We are all, I'm sure, familiar with Enoch Powell's observation that "power devolved is power retained". The phrase is now a commonplace in discourse around constitutional issues in general and Scotland's devolution settlement in particular. It is often the case with such casually used aphorisms that familiarity breeds, maybe not contempt, but a certain disregard … Continue reading Sovereign powers and devolved powers
Our first priority
One can hardly argue against the kind of improvements to our existing democratic institutions and processes suggested by Joanna Cherry. However, we should acknowledge the potential difficulty this presents in the fight to restore Scotland's independence. "Use the powers you have!" is a well-worn line used by Unionists. On the face of it, Ms Cherry … Continue reading Our first priority
It occasionally happens that as you read a newspaper story a phrase will leap off the page and smack you so hard that you are unable to focus on the remainder of the article. As you attempt to read on your mind keeps dragging your attention back to that phrase. Very occasionally a piece of … Continue reading Worrying words
Devolution is dead
However normal it may be for "sub-state governments" elsewhere to engage in foreign policy, under the Union the concept of devolved foreign policy is oxymoronic. There are certain competences which, once they become vested in a devolved parliament, necessarily mark a transition to independence. Under the Union, there are competences which cannot be devolved without … Continue reading Devolution is dead
I note in passing that, as I write, there are nearly 70 comments on The National's report of what Chris Hanlon said and a mere half dozen on his actual statement. I've an idea this tells us something interesting about the way people consume media messages. But that is a thought to be pursued elsewhere. … Continue reading Hanlon’s error
The man who doesn’t matter
To request a Section 30 order is to legitimise the provision which will be used to disempower the people of Scotland by destroying our democratic institutions and replacing them with something barely distinguishable from a colonial administration.
If language is important - as it surely is - then the motives and attitudes and intentions of the person choosing and using the language must also be significant. Context is crucial. The psychology of the speaker is as much part of the context as the setting and has to be considered along with other factors, such as the occasion, the venue and the audience.
The devolution disaster
It says something about the persistence of national identity that the ancient nation of Scotland survived the Union as more than just an annexed territory of England-as-Britain. More than just a premium brand and a tourist destination. More than merely a source of labour, skills and fodder for the British war machine.
It’s all gone wrong!
As British Nationalists understand it, the purpose of giving a modicum of power to those uppity Jocks was to forestall them taking all the power to which they are entitled.
The redcoats are coming! They’re wearing grey suits!
This is dominance behaviour. It is political scent-marking. It is a blunt and imperious message from the British state reminding us that they own devolution. They own the Scottish Parliament. They own Scotland.