So in some cases there will need to be a UK-wide framework. But with that very large caveat what we’re seeking to do is to ensure that as fast as possible we can pass through powers that are properly exercised in Scotland to Scotland.
In that one paragraph the obscenely arrogant Damian Green encapsulates the entire constitutional problem. When he refers to “a UK-wide framework”, we know that what he is actually talking about is ‘One Nation’ British nationalism. An ideology as repellent as Green himself. An absolute conviction that preservation of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state takes precedence over the democratic will of the people. A faith in British exceptionalism as unquestionable as any religious fundamentalism. An unshakeable belief that the British political elite has a divinely ordained right to rule.
The ideology which Green represents is rabidly intolerant of anything that does not conform. It abhors that which it can’t control. It responds with unprincipled viciousness to anything it perceives as a challenge to its authority.
It is the imperialist ideology which once sought to suppress ‘alien’ cultures by brutal force of arms updated for an age when the same dominance can be achieved using the more ‘civilised’ cudgels of constitutional law and economic sanctions.
It is an ideology so deeply ingrained the psyche of a bag of smug such as Damian Green that he is totally unaware of it. He is quite oblivious to the self-serving circularity of the warped reasoning which justifies conduct in the name of the British state which would be considered utterly reprehensible in any other context.
We are doing it because it’s right. It is right because we are doing it.
This is the attitude which renders Green blind to the crashing contradiction of insisting that the UK Government is genuinely seeking a negotiated agreement with the Scottish Government while simultaneously insisting that the terms of this agreement will be unilaterally determined by the UK Government. To Green and his ilk, there is no discomfiting illogic in this. It all seems perfectly natural to him. To his way of thinking, it is reluctance to accept the supremacy of the British political elite which is irrational and incomprehensible.
Power bestows righteousness. Righteousness justifies power. The sense of entitlement is complete and all-encompassing.
So it is that that when Green speaks of “powers that are properly exercised in Scotland” there is not so much as the remotest possibility of any question in his mind that the absolute right to decide what is meant by “properly” rests, not with the people of Scotland or their democratically elected representatives, but with the British state. British nationalism is essentially anti-democratic. It represents the antithesis of popular sovereignty. The British state favours democracy only to the extent that democracy favours the British state.
Damian Green feels no embarrassment when he declares that the ultimate arbiters of what powers can be “properly exercised in Scotland” are the people whose dogma maintains that power can only be properly exercised by the British political elite. He suffers no unease as he casually discounts the right of Scotland’s people to decide the form of government best suited to their needs. Why would he? He is British. And British is best. Everybody knows that!
Everybody, that is, except those who hold tenaciously to the fundamental principles of democracy. Those who acknowledge only the sovereignty of the people. Those who hold that only the people of Scotland have the rightful authority to determine and constrain the powers of their parliament.
To the question of what powers are properly exercised in Scotland, there can only be one answer. An answer demanded by democracy and justice.
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