Sunday, February 25, 2018

Astonishing: London Tories double down on plans for a power-grab and send Scotland hurtling towards a constitutional crisis

Well, we can now say one thing for certain - Michael Settle's supposed exclusive in the Herald two weeks ago about how Westminster was running up the white flag on its plans for a power-grab from the Scottish Parliament, and how Nicola Sturgeon was poised to declare that she was satisfied with what's on offer, was a load of old hogwash.  It's clear from David Lidington's intervention in the Sunday Telegraph (apparently foreshadowing a key speech) that the London Tories still fully intend to take back some of the powers that were devolved to Scotland in July 1999, and more importantly that they're leaving themselves hardly any wriggle room for a dignified climbdown.  How can they declare today that a power-grab is essential for the UK's post-Brexit economic health, and then a few days or weeks later call the whole plan off?  Realistically, they can't.  And yet we already know that without some sort of substantive climbdown, the Scottish Parliament's pro-independence majority will almost certainly deny legislative consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill - and according to the Sewel Convention, the Bill should not proceed without that consent.  The convention is not legally binding (in spite of the con-trick of it being written into law in a completely unenforceable way), but if it's not honoured, "The Vow" will have been demonstrably betrayed.  In other words, the chances of a major constitutional crisis - one that would probably stiffen the resolve of the SNP to press ahead with an early indyref - have just increased markedly.

What's puzzling is the strategy behind London's latest move.  Whoever briefed Settle earlier this month was obviously guilty of a deception, but at least that person was plainly attempting to pave the way for a deal by giving the impression that Nicola Sturgeon had been given everything she wanted and that it would be totally unreasonable and irrational of her not to sign on the dotted line.  Suddenly we're hearing the complete opposite.  The new belligerent message that the success of Brexit depends on the powers of the Scottish Parliament being reduced will make it much easier for the SNP to simply say no.  Either this is simply dreadful psychology, with the Tories foolishly believing that the Scottish Government will for some reason buckle under pressure from pro-Brexit opinion south of the border, or they actually no longer even want a deal.  If it's the latter, hold onto your hats, because we could be moving into the endgame for the Union.

51 comments:

  1. As 62% voted to remain in the EU in Scotland and add those who voted Yes to leave the union those figures combined allowing for cross over is a direct shoe in for a successful independence vote. Breaking the good Friday agreement and Wales being denied there devolved powers I would say without a dout that the union is dead. One part cannot control the other 3. So little England will be leaving the EU on its own. As the other 3 are devolved nations they can remain in the EU in there own right. Their is no union.

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    1. That's not how probability theory works. You can't just add 62% and 45% and come up with 107% who'll vote against Brexit Westminster.

      According to probability theory the number who will support both EU membership and indepedence is 62% x 45% (= 28%). This is why it's always a mistake to poll people on multiple questions.

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    2. On exactly the same method of calculation, the number who oppose Scottish independence and also want to leave the European Union is only 21%.

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    3. then the unknown number of yes who voted out to force another referendum!

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    4. Probability theory also states that the relation P(A and B) = P(A) * P(B) only holds if A and B are independent of each other — and they almost certainly aren’t in this case.

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  2. I was thinking earlier in the week that the positive gloss on the talks from UK give spokesmen must be a deception. It made me think the Tory plan would be the same as it evidently was during the NI talks the previous week: spin it as a generous UK offer rejected by the spiteful, intransigent nationalists. And the media will dutifully promote this lie to all daft enough to buy it.

    As a story it will undoubtedly appeal to the Tory home base in the leafy shires of England, but I think even soft unionists up here will sense the growing threat to their wellbeing and democracy. The battle lines are drawing up as we knew they would.

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    1. It'll be old dying men/women to the front to slow down the stripping of Holyrood's powers.Then the battle will begin in earnest and independence will win through,and Westminster knows this so we must control the polling ourselves to stop any pockling because they will do it again.

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  3. Considering the tory party is in the middle of a civil war over Brexit it shouldn't be a surprise there are conflicting messages coming from their camp. Ed Vasey said on The Wright Stuff last week that party discipline had completely broken down, so the different factions will be briefing all over the place trying to gain ground. On that basis I'd discount this as a strategy, it's more like another example of their incompetence.

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    1. Hardly matters what divisions there are with the Tories as the brexit negotiations will carry on until its conclusion. We will leave and the ball will be in the Jock nat si court. So what next for you lot? The majority of Scots are still Unionists so what will your tactics be to overturn that?

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    2. You Britnatsis are really the worst for not thinking it through. Independence will win as we have already,only we will run the polling so no more pockling of votes.The majority of us are not unionists and never have been time to stand and be true to our country,even the thickest have seen through the lies and deceit of Westminster.

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    3. James I have a hat to hold onto and I will (its a new one and a good hat)the endgame ! if only it comes to pass it will make the majority in Scotland happy we will be up there at the top of the list for happiest nations,maybe not number one but in the first three.

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  4. And so it begins. The media storm that will drive the English so mad that all normal rules of democracy will be suspended whilst the UK government take back all Scottish powers not just the 111 EU ones. The Northern Ireland template is being copied for Scotland.

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    1. It's coming David.They are blatantly trying to stir up anti Scottish hatred now.They are going to close Holyrood ASAP.
      HOOP on 23rd March........

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  5. On the other hand, if there is one thing this WM government is good at, it’s undignified climbdowns. Not that any statement they make is worth the paper it’s written on, as the EU had come to understand.

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  6. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

    We are witnesssing the tories going mad. Destruction will come soon enough. So relax and enjoy the show.
    Pass the chocolate. (I'm not keen on popcorn)

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  7. I thought you nat sis would want to indulge in a constitutional crisis! Any excuse for a referendum chaps. Your real fear is a good trade deal is struck with the EU fash beaurocracy and you will be in la la land.

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  8. Perhaps this is an attempt still to have all options open, and create a constitutional issue noise machine that the EU have to take note of and then Westminster ‘back down’ by allowing differential final agreements. Then they will hang on to both NI and Scotland so as to preserve gateways to Europe...

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    1. Are you thinking along the lines of the Canaries and Faroes vis-à-vis Spain and Denmark, but in reverse? An interesting idea, but if that's what they're thinking of, they're handling it really badly and have the British ever been capable of strategic thinking since the early 1950s?

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  9. Ha Ha indeed chaps and chapettes (sides bustin wae laughter). You Jocks and Jockettes need tae raise yer game. The polls are steady for the Union when you knobs should be well ahead. Where are you going wrong?

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    1. State of this.

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    2. GWC2 you need to change your moniker to 'The yoon from Mad Max'. The future for toryoonshire.

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    3. Widnae surprise me if Knickerless and Eck were covertly coniving with the EU unelected fascists to disrupt brexit. The jock nat sis have no truck with democracy unless on their ane terms. Up yer kilts jock fash.

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    4. State of this.

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    5. Why would the EU want to "disrupt Brexit"? They're about to do very nicely out of it, at Britain's expense.

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    6. Woof woof woof. Bow wow wow. All that knickerless can say. Eck Fleck.

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    7. State of that. Gut. State of gut.

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    8. State of this.

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  10. There has to be a UK wide approach and resolution on which powers come home before an internal devolving of those newly regained powers - to the countries of the UK, or have I missed something?

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    1. Indeed you have missed something - you've missed the whole point. These powers are already devolved, and have been since July 1999. The UK government is proposing to breach the Sewel Convention by taking them back without permission.

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    2. Okay - but I thought anything that wasn’t reserved to the UK Parliament was devolved?

      Hasn’t there been more powers devolved with The Scotland Act a couple of years ago?

      Brexit is so confusing!

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    3. "Okay - but I thought anything that wasn’t reserved to the UK Parliament was devolved?"

      Precisely. The powers the UK government are trying to grab back are not on the reserved list. Therefore they are devolved, and have been since 1999.

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  11. We're also at a turning point where in the next couple of days May has to commit legally to the "full alignment" she agreed to with the EU over Ireland, which means someone will explain to the UK Gov what that means.

    There comes a point when uttering vacuous pish to try to hide your ineptitude doesn't work any more because an actual decision has to be made and agreed between the parties involved.

    We're at that point now.

    Either the Tories have to sign up for indefinite limbo wherein an impotent UK does what the EU tells it to (can't see that happening) or the UK gov comes up with a grown up competent solution (impossible - these people are literally morons) or they crash out with no deal and somehow blame the EU, which sounds insane, but wouldn't be a suprise.

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  12. Interesting news today - Irish leader Varadkar urges Sinn Fein to take its seats in the House of Commons to “make things better” for Ireland - ie vote for a customs union/SM, in Withdrawal Deal.


    SF are coming under severe pressure to take up their WM Seats and use their votes to stand up for the anti-Brexit majority in NI and the future of Ireland itself.

    Sinn Fein have seven WM Seats and if the take them, May's/DUP majority would reduce to only four.

    There are reckoned to be eleven/twelve Tory Rebels who will vote against the WM Govt on Anna Soubry's EU Amendment on this and May could well lose the vote in the HoC and, as she looks like making that vote one of "Confidence" in her Govt - she might lose her Govt as well.

    Brexshit - the Enema that just keeps on Shitting on the Tories.

    Happy Days.

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    1. I'll eat my hat if Sinn Fein take up their seats - abstentionism is part of their DNA. The Varadkar thing is probably more about internal Republic of Ireland politics - preparing the ground for giving SF a share of the blame for a Hard Brexit.

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    2. Many of the younger members are not as keen on the whole oath issue: FYI. They really don't see uttering a few words makes a difference as few if any officials make any effort to keep it and no one is seriously planning on allying against the English government anyway...I mean , the Tories are the most anti- British power group followed by the north Ireland conservatives.

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    3. Thing have changed substantially since Sinn Fein took that initial stance, James - including the GFA.

      I think they might now be pragmatic enough to actually take up their seats, as Brexit looks like it could survive/fall on the N Irish/Irish question.

      To sit back and be detached from the severe implications of Brexit on both the North and Eire would make SF look impotent and useless in this critical debate.

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    4. They reiterated their abstentionist stance only a few months ago, and left no room for ambiguity at all. I'd be delighted if they took up their seats - but I'm 99.9% certain they won't.

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    5. At present, there is no voice in WM for the majority of N Irish citizens who voted Remain.

      There is only the voices N Irish Unionists representing the minority of Leavers.

      Sinn Fein can remedy that and alter the political dynamic there.

      Nothing is written in stone in politics now - Brexit has changed all that.

      Sinn Fein can alter their abstention policy if they see fit - haven't they done this before, for arguably less important reasons?

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    6. Sinn Fein IRA.�� are similar to the Jock nat sis, real politik comes second to independence. Both attempt to create discord and they have no time for democracy.

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    7. An alliance between Sinn Fein IRA and Scottish nat sis could be imminent. The The Scottish nat sis were always sympathetic to the IRA cause even when they
      were murdering Scottish soldiers.

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    8. State of this.

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  13. At the very least, before ending the policy of abstentionism I think SF would have to stand for election and win their seats on the basis of having made the commitment to take them. I'm sure it will be discussed at the West Tyrone by-election so it'll be interesting to see what answer their candidate gives.

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  14. I disagree with your headline in only one particular, James: it's the UK that's hurtling toward a constitutional crisis, not Scotland.

    I rather hope the regime at Westminster gets all bent out of shape at us uppity Jockanese refusing to hop back into our shortbread tins this time. Better still, let them really throw their toys out the pram because of it - and chuck us out of their precious Union while they're at it.

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  15. I don't think they have to! But it might be a good idea....they have kinda gotten this far by not doing anything you would think they should..

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  16. This must be the first time in Scottish history when elected Scottish politicians crawled to
    foreign unelected beaurocrats... Disgusting bastards... This includes Labour.

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