It is essential that we see this new Act of Union proposal for what it is – an attempt to lock Scotland permanently into the British state. In fact, the authors of this draft Bill make no attempt to conceal the intention. They are quite explicit about the fact that their overriding priority is the preservation of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.
Nothing that is proposed affects those structures in any fundamental way. If, for example, the British political establishment is prepared to abolish the House of Lords and forego the patronage which it places in the hands of a Westminster elite, it is only because they are confident of being able to institute alternative forms of patronage – most obviously through control of the main political parties.
As far as Scotland is concerned, federalism cannot be acceptable because it leaves unresolved the core issues of asymmetry and the irreconcilable principles of parliamentary and popular sovereignty. Even if some fix could be found for the former, the latter will not be adequately addressed because, for the British political establishment to abandon the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is unthinkable. It would be to forsake the very basis of their power.
Why should Scotland accept this anyway? Why should we accept yet another constitutional settlement imposed on us by a British political elite? If they really intend that devolution should be “turned upside down” then there is only one way to achieve this. And it is not their way!
The only way is for Scotland to become independent. To bring all of our government home. To return all powers to the parliament that the people of Scotland actually elect. To fully reinstate Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. Once this is done; when Scotland is again as other nations with the capacity to freely negotiate the terms on which it associates with other nations, then unionists can make their bid. The starting point must be the normalisation of Scotland’s constitutional status. After that, unionists will be free to campaign in an effort to persuade the people of Scotland that certain of the powers of their parliament should be ceded to the British state.
If unionists are genuinely convinced that significant parts of Scotland’s affairs are better managed by a government other than the one that answers to the people of Scotland, let them make that case. Let them argue, for instance, that it is better for Scotland to be represented in the world’s forums by Boris Johnson rather than a member of their own government.
If they are not prepared to do this; if, instead of arguing for the Scottish Parliament to be stripped of its powers, they would rather ensure that those powers continue to be withheld without justification, then we are entitled to ask why. We are entitled to draw our own conclusions about unionists’ lack of confidence in their own ability to make a “positive case for the union”.Views: 8912
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