Thursday, 15 December 2016

Contempt of Parliament

Three stories last week illustrated the Westminster view of Britain.

In the Supreme Court the Westminster government made plain - for anyone who still had any doubt - that the entire farrago of the Scotland Act, the Vow and the Smith Commission was just an exercise in duplicity. The Sewell Convention was only "a political restriction upon Parliament's ability to act, no more and no less than that" and in no sense any "qualification or inhibition upon parliamentary sovereignty" - [Richard Keen QC Advocate General for Scotland (i.e. Westminster's point person on Scottish Law), with comment from The Lallands Peat Worrier].

This is a story of Westminster lies. Of economy with the truth. Of purposeful deception of the people of Scotland.

We were told we would get power to run our country, or at least to run some elements of our country...and now we are told that in any circumstance that the Westminster government deems not to be 'normal' we will lose that power.

Brexit is not 'normal'. Would a sudden economic collapse, or a war breaking out in the Baltic, or a 'terrorist threat' be 'normal'? The Westminster government and its Coalition predecessor sold us on a Vow, then on the Smith Commission, then on the Scotland Act.

All of it was just a load of make-believe.

Meanwhile, Twitter lit up with Theresa May's £995 leather breeks. A silly season story. But one that shows how Westminster leaders think. They think that it is OK to be photographed relaxing in ostentatious wealth. For the price of her trousers, Ms May could have fed 100 families at the Trussell Trust foodbanks, or provided a person in need with four months of Disability Living Allowance.

Ms May's trousers illustrate the gap between people and power. Ms May has no conception, no care, no interest in how a hungry person would view the self-indulgence of £995 trousers.

And then there was the data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showing that there are 13.5m people in Britain living in poverty, of whom 960,000 live in Scotland. Almost a million people in Scotland living in poverty, with more than half of them in working poverty. Working hard, but on incomes so low that the family lives in poverty. The proportion of people - one in five - who live in poverty has not shifted in the last ten years.

Looking down from the Elizabeth Tower at Westminster, our Imperial Masters fail to see all of this. For them, the poor, the families surviving on foodbank hand-outs, and anything north of Hadrian's Wall are of no interest.

Scotland is too wee, too poor to receive anything other than the contempt of Parliament.

It does not have to be this way. 

We could have our own Parliament, led by a government we can believe in, by politicians with an ounce of empathy alongside the blather. We could have an independent Scottish Parliament, built on social inclusion, social justice and as much honesty and empathy as we can hope for, from politicians.

We could be independent.