The above statement fell out of the head of the future British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at a hustings event in Exeter, England. The media are making a big fuss about her haughty dismissal of Scotland’s First Minister saying that “the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her”. The soon-to-be leader of a party which has been roundly rejected by the Scottish electorate at every opportunity in the last sixty years or more and who expects to be ‘crowned’ as British Prime Minister by a minuscule part of the UK population, contemptuously insists that we should disregard the woman who is the democratically elected leader of the largest political party by far in Scotland; the woman who leads the democratically elected Scottish Government; the woman who became First Minister only with the explicit approval of the democratically elected Scottish Parliament. The arrogance tests comprehension.
But while the Scottish media – as opposed to the British media in Scotland – fumes about this pompous slight to our First Minister, it is these words which should really concern us.
What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our Government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.
That the almost British Prime Minister should be so disrespectful of the First Minister and thereby the Scottish electorate is just about as unsurprising as sunrise. One would have to be terminally naive or totally deluded to expect anything better than overbearing disdain from any British politician. But it is the words highlighted above that should chill the heart of anyone who claims to espouse democratic values. It was worrying enough when we first heard the phrase “UK-wide common framework” in the context of the Brexit that was foisted on Scotland just as Liz Truss is about to be. But that was a subtle hint compared to the explicit intent to impose direct rule from London now being telegraphed with drooling relish by the British political elite.
While the vast majority of people were being distracted by dire warnings and implausible reassurances regarding the economic consequences of Brexit prior to the EU referendum in 2016, some of us were frantically trying to flag the constitutional implications. It seemed obvious that the UK leaving the EU would necessarily require a redefining of the UK just as joining the European project had. It also seemed obvious that this would provide an opportunity for British Nationalists to make their move. Since at least 2007 and the first SNP minority government at Holyrood the British state has regarded the Scottish Parliament as a potential threat. With the SNP landslide of 2011, destroying or at least crippling the Scottish Parliament became an imperative. Brexit provided the ideal opportunity.
Most of my readers will, I’m sure, be familiar with Section 38 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (see below). But I’m equally sure that most of Scotland’s voters are unaware of this gobbet of British law. They must be made aware.
Thus, with a stroke of a pen the British state tramples all over Scotland’s ancient principle of popular sovereignty and imposes on us the alien doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. And not even the sovereignty of our own parliament but a foreign parliament within which Scotland’s representatives are treated with the same open contempt as is so brazenly exhibited by Liz Truss.
Make no mistake! If the Scottish Government fails to act before the next UK general election Scotland’s democracy is doomed. Scotland’s very existence as a distinct entity will be in jeopardy.
You have been warned!
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