Westminster has been at its disgraceful worst today, as the Tory government dismissed out of hand each and every amendment to the Scotland Bill put forward by the party that Scotland gave such an overwhelming electoral mandate to only last month. It seems that "this goes beyond the Smith Commission" is considered a perfectly sufficient excuse for rejecting absolutely any amendment, even though "this falls short of the Smith Commission" apparently isn't a good enough reason for beefing up the Bill. You really couldn't make this stuff up.
There was one minor chink of light, though. The SNP's amendment that would have made the Scottish Parliament a permanent institution - in line with the solemn "Vow" that David Cameron supposedly made to the people of Scotland - was only rejected by 302 votes to 271. That means Labour must have breached the so-called Bain Principle and actually voted in favour of an SNP amendment, and it seems likely that the Lib Dems followed suit. If so, the government should be heading for a defeat on this issue in the Lords, where Labour and the Lib Dems in combination easily outnumber the Tories.
But that depends on the amendment actually being tabled in the Lords, which harks back to the problem I raised last month - the SNP can't do it themselves, because they don't have any representation in the Lords. OK, maybe Labour or the Lib Dems will table some sort of amendment along the same lines - but will it take exactly the form that we would wish? Whatever our principled objections to the Lords as an unelected chamber, it would be extremely helpful for tactical reasons if the SNP had some kind of limited presence there, so that they can at least table amendments and occasionally shame Labour and the Lib Dems into going slightly further than would otherwise be the case.
I hope the SNP have a strategy for dealing with the Lords stage of the Scotland Bill. The good news is that Plaid Cymru's brilliant former leader Dafydd Wigley is a member of the upper chamber, so in theory he could help out, but I'm not sure whether it's fair or practical to put all the responsibility on him alone. I've no idea whether there are one or two crossbench peers who have some sympathy with the SNP, but if by any chance there are, the party should be getting hold of their phone numbers as a matter of some urgency.
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They say that even a broken clock is accurate twice a day, which terrifyingly means that Kenny "Devo or Death" Farquharson is almost certainly less accurate than a broken clock. But to give him his due, he did have one of his rare moments of profound insight earlier this evening -
"Smith was the Whitehall response to the indyref. So what is the Whitehall response to Scottish general election result? There isn't one."