Sovereign powers and devolved powers

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

Joanna Cherry MP

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

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

Word games

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.