So much for 'a modern form of Scottish home rule'. | Autonomy Scotland

So much for ‘a modern form of Scottish home rule’.

One of the key themes of this blog has been the lack of sovereignty held by the Scottish Parliament.

This theme gets to the crux of the Scottish independence debate.

Is Scotland a country, and if so, should the people who live in a country be able to democratically determine its fate?

In 2014, the majority of those who promoted the view that Scotland should remain in the UK, did not deny that Scotland was a county.

They framed the UK as a union of equal nations. A pooling and sharing relationship that Scotland was better off remaining part of. In the dying days of the debate, Gordon Brown promised us that if we remained we would be granted,

a modern form of Scottish home rule.

Key Better Together figures believed and promoted that view. In her famous intervention, JK Rowling wrote about how a NO vote would put Scotland in a much stronger position within the Union.

The Brexit process has laid bare the lack of substance behind the promise of a NO vote.

  • The party that called the Brexit referendum received less than 15 percent of the vote in Scotland at the General Election.
  • The referendum could have ensured that all countries of the UK needed to support Brexit for it to happen. The Tories, who Scotland never voted for, refused to make that a rule.
  • Scotland voted to stay in the EU but we have to leave regardless.
  • The Supreme Court decided that the Scottish Parliament does not even need to be consulted about its views on article 50.
  • The EU Withdrawal Bill, which is the mechanism for replacing EU law with UK law will mean that the UK government will have to change the devolution settlement. It also paves the way for the UK government to unilaterally alter laws that should be made in Holyrood.
  • Control over competencies like agriculture and fishing are currently held by Holyrood but controlled at EU level. Already senior Conservatives have confirmed that those powers will be returned to Westminster.
  • One solution to our lack of sovereignty would be a second independence referendum but, despite the democratically elected Scottish Parliament voting to hold one, the UK government refused to respect this vote.

Yesterday, a new entry could be added to the list above.

Currently, the UK Parliament is going through the EU Withdrawal Bill line for line and voting on amendments. Yesterday they voted on the following amendment that would require the devolved administrations to give consent to the final Brexit deal before we leave the EU.

This is how MPs voted.

  • Those who voted against the amendment.

Conservative: 304
DUP: 10
Labour: 3 (Frank Field, Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer)
Independent: Charlie Elphicke and Anne Marie Morris (Tories MPs who have had the whip suspended.

  • Those who voted for the amendment.

SNP: 33
Lib Dems: 12
Plaid Cymru: 4
Labour: 1 (Albert Owen)
Green: 1 (Caroline Lucas)
Independent: 1 (Lady Hermon)

All Scottish Tory MPs voted against giving the Scottish government a veto on any Brexit deal.

All Scottish Labour MPs abstained.

Now bear in mind that most MPs, most experts and a strong majority of Scots believe that Brexit is going to be bad for the county. What these Scottish Tory and Labour MPs are essentially doing is ensuring that their country has no control over something they know is going to hurt us.

Not only that but they are making a mockery of the ‘modern form of home rule’ we were promised in 2014.

Compare this to the EU, a true union of nations. Every EU country gets to vote on the Brexit deal. Not only that but even some regions within those countries get a veto.

There is an argument I see used to support why the Scottish government shouldn’t get a veto.

Some say that every Scottish citizen had the same vote as every other UK citizen in the EU referendum so therefore the referendum result was fair and should be respected. They say Scotland has no more right to a veto than say, London or Cornwall.

There is a valid argument there but it is not an argument that makes much sense in the context of a union of nations. It only makes sense in the context of a unitary state.

As I mentioned at the start of the article, this whole Brexit process gets to the heart of the independence debate. Scotland is currently being forced into a shambolic and damaging situation that we voted strongly against.

I ask you again.

Is Scotland a country, and if so, should the people who live in a country be able to democratically determine its fate?

If you answer yes to both of those questions then how do you square your answers with what is currently happening?

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Robert T
Robert T
6 years ago

The disgust and contempt I feel for the tories and more especially labour politicians in Scotland is palpable , their utter disinterest and disregard for the impact this will have on the people and citizens of Scotland by abstaining and voting with their parties wishes is to me the very definition of TREASONOUS behaviour. When Scotland gets its independence I want a proper recall law with real punishment enshrined in our constitution in perpetuity , to enable the electorate to hold these self serving parasites of any party or persuasion to account. It is a TOTAL misnomer to say ”… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  Robert T

Certainly, im with you on the power to recall. It should be written into any Scottish constitution. I’m pretty sure it was in the 2014 white paper as well.

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