So long as one of our chief criticisms of Westminster is that it is a corrupt and lying and deceitful institution, then, insofar as is possible, we should work tirelessly to ensure the honesty and integrity of our own politicians and our political system. In a word, it is a profound betrayal of our greatest political aspiration to continue towards independence in Scotland behaving in a manner indistinguishable from the behaviour of the system we hope to escape.
The ruling of the Supreme Court offers Scotland and Scotland’s elected representatives – the only representatives of the sovereignty of the Scottish people – a whole new set of opportunities. British government attempts to stifle the Scottish government can now be challenged in the Supreme Court and retarded by the precedent this sets. In principle, it removes from the British government the assumed right to grant or withhold permission for constitutional referenda in Scotland, voted for by the Scottish parliament and Scottish MPs in the House of Commons.
Moreover, this judgement in itself renders it weak and vulnerable – once again subjecting the independence of the Scottish legal system to that of the British state. In referring the matter to the final judgement of the Supreme Court in London the implication is that the Court of Session is not the highest court in Scotland – that it has no real independence, that Scots Law must be tested through a higher British court before it can be considered valid, legal and binding in and over this so-called union of equals. This strikes me as utterly pathetic.
On the Remain and the anti-no-deal side of the Brexit debate, we have developed a tendency to magnify even the slightest glimmers of hope into reasons to believe this Brexit won’t happen. This fallacious logic has become a house we have built on the sand of normalcy – the erroneous and dangerous belief that the conditions which prevail at present will remain the same in the future. Together, these beliefs have conspired to create in our various camps a form of political wishful thinking.
Scots are genuinely and rightly concerned about the future of devolution. There is nothing permanent in the current constitutional arrangement, and nor can there ever be. It matters not a jot what the Scotland Act says or what any one politician says; sovereignty in the United Kingdom rests only in Westminster. No law and no treaty can bind the power of this or any future London government to any particular course of action. We can talk about the Claim of Right and Scots Law all we like, the legal reality, for so long as we remain a part of the United Kingdom...
When faced with the powerful self-destructive drive of England, especially when we are so completely powerless to help, we are forced to adopt the calm reasoning of Fr. Anthony De Mello: “Maybe they should suffer a little more. Maybe they ought to touch rock bottom…” Of course, what some need is to suffer less, and those we must help, but there are others – like the alcoholic and the drug addict – who need to hit rock bottom first, who need to suffer a little more.
In practical terms this divergence means that British rule on the island of Ireland will come to an end, ultimately bringing about the conditions in which a border poll on the constitutional future of the six counties will be reduced to little more than a legal formality. Given the population demographics of the province and the mutual economic interdependence of Ireland and the six counties, the long-term consequence of this deal – if agreed – will be the eventual unification of Ireland.
Earlier today, in an effort to clear things up, I contacted the Russian Embassy. Other than snorting at my question the chap in the Press Office asked only: “What the ‘Chuckle Brothers?’” before saying he could not make a comment on the issue. Obviously, the Russians are finding this nonsense has hilarious as the rest of us. An hour later the Embassy tweeted an image of the suspects beside an image of the of the UK military clean-up operation in which the experts are kitted out in serious looking yellow hazmat suits and oxygen masks. Russians just must be hardier souls.