If you ever find yourself reading a post by Tom Harris and sense that it's highly objectionable in some way, but can't quite put your finger on exactly what the problem is, you probably need look no further than his cavalier attitude to The Meaning Of Words. Orwell would have had a field day with some of Harris' contributions to the AV referendum debate, and his latest article for Labour Hame is in much the same vein. As a public service, I thought I'd provide you with a cut-out-and-keep Tomspeak-to-English translator...
"So why, after Labour’s second defeat at Holyrood, are we being told that we must abandon our support for the devolution settlement?"
Translation : Why are we being told that we must start supporting devolution in a meaningful way for the first time since 1999?
"let’s try to make devolution work."
Translation : Let's keep the devolved Scottish Parliament as weak as possible.
"The 1999 devolution settlement was not some kind of half-hearted compromise."
Translation : It was an imperfect compromise hungrily embraced by a country that had been totally starved of self-government for almost three centuries.
"On the contrary, the White Paper, “Scotland’s Parliament”, published by Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar weeks after he took office, impressed all sides of the debate."
Translation : It impressed some sides of the debate (roughly half).
"And yet, ever since the overwhelming “Yes” vote in the referendum, the SNP have done everything they can to belittle and undermine that devolution settlement."
Translation : After being an indispensable part of the campaign that won the overwhelming Yes vote, the SNP have built on that success by doing everything they can to strengthen the powers of the devolved Scottish Parliament.
"So, a question for the nationalists: what is it about Scotland that makes us so incapable of making devolution work?"
Translation : What is it about Scotland that makes us incapable of being ruled by others?
"What are the peculiar defects of Scottish political culture that make us incapable of taking full advantage of our devolved parliament?"
What peculiar defects of Scottish political culture make us unhappy about being ruled by others?
"Are we too small?"
Are we too small to be dependent on others?
Too weak to be dependent on others?
"Not confident enough?"
Not confident enough to be dependent on others?
"Too easily bullied?"
Too easily bullied to allow our natural resources to be exploited by others?
"Not capable of running our nation efficiently while taking a full part in the United Kingdom?"
Not capable of sitting back and allowing our nation to be run inefficiently by others?