What John Swinney suggests regarding a Scottish Chancellor makes perfect sense. Unless you are ideologically opposed to the power of the Westminster elite being diminished in any way. We are on a trajectory which inevitably leads to independence. With every bit of power that is wrested from the jealous grasp of the British establishment and returned to the Scottish Parliament where it belongs, it becomes increasingly difficult to rationalise the continued withholding of related powers.
It is an incremental process. It is gradual. But it is also an accelerating process which must, at some juncture, arrive at a tipping point. The point at which it becomes patently untenable for powers to continue being withheld. That point is likely to be reached rather sooner than most people suppose. In fact, it could readily be argued that we have already passed that highly significant milestone where the locus shifted from Westminster to Holyrood.
For too long people have been asking the wrong question. They have been asking what powers should be exercised by the Scottish Parliament. The stunningly obvious answer to that question is that Holyrood should exercise all the powers of a democratically elected parliament. Those powers rightfully belong with the body that has a mandate from the people of Scotland. To assert that a body rejected by the people of Scotland has a superior claim to authority is plainly anti-democratic.
The question we should have been asking all along is, what powers are we prepared to assign to Westminster to be exercised there rather than in the parliament that we actually voted for. Those who would allow any powers at all to be added to this list are becoming an increasingly beleaguered minority.
John Swinney’s suggestion of a Scottish Chancellor further chips away at the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. As with every other stage in this process of dismantling the anachronistic and dysfunctional political union, the idea will be met, first with ridicule; then with opposition; then with acceptance; then with claims to ownership.
And so it goes. Few will recognise it. Some will vehemently deny it. But Scotland is already in the process of transitioning to independence.