It is almost physically painful to hear the SNP bleating about the consequences of Brexit (UK accused of ‘outrageous power grab’ as experts sound alarm over EU law bill) when it was the choice of that party’s leadership to let Scotland suffer those consequences. They promised that they would not let Scotland be dragged out of the EU against the will of the people. Then they opted to do nothing whatever to save Scotland from this madness. People can hardly be blamed if they see a political calculation that weighed the welfare of the people against electoral advantage, with the scales tipping in favour of the latter.
The SNP/Scottish Government has had at least a decade to prepare for the British state’s attacks on the Scottish Parliament and the devolution settlement. It was known in 2007 that the British realised their devolution experiment had backfired. The overriding imperative was that the reinstatement of the Scottish Parliament would never put the Union in jeopardy. The SNP forming even a minority government was a clear threat. The SNP landslide of 2011 sealed Holyrood’s fate. The uppity Jocks had to be reined in. What we see now is that process approaching its ultimate aim of imposing direct rule via the UK Government in Scotland. Scotland is being annexed while the SNP/Scottish Government does nothing but whine and make partisan political capital out of the tragedy.
Ten years ago and more, people such as myself were warning that one of the consequences of a No vote in the 2014 referendum would be accelerating erosion of the Scottish Parliament’s powers while ever greater powers accrued to the Scotland Office or other agencies of the British state operating in Scotland. It required no particular perspicacity to foresee this. It was the obvious response to what the British political elite regards – with justification – as a potential threat to the Union and thence to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state. What is happening now is no more than what was bound to happen. And yet the SNP/Scottish Government seems entirely unprepared.
Scotland’s own government made no effective response when Scotland was wrenched from its place in Europe and it is making no effective response as Scotland’s democracy is being dismantled. They are doing nothing!
The foolish and the deceitful will insist that the Scottish Government is acting to save Scotland. They will point to the proposal for a referendum in 2023 and the UK Supreme Court case and the ‘Plan B’ plebiscitary election and they will invite us to wonder at the political genius of a ‘plan’ which has caught the British on the hop and thrown them into turmoil. But the only genius here is in the way people have duped into imagining this ‘plan’ will lead to the restoration of Scotland’s independence when it not only shall not but cannot bring independence so much as a single day closer.
The constitutional implications of first the No vote in 2014 and then Brexit were never a mystery. What has happened and is happening is no more than what was always going to happen. The serial ‘power grabs’ were inevitable. And yet all the SNP has done by way of preparation is to practice throwing up it hands in horror and rehearse cries of “Outrageous!”. All of which is for public consumption while in private they are beavering away at schemes to turn that outrage into votes.
The foolish and the deceitful will insist that it is all about turning that outrage into Yes votes in a constitutional referendum and not merely votes for SNP candidates in this or that election. The problem with that is that (a) there is no evidence of any increase in Yes votes; and (b) there is no plan or proposal for a referendum in which Yes votes would have any effect even if their number increased massively.
Here is the reality! Even if Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ works perfectly in every regard it still wouldn’t bring independence any closer. The referendum – if it happens – must be won for Yes because the consequences of losing are unthinkable. But Scotland’s cause stands to gain absolutely nothing from the win. The same is true of the silly de facto referendum idea.
Over the next three to five years the British state will finalise its complete annexation of Scotland with a ‘reformed’ Union that effectively subsumes our nation in ‘Greater England’ – although it will be called ‘Great Britain’. That is as foreseeable a certainty as the consequences of a No vote in 2014 were in 2012 and the constitutional implications of a Leave vote in 2016 were in 2015. We know this is going to happen. The foolish and the deceived only imagine the SNP/Scottish Government intends to do anything to save Scotland from this certain fate. Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘plan’ is a plan to pretend to be acting while doing nothing that can possible avert the tragedy.
Five years from now I expect to be sitting in Perth, Greater England listening to the SNP telling me how outrageous it all is.
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