Goodbye Scotland: Westminster Coup Against Holyrood Exposed?
Scottish Office Empire building gives the game away.
The Ferret checked Nicola Sturgeon’s claim of a Brexit power grab in July 2017 and said they were half true. While respecting the impartiality and quality of their fact check and the information they had at the time, it seems to have been over trusting of the Westminster government.
There are as yet unconfirmed rumours that David Mundell has been luring staff away from the Scottish Civil Service to administer the devolved powers that will be stolen from Scotland by the Brexit withdrawal bill. He will be the Viceroy for Westminster, thus compensating for worries about his size, albeit, with a different title.
The UK government announced a Civil Service Hub in Edinburgh to house 2900 civil servants and “create a centre of excellence for the delivery of public services in Scotland and facilitate more effective working between government departments within a devolved administration.”
This building was planned well before the Scottish independence referendum. While it is less likely this could be used if direct rule is imposed it could be re-purposed if Holyrood is abolished.
All very suspicious now trust between half of Scotland and the Westminster government, has been replaced by active distrust.
The Tories know abolishing Holyrood will leave them blamed for everything that goes wrong in Scotland, so they want Holyrood as a scapegoat, after all, it would look bad for their new Viceroy to be sacked for incompetence too quickly. But they do not want Holyrood to have any power.
Castrating Holyrood seems like a good strategy so they will reduce it to a talking shop that can be blamed for Westminster’s behaviour.
Expect the Worst
Expect an end to free bus passes, free prescriptions and free university tuition. Expect pensions to be frozen. Expect the NHS to be run into the ground prior to selling it to an incompetent greedy American company (is there any other sort?), probably one owned by Donald Trump. Expect to be a vassal of the US, the first rich – theoretically – failed state that is even further on the road to fascism than the UK. Expect censorship overt or disguised. Expect gangs of Union Jack clad thugs attacking anyone they think might support independence. Expect the police to become upholders of the lawmakers not the law. Expect strength through unity and unity through faith. The Koran won’t be banned: Muslims are needed as bogeymen. Expect clocks to strike thirteen. Expect the DWP to become the Ministry of Tough Love. Expect interactive televisions to be given to all except the proles. Expect anyone with more than an elementary education will, as in Cambodia under Pol Pot be vanished. Expect needing an exit visa to leave the UK. Expect We WILL Get Fooled again.
This may sound paranoid but paranoia is a survival trait.
This won’t happen all at once, even the monsters in Auschwitz had to be groomed to become monsters with the state demonising their victims and leading them step by step down the road away from humanity. And Westminster is almost supernaturally patient: it took more than a hundred years from Anglophile James VI’s efforts to create a united Great Britain to the Act of Union. Little by little however all but the ruling elite are likely to become regarded as less than human.
Signs of Hope
At the moment there seems little we can do about this. But there are signs of hope: Tory MSP's claim to be ready to refuse consent to the Brexit power grab bill, probably having realised their jobs, pensions expenses, status and money making connections are at risk, and Ruth Davidson has remained remarkably quiet for her, perhaps realising the chance of being parachuted into a safe Tory seat are shrinking faster than a burst balloon.
Labour also oppose the Brexit bill, and there is slightly less reason to think they will U turn and vote for the bill. The Welsh assembly may also vote against it despite being Labour dominated. The BBC has, in a world breaking first, published a story about the Scottish government that is not SNP Baaah..d. And a Liberal (who are they?) peer has said he will raise a Brexit power grab complaint in the House Of Lords. The Lords at least are aware that a careless, or even a careful, power grab could cause an irreversible increase in the demand for independence resulting in Lord Darling and other “Labour” peers losing their £300 a day, subsidised lunches and sleeping places in the upper house. They might even (shock, horror) have to spend more time with their families.
There is widespread agreement that the Brexit bill is incompatible with devolution. Whether that translates into votes against it remains to be seen.
Yet another election?
Theresa May is still Prime Minister, in office but not power, only because the Eurosceptic and Europhile Tories are both afraid the other side will get the top job, which might lead to them having to think (gulp!!) or, disloyalty being the Tories’ secret weapon, mutiny and that deposing her would lead to yet another election, which both sides fear.
Is another election in the offing?
With Tories squabbling publicly in the commons and heckling each other it seems possible, which raises the delightful prospect of pro or anti Brexit Tories standing as independents. There is a possibility, especially with UKIP trying to infiltrate the Tories, that the party splits. One can only hope.
My prediction for the next election is that Labour will be the largest party but, needing the SNP to get a majority over the Tories, will form a coalition with the Tory party.
The likelihood of another general election suggests independence supporters should be ready to campaign at any moment and not assume the result will help get independence.
It's the EU that matters.
Independence is inevitable. It's just a matter of WHEN. Assuming the Brexiteers do not get fed up with Scotland and dissolve the Union themselves (unlikely but…) and another referendum is called, the EU is still a problem. Many independence supporters are prepared to vote NO if that means staying in the EU. They may be balanced by the NO voters who would vote YES if it meant staying in the EU but this just leaves support for independence at the level it was in 2014, with a fairly constant switching between yes and no voters.
Despite at least 60 percent of the Scottish people wanting to remain in the EU, there are enough unionists who think Brexit will not happen or that staying in the UK is more important and some people may be voting to remain only because they think that will help get independence or at least damage the Tories. I still think the Scottish Government needs to give an indication that soon after independence the Scottish people will be able to make their own decision, whether by referendum or an election.
Right now, Westminster is in a weak position. We need to decide how best to exploit this. The Scottish Government is constrained by the need to play politics by the rules. We are not. All we have to do is obey the law. To the letter if not the spirit.