As it was, so shall it be

Invoking Section 35 isn’t so much a new and shocking development as merely the latest phase in a process which was foreseen a decade ago and more. It has been evident since 2007 that the British state regards devolution as a failed experiment. What was supposed to kill the SNP ‘stone dead’ had instead empowered the independence movement, resulting in the British parties losing their grip on Holyrood. The Scottish Parliament was no longer in the ‘safe pair of hands’ that was British Labour in Scotland (BLiS). The worst fears of British Nationalists were realised when Alex Salmond became First Minister.

If the British establishment got a fright in 2007, they were absolutely horrified by the 2011 Scottish Parliament election in which voters broke the system which was supposed to ensure no party could achieve a majority. Not, as many suppose, to keep the SNP out. The SNP back then was not considered capable of becoming a threat. Ensuring permanent coalition or minority administrations was a way of keeping the Scottish Parliament weak. It was at least as important to ensure that the Scottish Parliament never became a power-base from which BLiS could challenge Westminster as it was to stop the ‘Nats’.

Prior to the 2014 referendum, some commentators were prepared to defy the prohibition on negative campaigning and warn of the potentially dire consequences for the Scottish Parliament of a No vote. That the ‘rolling back’ of devolution didn’t happen sooner and faster is entirely down to the upheavals in England’s politics as a faction led by Nigel Farage used media-generated antipathy toward the EU as device to gain power. Again, long before the EU referendum in 2016 some commentators broke away from the near-exclusive focus on the potential economic consequences of Brexit to urge greater consideration of the constitutional implications. Implications which are now being played out.

Devolution was only permitted to happen on the strict condition that the Union would not be put in jeopardy. From a British perspective, the experiment had been little short of a disaster. Holyrood had to be reined in. Fortunately, the drafters of the Scotland Act had built-in some safeguards as way of appeasing those who set their faces against any concessions to the annexed territories. Safeguards such as Section 30 – which allows the British to alter at will the list of reserved matters, and Section 35 – which as we have seen demonstrated, allows the British to veto any legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Preservation of the Union is and always has been a prime imperative of the British state. It was obvious that they would go to any lengths to keep Scotland. For them, this was an existential battle.

As it was for Scotland. There was never any possibility of a limited response by the British state to the increasingly troublesome ‘Scottish problem’. Once the rolling back and reining in started, it would not stop. There would be an irresistible urge to go for a ‘final solution’. The answer was to lock Scotland into a new ‘reformed’ Union imposed with neither consultation nor consent. The annexed territory of Scotland would be fully incorporated into a new ‘Great Britain’ modelled on largely imagined past imperial glory.

For Scotland too, this is an existential battle.

Not that you would get any sense of that import and urgency from the behaviour of the SNP/Scottish Government. The impression given by the Sturgeon administration is that it is quite unaware of the existential nature of Scotland’s cause. Even now, as the malign intent of the British state becomes apparent to more and more people, Nicola Sturgeon continues to treat each new incursion into Scotland’s politics by the British state as a separate and isolated incident rather that part of a series of actions leading to a very obvious conclusion.

The British state’s annexation of Scotland is now all but complete. Alister Jack is the man chosen to complete the task. Andrew Tickell’s description of the man could almost have served as his application for the job. Alister Jack is not acting like a governor-general. He is the Acting Governor-General of North Britain.



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7 thoughts on “As it was, so shall it be

  1. Shockingly precise analysis of where the devolution project has reached.

    The ‘malign intent’ of the British State is surpassed ONLY by the malign contempt Sturgeon has demonstrated for Scotland’s people in her denial to permit our democratic right to choose and prosper in an Independent sovereign state.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “… It was at least as important to ensure that the Scottish Parliament never became a power-base from which BLiS could challenge Westminster as it was to stop the ‘Nats’… ”

    Spot on, Peter, and the really ironic thing is that BLis colluded with the Tories and Tory Lite to do this to themselves. Their greatest fear has always been the SNP, even then.

    To be honest, I cannot be happy at the use of the S35 Order for Scottish politics, but I am relieved that it has been used for the sake of the 2010 Equality Acts and every other piece of UK-wide legislation affecting women and children. As Scots, we have a bloody nerve bleating about Westminster interfering in Scottish politics and law when we would have driven a coach and horses through English and Welsh and NI legislation which would have affected every female in the UK as a whole. Hypocrisy works both ways.

    I think Sturgeon and her Green minders were so desperate to get this through before Christmas (two weeks of nothingness in which to hide) that they never believed that Union Jack would have had the cojones to use S35. I think they banked on Westminster wishing to avoid a full-frontal assault on Scottish politics – and they were wrong.

    This, I lay at the feet of that incompetent horde of ‘woke’ warriors who call themselves a Scottish government. In their ineptitude, they may well have created the groundwork for actual independence on the one hand, or for absorption into the UK, on the other, because, while many Scots are railing at what they see as ‘high-handedness’ and calling for a complete withdrawal from the UK, many others are finding common ground with their English, Welsh and NI counterparts who are anti GRR.

    If anything, it has cemented the divisions in Scottish society, not through any ‘cunning plan’, but through sheer incompetence and stupidity on such a grand scale that it is almost impossible to get your head round. They were warned and warned that this stuff is too divisive to ever be anything other than a wedge. Politicians who believe in delusion over reality are not fit for purpose. I actually shudder when I think of this lot of totalitarians ruling us in an independent Scotland. How would that be different from Tory rule?

    Where are the sensible SNP, the sensible Greens, Lib Dems, Labour? It angers me that something so profoundly ridiculous should be the cause of so much hostility when this particular GRRB should never have seen the light of day, when talented and very bright people are producing work that could see us out of the Union very soon. To be honest, the SNP/Green GGRB could have actually saved the Union.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sturgeon is incapable of seeing her weaknesses….and Mike Russell must but is too weak willed….or Sturgeon has some dirt on him. I’m sure she has on most potential threats. Her over confidence claim she has plenty in the tank was to full of chutzpah…I think she will fall quick and heavily….the problem is not her but consider the devastating effect on her sheeple. Ɓut I take hope from the resilience of the indy vote…especially the ex labour….I dont seem going back to them. Our core vote…about 45% is way bigger than the tories 15% and similar Labour. When she goes let’s hope the SNP have the nouse to never again leave all power in one person’s hands.

    Like

    1. The sheeple wouldn’t be sheeple if they weren’t able to rationalise the downfall of their hero-figure.

      You make a good point about the resilience of Yes support. That there seems to be a solid baseline around 45% is one of few cheering signs in the present situation. It’s small comfort, though, to say that at least the support isn’t going backwards.

      Liked by 2 people

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