When we take all the present and voting members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland together – a total of 110 – we see that they make up but a fraction over 17 per cent of the entire chamber. In the course of any debate it requires only 322 English MPs – that just over 60 per cent of England’s members – to defeat the combined will of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. When the will of Scotland – making up a mere 9 per cent of the Commons – is at odds with 6 out of 10 English voters, as it frequently is, Scotland is subjected to the will of England.
If this is what counts for democracy in London, and if this is how Scotland is to be treated – as a subject to the will of England, then “taking back control” refers to Holyrood as much as it does to Brussels. Without any real prospect of a reasonable trade agreement with the EU after Brexit, and friends abroad as reliable as Trump’s “America First,” London’s economic future is completely dependent on its access to our resources. Britain’s departure from the EU is therefore inextricably linked to its war against the Scottish government and the independence movement.
Even a straight No from the Scottish parliament will be taken as consent by London, allowing the Westminster government to take back all of the powers regardless of the positions of the devolved national governments. Not only will Scotland be taken from the EU against its will, the very will of Scotland will be ignored by the British government in whatever it – and it alone – decides in relation to Brexit. This is no mere democratic deficit. This is the imposition of London’s will on Scotland. This is a power grab, and we have been told there is nothing we can do about it.
Tartan Day, much like Paddy’s Day in the States, isn’t about Scotland. It is a saccharine projection of dim-witted American expectations of Scotland and half remembered traditions of the old country. More, than this: It is about whipping up sales in the international centre of the religion of capitalism. Tartan – or “plaid” as our Merican cousins prefer to call it – is about money; it’s about playing on the emotions of American’s who have been convinced their great granny came over from Brigadoon or, more likely, Balamory. Tartan Day is about giving them what they want.
On the morning of 30 March 2019, as Britain wakes up to its “independence day,” Scotland’s unionist talking heads will have a new job – taking down Holyrood. In David Davis’ – almost Mad Max – apocalypse the very survival of England will depend on its ability to cling on to the last of its empire, or to the oil at least. The only obstacle to this, of course, is Scotland and the Scottish people and our obstinate and disagreeable little parliament. If Scotland does end up going down the Brexit plughole then we had better get used to the idea that that will be the end of devolution.
So why did we not have even the same power yesterday as the Welsh Assembly? Mark Hirst at Radio Sputnik pointed at Paul Grice, saying that his “fingerprints [were] all over it.” Sir Paul Grice KBE – recently knighted in the 2016 New Year Honours for “services to the Scottish parliament” – is the senior civil servant who babysits the Presiding Officer. As Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament he is responsible for delivering all services to the Parliament and its Members. He is the Parliament’s “principal adviser on procedural and constitutional matters.”
Yesterday morning the Scottish Tory list MSP for mid-Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, shared on Twitter an image of an email he had received the previous evening purporting to be from me. “A measured addition to my inbox this morning,” he wrote,” from Jason Michael McCann aka Jeggit…” He went on to ask: “did he write it, or Uncle Rab?” There is no doubt this nasty and abusive email cased Murdo some distress. It certainly caused me some distress. I neither wrote it nor sent it.
Sooner or later we are going to have to accept this as a cold hard reality of dealing with Britain and stop acting so surprised every time the same thing happens. Nothing the London government says can be trusted – not now, not ever. Only when our own government and media accept this fact and begin to act accordingly can we hope to get what we want from these people. Its promises are worthless and the longer we sit on our hands hoping that the next one might just maybe be kept the more damage we are allowing to be inflicted on our country, our people, and our interests.