson was pretty clear about the relationship between voting NO and devolution. One of her many campaign promises looks stained with lies and reality now.

Last night in a twist on Warhol’s ’15 minutes of fame’ maxim, David Mundell has found himself 15 minutes of infamy, shredding the devolution settlement and wrecking the torturous cry that this is a ‘partnership of equals’. This morning he pleaded on radio:

“Even if we’d had 100 hours of debate, the situation wouldn’t have changed,” says Scottish Secretary David Mundell about Withdrawal Bill on

It was a bit of a giveaway. It says essentially: you are captive, your voice is meaningless no matter how long we let you speak.

In a piece of darkly comic gallows humour Mundell added that the legislation provided “certainty for business and families in Scotland as we leave the EU”.

Theresa May and her colleagues have given the best case for independence ever. Mundell speaks the truth when he says this is the constitutional settlement Scots voted for in 2014. It surely is and this just needs played back to people. This is just a threat being carried out. They told us they’d ignore our votes, strip out devolved powers and deny our MPs a voice, and that’s what they’re doing.

Devolution or Brexit?

We’ve known for a long time that you can have Devolution or you can have Brexit, but you can’t have both. Last night that became crystal clear for everyone as Westminster’s facade of being functioning democracy for all of Britain collapsed in a new farce.

The numbers are stark. We had 15 minutes allocated for debate about devolution at Westminster, and zero minutes given to a single Scottish MP.

From the archaic working practices of voting and visceral toxic language of the floor of the House of Commons, to the utter contempt of the super-rich, as Aaron Banks and Andy Wigmore walked out of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to have drinks with Iain Paisley and Sammy Wilson.

This is a photography of the four people holding the entire country to ransom. The Super-Rich meets climate denying religious zealots for drinks. This is Brexit Britain, a post-democratic selfie.

What exactly was the point of the  Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee interviewing these people?

Damian Collins MP, chair of the committee responded after Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore evidence today saying:

“Mr Banks and Mr Wigmore themselves put on the record that they frequently lie, exaggerate, misspeak and misunderstand.  So it is difficult for the Committee to know if we should take all of their answers seriously when it comes to data sharing and misuse, campaign spending, and their meetings with high ranking Russian officials. They accuse other witnesses to this Committee of being dishonest, yet admit to the inconsistencies in their own evidence. Our inquiry is about getting to the truth of these matters, which is of substantial public interest. We will be writing to them to follow up on various points raised during their evidence, and the hard copy evidence that was submitted by Mr Wigmore today.”

Let’s hope he has some success, I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

This is Not Normal

You couldn’t argue with Kirsty Blackman who said the lack of debate on the Scottish clause was an “undemocratic shambles,” which had “damaged the reputation of this House irreparably”. Nor could you question Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s Brexit Minister, who condemned the lack of Commons debate on the bill’s Scotland clause, saying: “The fact that they rail-roaded this measure through with no time for speeches from anyone other than the UK Government Minister shows utter contempt for Scottish democracy. This is a dark day for devolution.”

As our American friends are used to repeating about the implications of the POTUS behaviour: this is not normal.

Iain Macwhirter writes:

“Anyone who believes that, after seven years, normal devolutionary service will resume needs to think again. The UK Government will clearly not allow the Scottish Parliament to reverse any or all of the changes made in the “transition period”, since these are deemed crucial for the functioning of the new, post-Brexit UK internal market. They are for keeps. Moreover, the precedent will be established that Westminster can now over-ride any and all of Scotland’s devolved responsibilities whenever it considers it necessary – which is pretty much all the time. Home rule is over. If Mrs May was trying to make the case for an independent Scotland, she could hardly have done better.” More here.

We should be on guard against the procedural formality and ritual of Westminster acting as a filter against our outrage. Normal functioning devolution is over.

The problem isn’t the open contempt of the Westminster Government, its the supine response of Scottish Unionists to this reality.

Of course the U.K. Labour’s abstention is quite reprehensible (and incomprehensible). This is the self-styled ‘Party of Devolution’. They are now not just against independence but acting directly against devolution. That’s an incredible place for the party of Keir Hardie, John Smith and Donald Dewar to be in. But more than that it’s a reflection on Labour’s incoherence and the SNP’s impotence. Despite having by far the biggest tranch of elected MPs ever – the SNP were strangely muted. It now would be a good time to have an honest open dialogue about the party’s Westminster strategy and the options for disruption and direct action or withdrawal. If you are endlessly complicit in this process of national humiliation, at some point you have to ask yourselves, what is being achieved here?

Comments (18)

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  1. bringiton says:

    Now everyone can see the smoke and mirrors devolution settlement delivered by Blair’s Labour party.
    Now you see it,now you don’t.
    That word “normally” now means “any time Westminster likes” they can override democratic decisions taken by our parliament.
    In a way,this will clarify matters for Scots,it is now a binary choice between English Tory rule or independence.
    No more obfuscation and pretendy democracy from the British parties here in Scotland.
    Rule Britannia.

    1. Jamsie says:

      I don’t think wee Nicola will have the courage to make it a binary choice or any kind of choice!
      It’s a long walk back down the hill for the foreseeable future.
      It’s the economy stupid!

      1. bringiton says:

        Stupidity,is Scots handing over their income to their neighbour and allowing him to decide what he is going to spend it on.
        The link between lack of democratic accountability and the economy of our country will shortly become clear to those Scots who can think for themselves.

        1. Jamsie says:

          What about the Scots who thought for themselves and decided to leave the EU or to stay in the U.K.?

  2. Thomas Robinson says:

    Attacking the SNP-even in the minor way it is done hear-is plainly unhelpful to the independence cause. How on earth can the SNP be declared as “strangely muted” when you have just pointed out the gagging actions of the Westminster Government?

    On the contrary, I noticed that SNP member after SNP member raised points of order with the speaker so that outwith the debate their anger could be registered.

    The SNP are Scotland’s last best hope for a successful independent future and so ALL firepower should be focussed on unionists!

  3. John O'Dowd says:

    The SNP have walked out of Westminster Parliament en mass today.

    They should stay away.

    They must reconvene in Edinburgh and revoke the Act of Union.

    (More than ) Time to go!

    1. Jamsie says:

      If they really feel that strongly about it which I do not believe they do then they should resign their seats and allow by-elections to be called.

      1. John O'Dowd says:

        They were elected as SNP members just one year ago. Their mandate stands.

        All Scottish parliamentarians (Westminster, Holyrood and EU) should be recalled to Edinburgh to convene an independence parliament. A clear majority of Scottish parliamentarians stood on an independence platform.

        Now is the time to exercise that mandate.

        1. Jamsie says:

          Their mandate is to represent their constituents in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
          If the chose not to do so then they have no mandate.
          As part of the U.K. it is obvious they do not hold the power to influence policy.
          They knew that before they stood.
          This pre-planned stunt has been proven to be orchestrated to feign outrage.
          At what?
          Scotland voted to remain part of the U.K. and their constituencies elected them to represent them as part of this.

      2. Iain Ross says:


        Serious question, why are you on here making these types of comment? Seriously, you just make yourself look like a clown. And frankly, if you can not appreciate the damage to democracy that has been done in the last 24 hrs, and remember this is not about independence it is about devolution i.e. the model supposedly favoured by Unionist of all shades, then perhaps you are a clown, or at least an ethic British Nationalist who does not see Scotland as a country / nation.

        1. mince'n'tatties says:

          ‘clown’ ‘clown’.. . I would have thought [as in think] that the bone idle Iain Macwhirter cut and paste poster was more earning of that endearing soubriquet.
          Or is your problem with anyone holding a different point of view

          Jamsie enlivens this board of moaning subsidy junkies. Suck it up, discuss and do try and cut the infantile insults.

          1. Jamsie says:

            Cheers M&T

          2. Heidstaethefire says:

            For 33 of the last 34 years, the subsidy junkies have contributed more to the exchequer than they get back.

        2. Jamsie says:

          I am in here to present the alternative point if view which happens to be the majority view of the electorate in Scotland.
          The affront to democracy is quite clearly the Indy movement’s refusal to accept the result of the referendum and following in from this to try to seek a false mandate based on Brexit.
          It makes me smile when people like you have to resort to insults in the face of my posts as it demonstrates how shallow and undemocatic Indy supporters are.
          Indy at any cost in the face of a majority against is in no way democratic in any way shape or form.

  4. SleepingDog says:

    Another constitutional question concerning the activities of the super-rich, represention, corruption and the not-yet-wound-up British Empire was reported on today in the Guardian:
    British overseas territories in talks to keep tax haven secrecy

    While I would not draw a direct comparison with Scottish devolution, there is a larger, linking theme about subordination, servile function and questionable legitimacy.

  5. Wul says:

    Obviously those who support our current union will see the SNP MPs actions and outrage as just another “grievance culture” stunt.

    However, I am genuinely very interested in what Scottish pro-union contributors think about their own parliament and MPs (all of them, not just SNP-ers) being largely ignored in the whole Brexit process?

    Is it simply a case of: “Hate the SNP. The SNP are in government. Hate the government. Hate the parliament”? Or is there a more nuanced analysis at work?

    Any pro-union folk care to share their opinions?

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