Thursday, 2 March 2017

A House of Cardboard

Holyrood is a cardboard parliament. A single puff of wind from Westminster is enough to blow it over. Three stories evince its weakness:

Yesterday, Angus Robertson MP asked a key question: would decision making powers on agriculture and fisheries be returned to Scotland after Brexit? He said: "with Brexit ending the role of Brussels in these areas will all decisions about agriculture and fisheres be made at Holyrood, yes or no?"

Theresa May gave a humbug reply about discussions going on with the devolved administrations; not a yes and not a no.

Why is the SNP harrying poor Theresa about this? Because the Tories have stolen an EU phrase - the 'unified market' and stuck it onto the UK. Theresa tells us that Scotland will do much better if it is within the unified market of the UK than in the (much larger) EU. It's an odd way of twisting the facts, and as an argument was neatly dissected by Alastair MacIver in an article last November in the Herald

Dr MacIver argued that in order to create a 'unified' UK market there would have to be one unified authority that decided how our potatoes should be packaged or when our fish should be caught; it is exceedingly unlikely that the unified authority would be Holyrood. Westminster would of course retain these powers over agriculture, fisheries...and the regulation of everything else in the new low-tax-no-welfare Britain.

In January of this year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Sewell convention "does not give rise to a legally enforceable obligation". In other words, the entire basis on which power is handed to Holyrood is not legally enforceable. Holyrood has no power; it is a house of cardboard. If Westminster were to decide to pursue another of its wars in the Middle East, or to plant weapons of mass destruction in Scotland, or to hammer the poor, then Holyrood is powerless to stop it. Forget the Vow, folks, you now live in a world in which your parliament might as well pack its bags and go home.

Time, past time, for Scotland to step away from its destructive neighbour, and build a parliament of rocks and steel, not cardboard.

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