The worthy and the trivial

For those of us still trying to get our heads around the idea of Donald Trump being President of the United Sates of America, the thought of Boris “Smell My Farts” Johnson as British Prime Minister may be just too much of a challenge to our strained sense of humour. The joke has been taken too far.

Both appointments, one a frightening reality the other, as yet, merely a fearful prospect, speak eloquently of the ‘interesting times’ in which we are cursed to live. Both men are, to use that well-worn euphemism for freaks, eccentrics. Neither would have been a credible candidate for high political office in a world where rationality was even an infrequent visitor.

Even if the lunatics had taken over the asylum, these are not the people they would have chosen to run the establishment on their behalf. Even lunatics have standards, Even lunatics have a capacity for embarrassment.

Another thing these individuals have in common is that neither has any kind of democratic mandate in Scotland. Not so surprising in the case of the Trumpotus. Despite the fact that they claim for their President the title of ‘Leader of the Free World’, Americans aren’t about to accept that the people of the ‘Free World’ should have any say in who is awarded that title. Fair enough! Trump may have the power to melt the world and everything in it, but he has no influence over public policy in Scotland. Well, no direct influence.

British Prime Minister Boris “What Japes” Johnson, on the other hand, would exercise powers over Scotland akin to those of an absolute monarch, without so much as our sullen acquiescence far less our explicit consent. He might well think it a wizard wheeze to abolish the Scottish Parliament. Which he can pretty much do with the stroke of a half-chewed crayon.

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In the British state, a total lack of democratic legitimacy can trump even the democratic legitimacy of a Parliament elected by proportional representation. And that is the problem.

That Boris “Pardon My French” Johnson can become British Prime Minister is merely a symptom of our present political malaise. That he can lay waste to Scotland’s democracy on a whim is an inherent function of the Union. Why, then, do we have people saying that Boris “Gaping Fly” Johnson becoming British Prime Minister is the last straw when they have previously been content to accept a political union which is an ongoing insult to the people of Scotland and an affront to democracy?

As someone who has all his life sought the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status, I suppose I should welcome any support for that cause no matter what prompts it. But pardon me if I am somewhat irked that people can be compelled by gross buffoonery when they have for so long been complacent in the face of gross constitutional injustice.



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6 thoughts on “The worthy and the trivial

  1. Duncanio: who says we will get a S30 Order? Who says we will be able to stage a second indyref before we Brexit with rUK, if we do? Who says we can win a second indyref? Who says we can win it with a substantial enough majority to dish it to them, because they will at the very least make a concerted effort to introduce a spoiler, all in the name of avoiding the Brexit debacle? Who says that, because Boris Johnson has nothing but contempt for the Scots that, as PM, he would sanction our leaving the Union with a grin of relief? None of these things is a done deal. None of them. Please, folks, do not take a win in a second referendum for granted. The Quebecois did that, and they lost a second time. Complacency and underestimating our opposition has always been our main flaw. I’m not saying that we would not carry the day, but it is, by no means, a foregone conclusion, and we have all the preliminaries to negotiate first, such as the S30 Order, which, remember, the FM has stated she will not hold a second referendum without, so let’s keep our feet firmly on the ground. I really do believe that, in the end, we will be forced to resile the Treaty of Union. So many in the independence movement believe that independence relies on the majority voting for it, including previous NO voters, and that, somehow, that is democratic, but undermining and holding our constitutional rights in utter contempt and subverting our every hard-won devolved power is fine and dandy. The Treaty was our way into this Union and should be our way out, with or without a second referendum – which is in the gift of Westminster, remember, unless we hold an advisory one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A constitutional referendum is not and cannot be “in the gift of Westminster”. Imagining that it is has always been a far greater flaw than complacency and underestimating our opponents.

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  2. I think you misunderstand me, Mr Bell. I agree that a second referendum should not be in the gift of Westminster, and is not in the gift of Westminster, but, as far as our political representatives are concerned, it is, or our FM would never have said what she did about a S30 Order, otherwise. It is also the understanding of so many who support independence, as a casual read through the contributions in The National shows. All that the exercise of our Claim of Right did, in the run-up to the establishment of Holyrood and devolution, was to exercise it via the vehicle of Westminster. At no point did we exercise it freely as a nation state. That is the reason that more or less every MP at Westminster gave it his or her nod through when introduced by the SNP. Who, then, is going to deliver it?

    I also agree that a Constitutional Convention or Assembly should be the way forward, and not least because independence supporters outweigh Unionists, if all independence-supporting parties, and the wider independence movement are included, but that is not what has been set up to date. I have always agreed that our constitutional rights were not bartered or taken away, and the Treaty shows this conclusively, to my mind, but that does not alter the fact that our representatives, down through three centuries, have taken this as read, and capitulated, and this perception began with Lord Belhaven, who was opposed to the Treaty, but acknowledged, unwittingly, its erroneously perceived one-sided character. It is persuading Westminster and those in Scotland who will not take a step against Westminster that is the real problem: they might, reluctantly, support our Claim of Right via Westminster, as the ‘sovereign parliament’, but Holyrood? Holyrood itself is a creature of Westminster, so we are going round in circles when what we need to do is break out of the circle and take our right to self-determination out of the hands and influence of Westminster.

    We have always underestimated the opposition, even in 1998/99: the devolution we thought we had was nothing of the sort, as the Supreme Court rulings have shown. The Scotland Act is limited by Westminster parliamentary sovereignty, and that is what most people accept as being the constitutional case, however you or I might see it. To my mind, and it is just my opinion, there has been a woeful lack of legal intellectual rigour applied to the Union itself and its efficacy, via the Treaty, by successive Scottish governments. It would appear that Crawford and Boyle has passed without reply in political circles. Where intellectual legal rigour has been applied, by eminent legal and constitutional minds, who have no axe to grind politically, it has been ignored in favour of methods of removing ourselves from the Union that are themselves a cul de sac, playing into the hands of the opposition, and, more crucially, Westminster and Whitehall.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lorna,

    I think a legal challenge to the Treaty of Union, however, is doomed to failure due to a) legal argument would be subject to filibustering by lawyers acting on behalf of the British state and it would take years, probably decades to reach an outcome and b) if a decision could be attained it would be done so with the Supreme Court or some such UK body making the decision and its pretty obvious which way they would lean.

    I am afraid I do not have a silver bullet to resolve the conundrum but believe that we must be able to demonstrate that there is majority – and probably an overwhelming one – in favour of Independence. The mandate for Independence needs to be won by a sizeable proportion for it to be stable and so as to avoid a re-run in another few years time by those who would wish us to remain part of the British state.

    The Citizens Assembly approach is a good one, that should help advance arguments and enlarge the segment of the population in favour. My point about Johnson is that if having him as UK PM increased the pro-Independence population then that could only be a good thing from our point of view … and it just might accelerate the capture of converters to Independence a bit faster than explaining the undoubted efficacy of nation-statehood in minute detail in terms of economics, social and psychological aspects to those currently unconvinced.

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    1. Lawyers are not allowed to filibuster, duncanio, and the UK’s would certainly not as this would damage the UK even more. In constitutional matters, the courts do tend to be quick with their rulings. Whilst we are waiting for the de iure ruling, we would be de facto independent, having already intimated to the UK that we are resiling the Treaty which underpins the Union itself. During that time, we could have in place all the institutions of state we need, and revive those we already have courtesy of the Union. Following a case in the Scottish courts, we would take our case to the international courts, by-passing the Supreme Court as unable to be impartial in its dealings, as has been shown hitherto, with the consent motion, etc. It will be up to the UK to challenge our case, but, you know what, I don’t think they will, or it will be done half-heartedly because they know it is all over bar the shouting if we go this far. It will take courage and a willingness to break the wholly English constitutional rules for the UK. After a de iure ruling, we can hold a ratifying referendum (I am confident that a ruling will be in our favour). This is the way most countries have gained their independence. All four recent pre independence referendums have ended in the YES side losing, so we should be thinking very carefully about how we tackle our independence.

      Liked by 1 person

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