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By Jason Michael
Theresa May’s incompetence is unparalleled in the history of Britain. She is playing the part of Henry VIII with the wherewithal of Mr Bean. She thinks she can deliver the death blow to Scotland and Wales. She’s in for a rude awakening.
Actions speak louder than words. When it comes to what Theresa May does it is clear she has nothing but contempt for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is difficult to have much pity for the Welsh as they are being screwed over by the British government in the unfolding of Brexit. After all, they voted to leave the European Union. But the majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland rejected Brexit, and yet there is a pattern forming of Westminster ignoring their needs and concerns as it presses ahead with its bloody-minded hard exit agenda. Mrs May simply ignored the Scottish government’s proposals and triggered Article 50 without consulting or even responding to the devolved governments.
The same thing has gone and happened again. Scotland was promised sweeping new powers when power returned from Brussels to the United Kingdom, but today those promises have come – as usual – to nothing. Under the terms of May’s draft European Union (withdrawal) bill – or “the great repeal bill” – all of the returning powers will be returned to London, seriously undermining the spirit of devolution and placing significant new restrictions on the devolved administrations. In a joint statement issued today the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, described the draft bill as a “naked power-grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution [that] could destabilise our economies.”
Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 13, 2017
In tone this joint statement is an unmistakable declaration of hostilities. In words strongly reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s September 1939 “No such undertaking” speech, Sturgeon and Jones declared: “Today’s publication… is the first test as to whether the UK Government is serious about such an approach. It is a test it has failed utterly.” Neither Scotland nor Wales are prepared to grant legislative consent from Edinburgh or Cardiff for this bill, taking the UK back into the grip of yet another constitutional crisis. May has the legal right to sidestep the devolved governments and reintroduce the autocracy of Henry VIII’s fiat, but this is bad politics; a point already made by Catherine Barnard, Cambridge professor of European law, especially by such a weak Prime Minister.
Theresa May is many things but she is no Tudor autocrat. She is in the middle of proposing far-reaching changes to the constitutional settlement of the UK that will effectively relegate Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to regions of the state. A move such as this, if successful, will pull into question the necessity of the continued existence of the devolved parliaments. But May is too weak to carry this through, and by pressing this idiotic gambit any further she will undoubtedly break the settlement that is already holding the UK together by the thinnest of sinews.
On the other side of this equation both the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have taken up a shared position of opposition from which they cannot back down without ceding ultimate victory to the Westminster government. May has opened the way for the dissolution of devolution, putting both Sturgeon and Jones’s backs against the wall. Through a mixture of accident, design, and downright stupidity Downing Street has limited the options for Scotland and Wales, forcing them – or so it would seem – to either accept the end of devolution or to press for greater autonomy or independence from the United Kingdom. May has brought the UK to the verge of disintegration, giving the Scots and the Welsh little choice but to deliver the coup de grâce.
Nicola Sturgeon Set To Vote Down Tory Party ‘Power Grab’