Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Weasel words

Yesterday's debate - reported here in Hansard - on the Scotland Bill 2015 has some high points - Tommy Sheppard is good even if he avoids the ridiculous "Honourable Gentleman" convention of the House of Commons. 

It is Mike Weir, SNP MP for Angus, who pinpoints the Bill's key flaw when he says, of the veto:

"a Minister here in Westminster will have to give agreement to when a change will take effect. That Minister is not obliged to give any agreement, so consent could be withheld and it is effectively a veto."


Why is this important? Why not just all trust each other as Heidi Allen MP (Conservative, South Cambridgeshire) says?

Because we may trust only one thing in Westminster politics: it is a game and the Tories are its keenest, and most wily, players. The anodyne phrases in the Bill and the assurances from Scotland's only Tory MP that we will play fair are all part of a weasely game.

The game is especially dirty this time because it is focused on welfare payments. The veto (not the Vow) will mean that poor people in Scotland will continue to suffer under a government which they did not vote for. 

The veto will ensure that the cuts that will finally shred the welfare system in England will tear it apart in Scotland too.

This is starting to feel like Westminster's Referendum Revenge.

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